Mahjong Solitaire Review – Solitaire Mahjong Without Any Frills

Agetec’s Mahjong Solitaire finally has made it out at the end of June, after originally being announced first for early spring and then early May. Alas for them, it ended up following a second Mahjong Solitaire game from G5 Entertainment (G5 also had one at the launch of the Minis program), so it has some stiff competition.

Mahjong solitaire is pretty simple. You take a set of mahjong tiles and lay them out in a pattern. Then you remove matched pairs that are free (only touching another tile on one end) until you can either make no more moves, or you’ve finished removing all the tiles. Doing it in real life is no doubt a lot of work though. Which is why it’s much more popular virtually.

In this, you move the cursor with the d-pad, like it was a mouse pointer, and hit X when you want to select a tile. Then you move it over to the other tile of the matching pair, and hit X again. This give you more control, but a d-pad isn’t as precise for this as a mouse, so sometimes you miss.

The analog stick is used to tilt the board. This gives you a better view of which tiles are free. It’s very important because the default view is directly above, you can’t always tell which ones are free, the only indication of height is by shadows. A default view that was tilted slightly would have really helped.

Tilting the board with the analog nub

Tilting the board with the analog nub

Most Mahjong Solitaire games I’ve played have a function that will highlight which tiles are free. This has one, but it is what this game considers help when you hit the “Help” button, as opposed to a setting you can turn on or off.  In most games, help actually finds a match for you. So this was a bit odd, I thought.

Games in this are very standard, using only 144 tiles, and are timed. You pick 1, 3, and 5 minutes. To me a time limit sort of defeats the purpose of Solitaire, but perhaps that’s just me. This way your score is more meaningful. Besides time limit, you can select the background from a few different ones, and the background music (which was a little annoying).

Option Screen

Option Screen

If you like Mahjong Solitaire, this does get the job done, but it’s a little barebones. Certainly in terms of options and value, either of the Solitaire Mahjong titles from G5 has this beat. They have more tile sets, a hundred different layouts and no limit limit, and that’s just the Classic Mode, not counting the storyline.

On the other hand, this is good if you want a more classic form of Mahjong Solitaire and one that is timed. The G5 titles use some very creative layouts as opposed to traditional ones, and generally more than 144 tiles, which could turn some people off. So this is a good alternative, it does things almost completely different. But unless you are a purist, I think the G5 ones are simply more fun and a better value.

Score: 6/10

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2 Responses to “Mahjong Solitaire Review – Solitaire Mahjong Without Any Frills”
  1. volcane says:

    If I didn’t already have one of the G5 solitaire games (Mahjongg Artifacts) then I think I might get this one, due to it’s simple uncluttered presentation (which I like). However, I don’t think this offers me anything over and above the G5 game I already have so I couldn’t justify getting it as well.

  2. JeremyR says:

    There is also another version of Solitaire Mahjong in the UMD game “Ultimate Board Game Collection” from Valcon, which is on PSN for $9.99 (not sure about Europe though)

    It’s very much like this one, except you can listen to custom soundtracks (mp3s from your music folder). And of course, all the other games in it (which are pretty simple)

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