The launch of the consumer Gear VR continues to be strengthened by the release of apps from winners of the Mobile VR Jam held earlier this year. The latest example is House of Languages. It’s a cute language learning app available now that will find its place among top tier educational experiences like solar system explorer Titans of Space and art gallery app Woofbert.
Made by Estonia-based Fox3D Games and a $10,000 bronze winner of the Oculus Jam, the experience puts players in a cartoon house with a cute raccoon to learn Spanish, German or English. Mr. Woo is the raccoon teacher. Pictures of objects pop up above his head like a thought bubble and you have to turn your head and look around the room to find it. You also hear the name of the object.
Below is a video showing some of the gameplay concepts. It is several months old though and depicts the prototype developed for the Mobile VR Jam, so there might be some changes if you download the app in the Gear VR.
The scenes inside the experience are adorable and there’s a whole raccoon family to meet. Hopefully studies are performed soon to see whether people retain foreign language vocabulary better when immersed in this kind of a cute virtual reality environment.
One thing that seems odd is Oculus explicitly states in its warnings (PDF): “The Gear VR should not be used by children under the age of 13.” The cartoonish art style of House of Languages, however, seems like it is perfect for teaching younger kids foreign language vocabulary. It should only take a few minutes to finish a set of words in the app but it’s important to take note of this warning if you’re thinking about trying it out with your kids. Though House of Languages isn’t available on Cardboard, Google is promoting the viewers for educational use among kids and provides a more general warning for the basic VR viewers: “Cardboard is not for use by children without adult supervision.”