What makes a good mahjong solitaire game? Most people tend to play mahjong solitaire when they’re relaxed, or just feel like they’re up for some brain-work. There are quite a few titles for these tile-matching games, probably most notable would be Moonlight Mahjong from the earlier days of the App Store. It’s intuitive 3D graphics were of high quality and the interface was easy to use, and I probably think of it as the epitome of mahjong solitaire games for the iPhone.
But alas, I always seem to sit here praising other games, so being back on topic we have a game known as Mahjongg Artifacts 2 by G5 Entertainment. It’s gameplay is essentially the same; match the tiles and clear the board. The real difference between all of the mahjong solitaire games is the graphics and the content. And I can assure you that Mahjongg Artifacts 2 has plenty of graphics and content.
The gameplay of mahjong tile-matching games are all well known. Basically, the player begins with a board setup consisting of about 100 tiles. Two of the same tiles can then be matched and removed from the layout if they’re not covered by a tile, and if they have no tile to the immediate left or right side. The few special rules are that season tiles and flower tiles can be matched without being the same picture. Once all the tiles are removed, the game ends. Or in the case for Mahjongg Artifacts 2, the player only has to match the two gold tiles (usually buried at the bottom anyhow) to finish the level. Majongg Artifacts features three different modes: Quest, Classic, and Endless.
Quest mode is simply progressive stages of tile-matching. There are 25 levels in total, split into 5 sections of the story. Each part of the story takes place in a different country, and the tile set reflects on the country you’re in. The storyline is based on a woman searching for an explorer in Asia, and along the way there’s a mystery to solve (however, I can’t give spoilers. That’s for you to find out!). There’s a section of a comic after each level to keep you updated as you play.
Classic mode is just the regular tile-matching game. Mahjongg artifacts gives 99 different layouts to choose from, so there’s plenty of replayability for the solitaire fans. Finally, there’s Endless mode. Frankly, this isn’t the best part of the game. It’s more of a classic mode combined with an infinity loop so the player just continues to match tiles. The game keeps track of how many layers you remove.
To add a bit of flare, there are special tiles in the game. These tiles, when matched with another tile, will have effects such as moving a tile to a different spot, shuffling the board, or clearing away all the tiles of the same type. Additionally, some tiles contain pearls, and collecting pearls will allow you to play special actions like hints, shuffling, and undo.
The graphics of Mahjongg Artifacts seems like a double-edged sword… and I say this because the tiles and backgrounds are beautifully drawn and coloured, but only really noticeable when magnified (currently, there is only 1 level of zoom). The tiles themselves are also a bit small and a slight strain on the eyes, which makes the gameplay a bit awkward when trying to make the right matches. Other than this, the interface itself is quite colourful, detailed, and easy to use.
Themes and sets aren’t unlocked from the beginning; the player is required to play through Quest mode to unlock them. Each country unlocks a tileset, and each level unlocks one of the beautiful art backgrounds. These can then be selected when playing Classic or Endless mode.
The game also features an achievement system for completing certain aspects of the game. There’s an object for each level in Quest mode that allows the player to review the storyline comic. As well, achievements such as “score 1 million points in any game mode” and the like, will allow for some replayability.
In the end, I can say is that it’s not a bad tile matching game overall. I myself prefer something with a larger view and perhaps a 3D look, but the graphics of Mahjongg Artifacts don’t disappoint. While it will be interesting to see if G5 Entertainment brings any updates to the game, for now I’ll only Tap It when I’m in the mood for a quick puzzle.
Note: G5 Entertainment has released a free lite version of Mahjongg Artifacts 2 that you can download here. If you enjoy Mahjong solitaire, then we highly recommend that you check it out.
|Title:||Mahjongg Artifacts 2 (v1.0)||Developer:||G5 Entertainment|
|Price:||$1.99||App Size:||17.2 MB|