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Wii U eShop Review


Sanuk Games

Genre: Strategy / Puzzle / Tile-matching board game
Players: 1

EU Release Date: 2016-09-22 Price: £4.49 / 4,99€

Website: http://www.sanukgames.com/

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv3IxRkQUtg

Tested: EU (PAL Version)

Review: MAHJONG (Wii U eShop) WiiUDS_Mahjong_01_mediaplayer_large

Most people from the West know Mahjong in this form, but in reality it's not the original Mahjong that can be played with a group of people. This is the Western version, also called Mahjong Solitaire or Shanghai, a single player tile-matching game.

The title screen shows a beautiful ancient Chinese design made of parchment paper and paintbrush letters while a modernized music track plays traditional instruments. The initial presentation really nails the far-east atmosphere and sets the perfect mood.

Review: MAHJONG (Wii U eShop) WiiUDS_Mahjong_03_mediaplayer_large

The rules of this game are simple. Find a pair and take them away to score points, but you can only pick tiles if they have a free space next to them.

Starting Mahjong, you are presented with a level select screen. There are 70 stages with different builds of tiles, so there's a neat amount of content to look forward to. The controls are as simple as they can get: Just touch the screen to select tiles. Clearing all tiles in one stage unlocks the next stage. Matching the tiles strategically (in a certain order) nets you extra points, and if you win you are able to put your initials into the local top 10 highscore lists. You can use 3 hints per level but they take away a good chunk of your score.

There are four backgrounds to choose from with rivers, lakes, and mountains subtly animated to not take away from the main game, but nice enough to notice. You can also select from four different sets of tiles: you have the original Chinese ones, a more colorful version, and even a kids version with animals and fruit. You can change the theme of the tiles and the backgrounds in the level select screen by pressing one of the icons at the top of the screen.

Review: MAHJONG (Wii U eShop) WiiUDS_Mahjong_04_mediaplayer_large

While initially it seems to be a really good version, there are a few things holding back the game from being a perfect virtual experience. The biggest problem is that it's 2D, and while it's not a huge issue, it's sometimes hard to see if there are tiles under another tile. This game would greatly benefit from 3D graphics where you can view the board from different camera angles. Other Wii U board games in the same price range (like Pure Chess) show what the Wii U is capable of graphically for a game of this kind.

Also, with different backgrounds to select from it's a shame that the music never changes. There's just the title music and the stage music, both of which are great, but I personally wish for more variety. In my opinion if you put in different background graphics then you should also put in different background music. On top of that, the music and sound effects occasionally stop playing and never return, unless you close and reboot the game. The last issue is something that every recent Sanuk title is suffering from: Even though you can put in way more than 3 letters when achieving a highscore, only the first three letters will be recognized by the game.

Review: MAHJONG (Wii U eShop) WiiUDS_Mahjong_06_mediaplayer_large

For just 4,99 you get a decent Mahjong tile-matching game that can take away a few hours of your time. It's not showcasing the power of the Wii U in any way and has a few shortcomings, but it's still as addicting as ever.


Written by SKTTR, 29th September 2016
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on October 3rd 2016, 10:06 pmTowafan7
Great review dude, too bad that almost nobody can comment at the moment, hopefully I'll be able to alleviate some of the issues soon. Anime Sweat
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