Hanzi Invaders

Hanzi Invaders for iOS


Hanzi Invaders is an educational game to teach users basic Chinese character writing and recognition. It utilizes the iOS keyboard’s built-in Simplified Chinese character writing input. Chinese character cards fall from the top of the screen, and the user must correctly write them using the keyboard input.

This game started off with a very different theme.

First, it started off as Emoji Invaders, and the goal was to match falling emoji using the emoji keyboard.



v0.01 – Emoji Invaders


In parallel, I made the Chinese character focused version, but it was supposed to feature pixel art characters, with the main character being a baozi (steamed bun.)


Hanzi Invaders initial design


About half-way through development, I decided to change the style. Reason being, I was between jobs at the time, and felt that my portfolio looked a bit too childish with too many cute, pixel art games.

In retrospect, I really should have stuck with the original style. It made the game much more interesting to play, and there were some humorous elements and throwbacks to some of my older games.



Maybe next time, pal.



  • Innovative use of the iOS Chinese handwriting tool
  • Gameplay modes: Easy, Hard, Arcade
  • 100 levels to unlock
  • 200+ Chinese characters to learn


Technologies used

  • Objective-C
  • UIKit/Foundation Framework
  • Cocos2d


Year published: 2011

Made in: Shanghai, China