Game Reviews

Mahjongg Artifacts 2

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Mahjongg Artifacts 2

Like bell bottom jeans and over-sized sunglasses, the age-old match-two game mahjong makes a stylish comeback in Mahjongg Artifacts 2. At a time when the match-three hype has died down, this ancient game energises the genre with loads of fun puzzles.

Classic mode presents a whopping 99 mahjong solitaire layouts, along with an Endless mode that tests how long you can last with a never-ending supply of tiles.

The main attraction is Quest mode that takes you on a globe-trotting graphic adventure in search of enigmatic artifacts. Clearing each mahjong layout nets you an artifact and opens a new scene that drives the story forward.

While the story itself is haphazard at best, it's a cute way of stringing together the puzzles. The gameplay remains faithful to the basic rules of mahjong solitaire with a few unique abilities thrown in.

An eye icon can be tapped to highlight tiles in play, making it easier to find matches. Green pearls awarded for successful matches can be spent on a shuffle of the tiles, undoing your last match, or even marking possible combinations on the board.

These added abilities make Mahjongg Artifacts 2 more accessible than competing titles without diluting the game's difficulty. You still have to worry about clearing certain titles so as to avoid getting stuck. Plus, unlocking some artifacts requires working to clear tiles quickly and without spending pearls on shuffles, redos, and hints.

Camera shortcomings may have you trading in your stunner shades for a pair of reading glasses, though. Multi-touch is overlooked in favour of two levels of zoom. Tapping a wooden idol situated in the lower-left switches between a screen-wide view and close up perspective of the board. The latter unfortunately zooms in too close, forcing you to stick to the default pulled back view.

Since tiles intentionally look similar to ensure that making matches is a challenge, scouting out pairs can be a real pain when pulled all the way back. Conversely, zooming in means more time spent scouring the screen because you'll pulled in so close that you constantly have to move the camera to view new tiles.

You can hold your finger on any part of the screen to bring up a magnifying circle, though dynamic multi-touch scaling would be preferable.

A nimbler camera along with the ability to post high scores online would help make Mahjongg Artifacts 2 more than just a blast from the puzzle playing past. Nonetheless, it's a worthwhile comeback packed with enough gameplay to keep you entertained long after those pair of gigantic sunglasses fall back out of style.

Mahjongg Artifacts 2

Tons of levels and entertaining puzzle play keep Mahjongg Artifacts 2 from being a relic, though it could use better camera controls
Tracy Erickson
Tracy Erickson
Manning our editorial outpost in America, Tracy comes with years of expertise at mashing a keyboard. When he's not out painting the town red, he jets across the home of the brave, covering press events under the Pocket Gamer banner.