This Be Bad Translation #19, Refreshing Sideways Puzzle Ghost Hammer!


Another Nintendo Switch game with a weird translation has appeared… and this time it’s not a dating game! This time we’ll be looking at Refreshing Sideways Puzzle Ghost Hammer.

The wordy title tells you everything you need to know: It’s a puzzle game that plays sideways instead of vertically, which is pretty refreshing. You use various magical hammers to hit the blocks, and if you match up four blocks of the same color, you free the ghosts that were trapped inside. The title also lets you know that something may be amiss with the game’s translation.

This game is all about playing sideways

It’s a pretty fun puzzle game with cutscenes sprinkled between levels in Story Mode. It’s clear tht these cutscenes were not translated by a native-level English speaker, which is the classic recipe for things like ”All your base are belong to us”.

Does Refreshing Sideways Puzzle Ghost Hammer rival Zero Wing’s legendary translation? Let’s find out!

The game slightly dims the colors of the characters who aren’t talking, so the text on the screen is being said by the character who’s lit up. Aurora is the Princess and Serata is the witch. All the other creatures are ghosts.

It goes without saying that Refreshing Sideways Puzzle Ghost Hammer could have benefitted from a native English-speaking editor before being released. Sometimes game companies will release update patches that fix early, unrefined translations. It’d be “refreshing” if that ends up being the case here too.

I love documenting poorly-translated Switch games, so if you know of any more, please share them in the comments or on Twitter!

If you like reading about bad game translations, check out these other bad translation articles!

  1. Re “It’s not a small child’s toilet”, it occurs to me that “potty” can mean a small child’s toilet, and can also mean “crazy”. Would that work in context?

    1. That sounds more like an issue that would happen if translated from English to Japanese, and not what likely happened here.

  2. “The title also lets you know that something may be amiss with the game’s translation.”

    Or some anime protagonist is announcing his special move.

    1. haha I can just hear someone yelling “REFRESHING SIDEWAYS PUZZLE GHOST HAMMER!!!” while performing elaborate spins

  3. I think “Feu” is the correct spelling, because it’s French for “fire”.

    1. In any case, it’s a consistency error.

    2. That was my thought as well, seeing as how the water spirit is Aqua and the light spirit is Luce.

  4. Secret fifth knight

    “I am Fue, one of the big four knights” I feel like I have been well informed on what is going with this mistranslated line. If only I could recall where I learned this and who from…

    1. Maybe you’re thinking of shitennou?

  5. The Switch really has been a goldmine of badly translated shovelware, hasn’t it?

  6. “Aurora is surrounded by anxiety that like her feet collapse.”
    well, I mean, having your feet collapse would cause anxiety.
    … Also pain.

  7. FreshJuicePuzzleStone

    スカッとよこ撃ちパズル ゴーストハンマー
    What is a more natural/accurate translation of the JP name, would you say?

    1. You’d have to translate it, not simply transliterate, I’d go with something like “Ghost Hammer: A Side-scrolling Puzzle-Shooter” or “Ghost Hammer” with a sub-line reading “A puzzle side-scrolling shooter” but it’s really a dialogue the translator and developers have to have “look just translating word-for-word is going to be giggle-inducing, lets come up with a cool English name that captures the essence of the game”.

      For what it’s worth many titles (not just for games, but movies and other media as well) are not translations in any sense of the word, they’re completely different and based on the differences in customer preferences and expectations for titles in those markets. what sounds “cool” in Japan could sound ridiculous, over-the-top or just have very different genre or style connotations in English-speaking markets. A good example of that is if you use a fairly typical japanese-type name then people will automatically expect it to be a very Japanese game, with all the features and the visual style that implies. If you’re actually trying to make a serious shooter or a atmospheric horror game that would be extremely counterproductive.

  8. No one noticed that “Unexpectedly, the noise became queit” yet?

  9. >”Aurora should drink roast nail stains of Princess Serata!” (In Japanese, to “drink brewed dirt from under A’s fingernails” means “to be taught a lesson by A” or “to be put in their place by A”.)

    And now, I suddenly get why Monkey Nail Dirt is a drink ingredient in Metal Max Returns.