If you've ever been on a long journey with only a pack of cards to entertain you and your traveling companions, give it five games of 'snap' and you'll probably all start thinking a game of 'I spy' could prove more interesting.
Mr Mahjong 2, a game based on the popular Chinese equivalent of what we westerners refer to as cards, elicits a similar reaction, only much more quickly.
The aim of the game is almost identical to traditional snap. Using a mahjong deck, which is made up of a collection of tiles with corresponding symbols, you have to clear the board by matching identical tiles that have either their right or left border free (i.e. they are not touching any other tiles on at least one side).
For each pair you successfully match, a little more time is added to the clock and if you clear all of the tiles before the clock runs out, you progress to the next stage.
The boards are arranged with several of the tiles stacked on top of one another so new possible pairs are revealed as you match and remove the overlapping tiles.
The layout of each board is themed according to different categories such as weather, food, Chinese astrology and sport, amongst others. As you progress through the categories, the boards get a little trickier but there remains a fundamental problem with the difficulty structure.
Essentially, there's an element of luck involved in ridding the board of all the tiles a pair at a time. Like solitaire, there are occasions when you will get close to completing a board only to realise that there are no more pairs left and you need to start from the beginning. As there is no tactical element involved, it is pure chance whether or not you uncover the pairs in the order that allows you to complete the board.
If the necessity for good luck rubs you up the wrong way, this game is about as much fun as watching beige paint dry on a beige wall. For the less keen of sight, the pieces may also be hard to make out, especially those with Chinese characters on them.
The timer, meanwhile, is a bit redundant as it counts up instead of down, rarely ever penalising you for taking too long. Similarly, seeing as this game is chiefly about luck, the absence of the option of a human competitor to play against makes winning a fairly hollow experience.
Special mention needs to be made of the music. It is not often we target bad sound design in our mobile reviews given the limitations of the platform but Mr Mahjong 2 lays claim to being the most ghastly plinky plunky hellbroth of oriental-tinged garbage you're ever likely to hear.
Ultimately, then, Mr Mahjong 2 has limited appeal and there are better, more satisfying mahjong titles around. If you have the choice between playing this on your mobile or snap with a real deck of cards, you'll be facing a difficult decision, and while Mr Mahjong 2 probably pips snap to the post there really should be more in it.