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April 1, 2012 • Gaming, Reviews

Mahjongg Artifacts Chapter 2 for the Kindle Fire Review

Not long ago I reviewed the Kindle Fire version of Mahjongg Artifacts. Now we get a look at the sequel, which had found tremendous success as one of the most popular PSP Minis. Ironically the sequel was released before the original game on that platform, but on the Kindle Fire both were released together. The original game was excellent on the Fire, let’s see how the sequel plays!

The Hype:
Mahjongg Artifacts: Chapter 2 is highly addictive tile-matching game with millions of players on PC and other platforms. It takes tile-matching games in an exciting new direction! Pair up tiles to dismantle hundreds of layouts. Gather pearls for purchasing special powers, utilize a selection of ground-breaking powerups, earn trophies, and enjoy the game`s beautiful graphics and rich audio. There’s more than enough tile-matching action in Mahjongg Artifacts 2 to keep you tapping the screen for months!
Epic Quest Mode
Additional 99 levels in Classic Mode
Thrilling Endless Mode
Five Tile Sets
Ground-breaking Powerups
Gorgeous graphics and rich audio

The Reality:

When I first played this on the PSP Go, I hadn’t realized I got ‘Chapter 2’, and was therefore a bit confused starting out. The game didn’t really do anything to indicate that this was a continuation, but at the same time assumed some knowledge from the first game. After playing again on the iPad and now on the Kindle Fire, everything feels like second nature, and the differences between the two games are fairly subtle, but overall I appreciate the sequel more than the original.

As a reminder of what a Mahjongg game IS, an assortment of tiles are spread out on the screen in a nice stacking pattern (I can only imagine setting these up by hand!). The tiles are distributed randomly, and the object in general is to clear the board by matching tiles. However, you need to ‘unblock’ some tiles to reach them, which can be very challenging.

Mahjongg Artifacts varies this in a couple of ways. First, the goal if each board is to match the two ‘golden tiles’, which can sometimes be possible before clearing the rest of the tiles. When this presents itself you are faced with a choice: do I clear everything away to maximize the score or minimize my time to maximize the score. Yeah – it is a trade-off like anything else.

One thing to help you is the ability to reshuffle. As you progress and do well you get ‘reshuffle orbs’ that allow you to reshuffle the remaining tiles if you don’t like the layout. Of course, you can also get to the point of having no available moves and need to either reshuffle or restart the board, but it is nice to have the option. I’m a completest and like my board completely clear, even if doing it more quickly and not reshuffling would have gotten me more points!

I played Mahjongg Artifacts on Kindle Fire after using the smaller PSP Go screen and larger iPad screen, and at times the small screen was an issue with visibility on some of the larger layouts. Fortunately the game offers some handy tools. In general I’d let the game ‘auto-zoom’, which maximizes your view and keeps zooming as you clear more and more areas. But when you find seeing details challenging, you can use the L trigger to zoom in and the R trigger to zoom out. It doesn’t replace the huge view of the iPad, but it is an amazingly simple way to alleviate the most common issue of Mahjongg on a small screen!

The story mode intersperses the puzzles with comic panels telling the story of your adventure through a wide array of global locations. It is an interesting tale that isn’t overly deep of complex, but serves as a nice connection between all of the elements of the game, and also gives context to the stunning amount of tile and background variety.

Once you finish the story – and the story mode alone offers tons of content for a $5 PSP Mini – you can enter Classic mode which is just puzzle after puzzle with 100 layouts, 5 tile sets and 27 backgrounds. Finally there is Endless mode, which has you choose tiles and background and then just dumps a stack of tiles on the screen which go on … well, forever!

The visualizations, performance and load times are all very well handled on the Kindle Fire port. Naturally the zooming helps when there are fewer tiles, but having to manually zoom in on the full board and pan around can be somewhat annoying – but it is a minor complaint for an otherwise solid game. Since the file size is small, storage isn’t an issue.

As I mentioned, there are some subtle differences between the recently released Mahjongg Artifacts and this game – and it makes things confusing. Although they were released Chapter 2 first on the PSP, on every other platform this game was a later release. That means that Chapter 2 has more interesting power-up tiles, a more interesting comic-book story to accompany the tile-matching, and more intricately designed sets of tiles (which is both good AND bad).

On the other hand, since Chapter 2 was G5’s first PSP Mini, it showed some signs of still being a bit rough around the edges in terms of overall polish, from transitions and reactions to actually not explaining what some of the special tiles do! Fortunately, the iPad release and now the Kindle Fire port have been fixed and run perfectly.

Mahjongg Artifacts Chapter 2 offers tons of value, with a huge story mode and endless gameplay through either the Classic or Endless modes. The variety of tiles, backgrounds, layouts and even the background music make for an excellent puzzle gaming experience that goes far beyond what you’d expect in a simple tile-based puzzle game of this type.

Of course, the question is … which one to buy? If you really love these games I say grab both! They are pretty cheap – and you could even get one on the iPad and the other on the PSP to have it with you all the time. Otherwise I would honestly say I preferred Chapter 2 due to the better story and special tiles. But ultimately you can’t go wrong with either one.

Here is the trailer for Mahjongg Artifacts Chapter 2 for the Kindle Fire:

Review: Mahjongg Artifacts Chapter 2 for the Kindle Fire

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Price: $4.99 (free demo version here)

What I Like: Story is integrated in a way that adds to the overall experience; Tons of content between story, classic and endless modes; Overall presentation is strong – story, tiles, backgrounds and music all integrate!; Zoom feature is best ever on a handheld.

What Needs Improvement: The zooming can still leave you with less than optimal visibility; Might take a bit to learn if you didn’t play the original.

Source: Review code provided by publisher

One Response to " Mahjongg Artifacts Chapter 2 for the Kindle Fire Review "

  1. Simon Beans says:

    Awesome game, I must say that mahjong artifacts chapter 2 is a great addictive tile matching game with other platforms. Its background graphics and rich audio are very impressive.

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