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Mah Jong Quest Expeditions (DS) artwork

Mah Jong Quest Expeditions (DS) review


"Iíll be honest; I had it all planned out in my head before the cart was even in the DS. We all already know what Mahjong is, so Iíd joke about having to met a word quota, throw in an obligatory and basic description on how the ancient Chinese tile-matching game worked then be all flippant while I padded the rest of the review out. Mah Jong Quest: Expeditions foils my plan by not being just another tile flipper aided by stylus prodding."



I figured this would be the easiest review Iíd ever write.

Iíll be honest; I had it all planned out in my head before the cart was even in the DS. We all already know what Mahjong is, so Iíd joke about having to meet a word quota, throw in an obligatory and basic description on how the ancient Chinese tile-matching game worked then be all flippant while I padded the rest of the review out. Mah Jong Quest: Expeditions foils my plan by not being just another tile flipper aided by stylus prodding.

I hate them for it. The time saved by half-arseing this review was to be my first day off the site in months.

Expeditions throws a few things in I didnít expect. One of them being a plot played out in Manga form that details the unfortunate situation protagonist, Kwazi, falls into. Here, our pun-themed hero is struck by lightning, splitting him into two distinct (and differently sexed) personalities. More than just a random tale to tell throughout the game, it will be this duality that will drive this unique take of Solitaire Mahjong: hidden beneath the pile of tiles lie white and black play pieces that represent each of Kwaziís halves. To beat the stage, you need to uncover these special tiles from the very bottom of the pile removing matching pairs from the table. Unlike every other game of this ilk youíve ever played, the game isnít completed by clearing the pile of tiles -- in fact, youíll lose prospective points for every pair you remove. The only aim is to pluck the black and white pieces free. Anything left on the board only serves to bloat your bonus.

You can also rack up more points by beating the time limit by a decent margin, but that's not delivering on my promises of unique. So, instead, weíll talk about the bamboo walls hidden beneath the pile of tiles you need to blow up with firecrackers, or the ice tiles you need to melt by chipping away at their perimeters. Balloon tiles fly away serenely if not weighted down and magnetic tiles switch places with their opposites from across the screen. Typhoon tiles decimate the matching pieces of your choosing; bounce tiles will bounce a little red ball on hidden tiles youíre trying to discover while the magic wand will alter a tileís suit and number to fit in better with your plans.

Youíll need to re-bind Kwaziís two halves 64 times before you see off the story mode, but, even then, thereís more Mahjonging to be had. Expeditions boasts an obligatory puzzle section where you can pluck tiles without the chicanery of amoeba-inspired hijinks. Thereís even a Classic mode for all you traditionalists yearning for a simpler time when Mahjong was a battle between one manís plotting and the gods. For what it is, Expeditions has a staggering amount of content and the welcoming foresight to mix up a stagnant genre.

Letís do a quick test: type Mahjong into the search bar. Itís on the top-left corner. Ignore this gameís habit of breaking it into two words, itís just the one. Donít wait to see what Iím going to do next -- go do it.

See the staggering number of results? Not a single one of them is anything like Mah Jong Quest: Expeditions. It stands alone in a very niche genre, doing more than enough to distinguish itself among the throngs.

Rating: 8/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (September 28, 2008)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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