G5 Entertainment’s comes with its newest free-to-play title Mahjong Journey, an oriental spin on the well known Mahjong Solitaire series. Released for the iPad the game looked great to check out but can it honestly deliver a fresh twist of gameplay to the much tried and applied puzzle formula?

A story driven Mahjong Journey

When starting up Mahjong Journey the rather mystique and eastern atmosphere is there to greet you right of the bat. A gorgeously designed, almost paint-like background of green trees and epic walls blends together with soothing music, almost giving the game a meditative quality. Mahjong Journey knows how to innovate which becomes clear right at the start when crisp characters open up a dialogue. It seems you take part in the game as a young girl in search of her lost parents.

Together with her grandfather, who also happens to be your guidance for instructions of the game, it seems the perfect way for them to search is by flipping tiles Mahjong-style! For those unfamiliar, the basic premise of the game is matching up tiles that look the same. These colorful tiles come in all sorts of kinds and are stacked upon each other in all sorts of ways, making some of them unavailable to be flipped until other tiles are cleared out of the way.

The fun thing about Mahjong Journey is that not every level has the same requirement for completion. In some levels you work your way through the puzzles as a way to accumulate points which in others you try to clear the level in a certain amount of time.There’s not always the need to clear all the tiles as there’s two golden tiles hidden in every level which make you win the level when matched, giving a new fun and challenging aspect to the otherwise generic puzzling formula.

Spicing up the Mahjong Journey

There’s much more than that to Mahjong Journey, however. There are challenges that can be unlocked, the level design and scenery changes along with your progress and in every level there are three stars to be gained in every level making perfectionists turn back to older levels for another experience.

Boosters can be used in levels to give players a helping hand, for instance firecrackers that help clear out a few pairs of tiles or an all seeing eye that shows you which tiles can be matched. Players acquire a few of these for free at the beginning of the game but they are burned through quite fast. More of these come in handy particularly later in the game but it’ll cost you. Boosters can be bought with diamonds which are the in-game currency and quite frankly they cost a little much. A dollar will get you 32 of these diamonds while one booster costs around 20 diamonds respectively.

Our verdict on Mahjong Journey

Mahjong Journey is a beautifully designed game which tries its best in every aspect to give the player a dynamic and fun puzzling adventure. The game manages to sooth the player but stimulates simultaneously by a rather high difficulty rate that is fired up early in the game. Certain boosters almost become a necessity if you don’t want to get frustrated every set of levels or want to achieve the perfect three stars in every level but the more hardcore puzzlers will manage anyhow. I’ve had a lot of fun with the challenging and diverse Mahjong Journey and players should stay tuned because a leader board with high-scores is on its way.

Mahjong Journey is available on iOS and requires iOS 6.0 or later and is also compatible with iPad.