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Genre: Quiz/Puzzle/Strategy :: Players: 1 :: Released: 26/10/05

Mah Jong Quest Review

Publisher: I-Play :: Developer: Big Blue Bubble

Pros

Game Features

Rating/100

Nice graphics
Undo feature
3 save slots

Cons

Pointer control could be improved

Sound
Help
Save Option
Highscore
Suspend/Resume
Bus/Tube Friendly
See Compatible Handsets

85

Graphics

92

Sound

83

Controls

75

Playability

86

Lastability

89

Review Details
Handset Nokia 6600

Costas Stephanides’s Review

Review Date: 04/11/05

Forget Sudoku, Mah Jong rules.


From the makers of Jewel Quest comes a new puzzle game imaginatively titled Mah Jong Quest. Naturally this is based on the centuries old (if not millennia old) game of Mah Jong from China. The game has seen resurgence in the West in recent years thanks to a new breed of PC parlour games.

You may not know the name but everyone will have played a basic form of Mah Jong when they were younger. At its most basic level, its all about matching pairs of tiles. Once a pair is matched, the tiles are removed and you continue until all the tiles are removed. The tiles are usually arranged in a pretty pattern and there are a few simple rules to guide you. I say simple, but it all depends on how they are explained. Luckily the in-game help is very good and novices should pick the game up fairly quickly.

You can only match tiles that have at least one long edge that is not touching an adjacent tile and obviously have the same symbol; tiles must also have no tiles directly on top of them. Just to confuse things a little more, you can match tiles that depict the seasons (Spring, Summer, etc) with any other Season tile. The same is also true for Flower tiles. It may sound complicated but you can ask for hints by pressing *. Possible pairs will then make themselves known.

My only gripe with the game is the control system. There's a pointer on-screen which is moved by pressing the appropriate direction using the directional/key pad. Moving the pointer can be a slow process especially when the board is nearly empty. You may have big spaces between tiles; however, you can only take baby steps while you move the pointer across the screen. You can hold the direction to move the pointer faster but you will usually overshoot. The controls are not disastrously bad, just more of an inconvenience.

The graphics are very good and they have managed to squeeze in a lot of detail on a mobile phone screen. Chinese characters, especially on Mah Jong tiles, can be quite difficult to read but this is not the case on the Nokia 6600. To be fair this handset does have a fairly large screen size and I'm not sure how it transfers to the smaller screen on the 6230. Luckily, they have not decided to play around with any funky tile colours and have gone for a traditional style of white tiles. The sound is pretty decent as well. As you would expect there is a gentle Oriental tune playing in the background and a few sound effects when you match the tiles.

This version of Mah Jong takes the traditional and mixes in a few arcade tricks. We are treated to special tiles like the magic wand tile (switches tiles around) and the dynamite tile (it blows them up) and more importantly the Yin and Yang tiles. Traditionally, the game is complete when all the tiles have been matched. In this Quest version, the level is completed once you have paired the Yin tile with the Yang tile.

The game also has a timer. It would have been nice if you had the option to turn it off but the time limit is quite generous and it shouldn't be too much of a burden. Even as a purist, these features don't detract from the game and add something new to a very old game. As with Jewel Quest, this game comprises a bucket load of levels and there is even a storyline to your tile matching. Nothing really happens when you finish the 30 levels and complete the story; the game just loops round and you start from the beginning and your score is carried forward.

Overall, its a fantastic game and has everything you could expect and then a little bit more.