Mahjong is the classic tile-matching game that seems to have existed since the earliest handheld systems, at least since the Newton MessagePad. G5 has released two great Mahjong games in the past, which I reviewed here and here. Now they are back with a free-to play Mahjong game that takes you on a journey through Asia solving puzzle after puzzle.
Type of app: Tile Matching game
Platform/where to buy: iPad; available in the iTunes App Store
Developer: G5 Entertainment
• Master over 120 immersive levels (with hundreds more coming in free updates)
• Match 132 types of tiles in three different tile sets (with more coming in free updates)
• Earn over 20 desirable achievements and utilize four groundbreaking power-ups
• Enjoy gorgeous graphics, rich sounds and regular free updates with new levels, tile sets and more
Mahjong Journey Major features:
At its core Mahjong Journey is all about matching tiles. And … well, that’s it. So the fact that the game is an excellent mahjong game – made this a joy to play.
Of course there is more – but my point is it doesn’t matter. The game is ‘free to play’, which means that there have to be ways to get you to spend money. One of the biggest ones is that you can run out of turns and get a re-shuffle – the tiles change face but remain in the same locations. This offers you the ability to keep going – for a price. You can also purchase a Firecracker tool to blow up pairs of tiles, a look-ahead timer to see available pairs and more.
There is also a story and some great locations at the heart of Mahjong Journey . You are traveling around trying to help a young girl and her grandfather find her family.
You can see the layout of a typical board below – colorful background, detailed tiles, goal in the upper-left, timer in the middle, score in the upper right. At the bottom you can pause, zoom in, and there are a number of limited-use tools. Aside from the ones mentioned before you also get an undo in case you make a move that ends up hurting you.
Ultimately all of the extra stuff is just that – extra stuff. At its core Mahjong Journey is a really fun game that consists of levels that will take you fewer than ten minutes to complete, and offer a great range of challenges. There is no requirement to spend any actual money, but if you get really hooked into the game the pull for in-app purchases will increase.
Ease of use/Overall performance:
Mahjong Journey has stunning graphics and is quick to load and easy to play. There is no mistaking or mixing up tiles due to the great images, and your taps will always hit the right tile. For me, especially looking back at the older Mahjong games I was reminded of how often you would end up comparing tiles wondering why they weren’t a match – but none of that happens here.
My other criteria with this type of game is that it is a quick in-and-out. I want to get into the game, play a bit and then leave without losing progress. As I mentioned, many levels are timed or have other sub-goals you need to satisfy, making it increasingly challenging to get the full three-star rating.
Would use again/recommend?: Definitely! As I said, I have loved Mahjong games for decades now, and Mahjong Journey is just a great game. What I loved about the game is that it presented some incredibly complex and challenging levels that were just a great time to play – even if you would watch the timer tick away and you were losing rewards along the way!
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing
Source: Publisher provided review code
Price: Free download with in-app purchases
Here is the Mahjong Journey trailer: