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Mahjong Tales: Nonstop Action and Adventure, Not

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Emmy wished on a Mahjong scale and thats what started Mahjong Tales. Around the room the Mahjong flew but Emmy and Max knew what to do. They climbed on the backs of their Mahjong friends, and now the adventure never ends.  Mahjong Tales, Mahjongs Tales, its almost time for Mahjong tales. Come along, take my hand, lets all go to mahjong land……wait. What am I doing? Oh yeah reviewing Creat Studios’ PSN game Mahjong Tales. What is that you may ask? (probably not), well it is Mahjong you can play on….get this..your PS3. I know, amazing right?  If you don’t know what Mahjong is, take a quick look at your start menu, go to games and voila! If you don’t have a computer then this is awkward and I am not sure how you can read this. Cyber God? Vitural Realty Suit? Cell Phone?

Well since you won’t actually waste your time looking it up let me give you the basics: Mahjong Solitaire, is a matching game using Mahjong tiles rather than cards.  Tiles can only be matched if they have been exposed by removing all tiles to their immediate left or right.  The tiles are all placed face up which allows you to see at least part of them at times, and this actually proves to make the game quite strategical. Now that boring stuff is out of the way, let us move on to the boring stuff: The game.

The meat of the game is broken up into 4 modes: Ancient Tales, Infinity, Motion and Multiplayer. Ancient Tales is the equivalent of a story mode. In this mode you will play through five books and a total of nine chapters in each one, not a bad length for a game of this type. The game play is pretty much the same as normal mahjong besides for one major difference: you only need to match 1 pair of tiles which are buried under the others to advance the story along. This makes the experience less tedious and a bit more tactical. The story itself is interesting at times but what really makes the traditional Chinese stories shine is the beautiful hand drawn traditional art that plays out the story. One does not have to be an art buff or a fan of the style to enjoy the paintings that make up this mode.

Next is the Zen-like Infinity mode which is the simplest but likely the most played. This mode lets you choose what type of tiles you would like, different background wallpapers, and choose from 100 different starting setups. This lets you pick what you want and then trance out to tile matching fun with normal mahjong rules (which I imagine means you have no soul). Also if you can’t get enough of mahjong, this mode has an editing feature that lets you create unique beginning setups, because lets face it: 100 is just not enough.

The motion mode is where you might get a little pissed off; it is entertaining but incredibly hard at times. Unlike boring old mahjong where the tiles lay there like they own the place, there are some tiles circling around the play area which can be used to match with the tiles that are locked onto the board. This may sound easy, but you must used these tiles before the sinister dragon eats them and spells the end of your game. This mode also features cool powerups to ward off the dragon and win the day. There are bombs that can destroy clumps of tiles, freeze bombs to slow the moving tiles, and hints that tell you matches you may have missed.

Ahhh what game would be complete without mulitplayer…the answer is a lot of them but I digress. This mode is likely to be the least played as well. Searching for a match online is like searching for a CoD fan with good taste, long story short: no one is playing. Local mulitplayer is the only other option and that is a bit annoying. The game has a serious issue with denial as it is clear the game was never really supposed to be played with a controller. In the local games more time is spent frantically trying to move the cursor to the right tiles than actually competing with you friends, (which I don’t believe would ever happen seeing as no one with friends would subject them to hardcore mahjong bouts.)

All and all, as boring as I find mahjong to be, I can’t really hate this game. For the fan I am sure that it offers everything they would want. It isn’t innovating the industry but hey, it is only mahjong after all. If you want to play an interesting take on a boring game or zone out while listening to Zepplin you could do far worse than this game.

Pros

  • Beautiful artwork
  • Everything a fan would love
  • Got to mark “Make Dragon Tales joke” off my bucket list

Cons

  • Controls not updated for change of system
  • Story could be dry at times
  • It’s Mahjong

Final Grade: C+

This review was conducted on a downloadable review copy of the game for the PlayStation 3 provided by Creat Studios.

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