Hints and Answer options constantly different.
There are a severe number of times where the hints given are completely unrelated, or don't match the answers presented.
Take one of the numerous examples
"How long will it take?"
どれ ちかり かかり ます か
Asking for hints on the words How : どのくらい いかが どう Long: 長い 長
However, the answer options are nowhere near the same.
From the options presented and the hints provided how are you supposed to learn anything? Most of them are completely useless and make it more confusing. There isn't even a suggestion of where the 'kakari' is coming from. Asking for the take hint gives nothing (obviously) related...
Take: 持って行きます 送る を撮る
No hint of "kakari".
So are the hints totally unaware of the context they are being presented? Was no thought given them that they might actually be needed as a 'hint' to answer the question?
At present it is a guessing game as to whether you get the answer right or not. My own barely capable knowledge of the grammar allows me to guess if a negative will require the word changing to a "ku" ending and from that I can sometimes guess what the hint is failing to actually help with.
Sorry for the rant, but the help in every other question is becoming pointless and it's slightly annoying.
The hints are generated automatically, so the answer to "So are the hints totally unaware of the context they are being presented?" is, in short, at the beginning, yes. They can and should be improved, however (the automatic ones can be altered by hand), and I am certain they will be as the course advances through beta. It may be easier once the course eventually gets to the web so that more users have more specific reporting options instead of iOS's all-encompassing "There is a problem with this sentence" (or whatever the verbiage is). The hints for Japanese do seem to have additional problems not found in other courses: only appearing in kanji when the available options are in hiragana, for example.
Yes. I find that I almost never use the hints.
I have found useful: a dictionary app like imiwa? which, for example, will give you different verb forms, explain kanji, provide example sentences, break down sentences for you - I would not want to be without it.
Also some sort of grammar resource. I usually just use Google and nearly always find something helpful. Also people seem to like Tae Kim.
And last but not least: people here in the forum have been both helpful and patient.