Mahjong Magic Journey is a mahjong game that uses a fantasy theme as its main selling point. Whilst this game can be bought on steam and other gaming websites it is actually a port of a ‘free to play’ ipad game but some versions do have extras with them in particular the steam version (which is the version I am basing my review upon) which has achievements and steam trading cards as an additions as well as removing the option to purchase power ups with actual money but from what I have gathered it is the same game other than the aforementioned additions and changes.
The concept of the game itself is simple and very easy to get into playing as if you know what you are doing as it essentially matching 2 of the same picture style in a mahjong format however I feel that the tutorial could be considered as hand holding the player too much as for someone who has previously played a mahjong game it will let you do only what the game tells you to do and you have to make the same moves as the tutorial and if you try to pair another match it will not allow you to do so. I also dislike that you have to do the tutorial and there is no option to skip the tutorial or turn off hints even if you know what your doing and you want to just get stuck into the game.
But as simple as it is get into the game itself isn’t as straight forward as the concept on paper seems because your objective isn’t to clear the board in its entirety your objective is to match all of the golden tiles on the board in as little moves possible and the further you go in the game the more complex the levels are layed out whether that be the multilayered level layout(usually the levels are like this and they have a few different gold tiles on each layer.) or not having the right tiles on play. Then after you have done so you have to earn 3 stars in each level and you do this by getting the levels done by making a limited number of moves, obtaining all of the golden tiles and by earning enough gold coins in each level as expected it is different for each level. But this game is a luck based game in a sense as you are dependent on the game providing you with moves and if you have a set that provides you with no moves you must use the reshuffle button, which whilst it has it uses in getting you out of tricky scenarios I don’t like that the game makes you use it so much in order to achieve level requirements and this isn’t just limited to when you run out of moves either. I found that on some levels it may possibly take multiple attempts to complete and that is before you bring up achieving 3 stars on every level, but if you plan on doing so it is a challenge.
The game itself I think is quite decent for the content provided at least on a technical level as well as visual/audio content of the game. Graphically I like the cartoon like art style as it fits the game well and is drawn to a good standard, I also like how the levels are set out as some of the levels are of animals/fantasy creatures and I think it is quite fitting for the setting. However I dislike how it strays from its theme because I found levels like a set of scales and I thought why is this in the game as it has nothing to do with fantasy creatures in a forest. But I think that the audio for the game is repetitive even if the tracks provided in the game are calm and relaxing to listen to, I feel that because there are only a few different tracks and sound effects in the game it does get annoying after so long you end up turning off the sound. However I don’t like the fact that the game (on steam’s description) offers a story about magical pets taking this directly from the steam store description (as seen above.) there was no mention of following a trail in order to saving some magical pets from a predator(who is actually a clawed crafty thief according to the description) whilst I seen pictures of different creatures on the level selection page unless the level hasn’t been unlocked and they are behind bars but there is nothing about a story or even a slight reference to any simple story when it gloats about having a story concept on the description. So if you are expecting a fantasy based puzzle games with a story look elsewhere as this is just a selection of mahjong levels nothing more nothing less.
Overall though I will admit that it is a fun game to play on if your after a puzzle game but I would only recommend picking this game if you like puzzle/mahjong games and it is on sale as I don’t think that the game isn’t worth more than 39p(when it is on sale on steam) let alone the original asking price of £3.99 which I think is way too much for a port of a free to play ipad game.