The Best Games to Learn Chinese and Boost Your Mandarin

The Best Games to Learn Chinese and Boost Your Mandarin

What if you could learn Chinese while playing video games? And we’re not talking about those Chinese language learning games that use quizzes and typical studying activities to help you achieve your learning goals.  

We’re talking about embracing even the most famous Chinese games to learn Chinese. 

In this article, we’ll look at the fascinating world of Chinese video games and see how they might help you improve your language abilities, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner. 

Get ready to embark on an exciting journey towards fluency, one game level at a time! 

Top 7 Chinese Games to Learn Mandarin 

1. Chinese Paladin: Sword and Fair

At a glance 

  • Chinese game title: 仙剑奇侠传 (Xiānjiàn Qíxiá Zhuàn) 
  • Genre: Action role-playing game (RPG) 
  • Suitable for: Intermediate to Advanced learners 
  • Play it on PC | Consoles | Android | iOS 
Chinese Paladin
Chinese Paladin

The Legend of Sword and Fairy, also known as Chinese Paladin, is a Chinese fantasy video game series on nine adventure role-playing computer games produced by Taiwanese game developer Softstar Entertainment.   

The game incorporates Chinese mythology, martial arts, and fantasy to create an epic and immersive gaming experience. 

Players set off on a trip through a remarkably complex universe, meeting a variety of people along the way, participating in battle, and working out riddles.  

How you can benefit from playing this game to learn Chinese:

The game exposes players to immersive storytelling based on Chinese mythology and folklore, requiring them to comprehend and engage with complex dialogue, character interactions, and plot developments in Chinese and it deepens cultural knowledge. 

This exposure to rich storytelling enhances comprehension and language usage. The game also presents extensive text-based content, including item descriptions and  quests. This constant exposure to written Chinese improves reading skills and expands vocabulary.  

Its multiplayer features facilitate real-time interaction and collaboration with other players, promoting language practice, fluency, and communication skills as players strategise, coordinate, and socialise within the game. 

2. Star Dream 

At a glance 

  • Chinese game title: “明星志願” (Míngxīng Zhìyuàn”) 
  • Genre: Simulation/Management Game 
  • Suitable for: Intermediate to Advanced learners 
  • Play it on Android | iOS 
Star Dream
Star Dream

Star Dream, first released by Daewoo in 1995, is a simulation game and series. In this game, users play as talent managers in an entertainment firm. Here’s your mission: you must win three prizes within two years. 

How you can benefit from playing this game to learn Chinese: 

It allows players to step into the role of a talent manager. Through interactive dialogue and decision-making, players engage in everyday conversations related to career development, promotions, and relationships.  

This immersive experience helps players enhance their Chinese language skills in areas such as greetings, introductions, negotiations, and expressing opinions.  

The game also features written content, such as character profiles, scripts, news articles, and social media updates, which require reading comprehension to make informed decisions and progress in the game.  

Star Dream also offers insights into the Chinese entertainment industry and celebrity culture, presenting references to popular Chinese celebrities, entertainment events, and industry trends.  

3. Xenoblade 

At a glance 

  • Chinese game title: “异度之刃” (Yì Dù Zhī Rèn). 
  • Genre: Action role-playing game (RPG) 
  • Suitable for: Intermediate to Advanced learners 
  • Play it on Nintendo Switch 

“Xenoblade Chronicles” is a role-playing video game published by Nintendo and developed by Monolith Soft. It includes exploring huge landscapes, engaging in real-time combat with a combination of regular attacks and special abilities, and building connections with various Blades, which are strong entities that lend their capabilities to the players.  

The game is one of the outstanding RPG titles on the Nintendo Switch platform and it has a highly drawn environment to explore, as well as a deep and wide plot. 

How you can benefit from playing this game to learn Chinese: 

It can be an enjoyable and immersive way to practise and improve your Chinese language skills, offering a combination of linguistic, cultural, and contextual learning experiences. The game’s extensive text-based content provides ample opportunities to practise reading Chinese characters, improving reading and comprehension skills. The voice acting and character dialogue in Chinese enable players to practise listening, understand natural intonation and pronunciation patterns, and even imitate the characters for speaking practice. Additionally, exploring Xenoblade’s world and storyline in Chinese provides insights into Chinese culture, mythology, and storytelling conventions, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the language within a gaming context. 

4. Chinese Parents 

🔥 Highly recommended for its content related to current Chinese social and cultural features. 

At a glance 

  • Chinese game title: 中国式家长 (Zhōngguó Shì Jiāzhǎng). 
  • Genre: Simulation game 
  • Suitable for: Beginner to Advanced learners 
  • Play it on PC | Android | iOS 
Chinese Parents
Chinese Parents

Soybeetle’s “Chinese Parents” is a simulation video game.  

It provides a sarcastic and amusing perspective on the Chinese educational system and parenting culture.  

In the game, players take on the role of a kid born into a modern Chinese family and grow up with their character, choosing options regarding their education, hobbies, and social activities, as well as interacting with their parents, family members, and friends.  

The game focuses on the competitive aspect of Chinese culture, where academic achievements and good grades are frequently used to assess success.  

Players must strike a balance between their child’s happiness, health, and academic success while dealing with a variety of problems and cultural pressures.  

The game is both fun and instructive in its depiction of the high expectations and demands placed on Chinese kids and their parents. 

How you can benefit from playing this game to learn Chinese: 

Players will improve their reading skills and expand their vocabulary related to parenting, education, and family dynamics since the game is mainly centred on text-based content. By playing the game in Chinese, players also gain cultural insights into Chinese parenting culture and societal norms, deepening their understanding of customs and traditions.  

Since “Chinese Parents” is a strategy game that requires strategic thinking, playing it in Chinese enhances cognitive skills and logical thinking within the context of the Chinese language. 

This title is one of the few Chinese learning games for beginners (HSK2) as the content can be repetitive and you could switch the game into English to double check the meaning in case you feel lost 🙂 

5. Genshin Impact 

At a glance 

  • Chinese game title: “原神” (Yuán Shén) 
  • Genre: Open-world action role-playing game (RPG) 
  • Suitable for: Intermediate to Advanced learners 
  • Play it on PC | PlayStation | iOS (iPhone and iPad) | Android | Nintendo Switch 
Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact is an open-world action RPG developed by miHoYo for several platforms, including PC, consoles, and mobile devices. 

The game takes place in the fictional realm of Teyvat, where players will be on a mission to recover their missing sister and discover the world’s mysteries. It includes exploration, battle, and puzzle-solving action, as well as characters with various elemental skills.  

How you can benefit from playing this game to learn Chinese: 

The game features extensive dialogue and text, including character interactions, quests, and lore. Genshin Impact draws inspiration from Chinese culture, mythology, and landscapes. Exploring the world and encountering various characters can provide exposure to Chinese customs, folklore, and traditions. 

It also has a multiplayer option where users may chat and join the forces with other players. Engaging with Chinese-speaking players or joining Chinese communities can provide opportunities for language practice and cultural exchange. 

👉Further reading: Can I Learn Chinese by Playing the Genshin Impact Game? 

6. Honor of Kings 

At a glance 

  • Chinese game title: “王者荣耀” (Wángzhě Róngyào) 
  • Genre: Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) 
  • Suitable for: Intermediate to Advanced learners 
  • Play it on Android | iOS 
Honor of Kings
Honor of Kings

Tencent Games’ “Honour of Kings” is a popular MOBA that is also known as “Arena of Valour”.  

In the game, teams of players compete in fast-paced, strategic combat, commanding strong heroes with distinct powers in an attempt to destroy the opponent’s base. 

It has a strong player base in China and it is popular for its competitive gameplay, varied pool of playable characters, and frequent updates and events that keep the gameplay interesting and exciting. 

How you can benefit from playing this game to learn Chinese: 

It offers a great language learning experience that combines communication, vocabulary expansion, reading comprehension, and cultural understanding. The game’s emphasis on teamwork and coordination necessitates effective communication with teammates, providing ample practice for real-time communication and enhancing language proficiency.  

7. Total War: Three Kingdoms 

At a glance 

  • Chinese game title: “全面战争:三国” (Quánmiàn Zhànzhēng: Sānguó) 
  • Genre: Strategy and real-time tactics 
  • Suitable for: Intermediate to Advanced learners 
  • Play it on PC 
Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms

“Total War: Three Kingdoms” is a strategy video game published by Sega and developed by Creative Assembly.  

It takes place in ancient China during the Three Kingdoms period, and players assume the role of a warlord leading their group to conquer and unify the nation. 

On the campaign map, players engage in both strategic and tactical gameplay, controlling their faction’s economy, diplomacy, and military forces, as well as fighting in real-time combat when conflicts erupt. 

How you can benefit from playing this game to learn Chinese: 

It combines historical storytelling, strategic gameplay, and the study of Chinese language and culture into an engaging and educational experience, thus providing an immersive language learning experience while enhancing strategic thinking. 

The Chinese audience applauded the game’s evocative historical backdrop and attention to detail in recreating the Three Kingdoms era. 

The Best Chinese Language Learning Game 

Influent Chinese 

At a glance 

  • Chinese game title: Influent 
  • Genre: Immersive Chinese language learning – simulation 
  • Suitable for: Beginner to Advanced learners 
  • Play it on PC | Android | iOS 

Influent Chinese is an immersive video game set in a 3D world where players can collect various items. This title has been developed as a Chinese language learning game, so it helps students learn Chinese while playing a simulation game. 

How you can benefit from playing this game to learn Chinese: 

This is a perfect example of Chinese learning games for beginners as It allows players to build their vocabulary and language skills step by step and through repetition, while interacting with any item in the game. 

Each item has a name and, in some cases, a description or action word, enabling players to compile vocabulary lists of Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs.  

Unlike traditional language learning apps or games, the game offers a flexible approach and players can choose the types of words they want to learn. 

By incorporating vocabulary acquisition and correct pronunciation into a fun and rewarding gaming experience, Influent inspires players to pick up a new language.  

Are Video Games A Good Way To Learn A Language? 

Video games are commonly seen as a form of entertainment, but they can also be an effective tool for learning languages.  

Incorporating game-like aspects into language study may boost motivation and make the process more fun. By establishing realistic environments and interactions with characters and narrative, video games provide an immersive language learning experience.  

They give learners context, terminology, and cultural insights, helping them to develop their language abilities and get a deeper knowledge of the culture.  

Furthermore, gaming improves problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which are important for language learning when learners meet linguistic patterns and make language-related decisions. 

7 Tips for Selecting Video Games to Learn Chinese 

When choosing video games to learn Mandarin, you can consider many factors to evaluate their quality and attractiveness. 

1. Language Localization: 

  • Select games that provide Chinese language choices for the UI, subtitles, and audio and set the game language to Chinese to fully immerse yourself in the language. 

2. Language Learning Features: 

  • Games usually are not designed with built-in language learning features, but they might come with features that might be handy, such as item lists and character explanations which you can use to learn new words, phrases, or sentence structures.  

3. Dialogue and Text Complexity: 

  • You should opt for games that feature substantial amounts of dialogue and text in Chinese, but with varying levels of difficulty, ranging from beginner-friendly to more advanced. 

4. Cultural and Artistic Representation: 

  • Choose games that explore Chinese culture, history, or folklore, providing opportunities to learn about Chinese traditions, customs, society, art, architecture or landscapes. Also, pay attention to cultural references, idioms, or expressions within the game, and use them as learning opportunities. 

5. Gameplay: 

  • Look for games that have original, well-designed, and fun gameplay so that you can keep your motivation and interest high.  

6. Storytelling and Narrative: 

  • Pick games with engaging plots and that provide significant choices and consequences, allowing players to affect the plot and feel engaged in the ending. 

7. Multiplayer and Social Interaction: 

  • Multiplayer games that require communication with other players in Chinese can offer valuable practice. Also, look for games with extensive community-centric online features such as matchmaking, leaderboards, and community-driven content. Participate in online communities or forums related to the game, where you can interact with Chinese-speaking players and practise your language skills. 

Ready to Press Play? 

Levelling up your Mandarin through video games is an exciting journey that combines the thrill of gaming with the mastery of Chinese.  

Although you should not rely your entire learning only on video games, video games make language learning more engaging as they immerse you in Chinese culture, while you expand your vocabulary and sharpen your cognitive abilities. 

So, teachers, students and fellow gamers, embrace the power of video games and get ready for your next quest 

🎯 Keep slaying those language barriers and become a true Mandarin master. 


Fabia Parodi

Fabia Parodi  

Fascinated by foreign languages and cultures, Fabia Parodi was determined to be a polyglot since she was a child. Fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish and competent in Mandarin Chinese, Fabia is an experienced language teacher, translator and multicultural marketing specialist. 

When in class, she always make sure to include graded and authentic materials in her lessons to expose students to foreign cultures and to introduce a more natural use of the language they are learning. The two things she loves more than languages are travelling and exchanging stories with people from all over the world. 

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