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Alphabet Robots Mahjong (iOs) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: iOs
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Final Score
7.0
7/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We liked?


Tons of gameplay, great look.

Not so much?


Not much in the way of variety.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Alphabet Robots Mahjong is an absolutely adorable little game that offers a heck of a lot of gameplay for a pretty low price. There are a lot of things that could have been done to make this game a lot better than it is, but it is still a very solid choice for gamers who love a great aesthetic on a classic puzzle game.

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Posted December 10, 2012 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Now you can match tiles and learn your alphabet…..at the same time!

Alphabet Robots Mahjong is a new game from EnsenaSoft that seeks to bring new life to a classic puzzle game. For those who have never played it, mahjong is a tile matching game based on a Chinese game that uses the same tiles. Basically, many different tiles are stacked up in a variety of patterns. You must match two like tiles together to make them disappear, with the ultimate goal being to eliminate every tile on the board. This process is complicated by the fact that many tiles are stacked on top of each other, and you may only match tiles that have either the left, right, or both sides open. It is a fun and rather addicting solitaire game that has many different iterations on mobile platforms. So what does Alphabet Robots Mahjong have to offer over the other mahjong games out there?

As you may have guessed from the title, EnsenaSoft’s main claim to originality is in the form of robots and the alphabet. If it seems like an odd combination, that’s probably because it kind of is. But as a look, the colorful and friendly looking robots really do end up fitting in well with the alphabet themed tiles. Most of the tiles have a letter of the alphabet on them, with the exception being a few tiles with pyramids or cubes on them. When you match one letter to another of the same, the robots call out the name of the letter. While the game of mahjong is itself probably too difficult for kids just learning the alphabet to benefit from this feature, the game description lists it as being a plus for those learning English as a second language. I can see that as being true, but for those just playing for a love of mahjong, it can get a lit annoying after a while, just because of the sheer repetitiveness of it.

The robots in Alphabet Robots Mahjong are very cute and colorful, and the backgrounds of the levels are suitably drawn to match the style. Again, though, the game suffers a bit from sheer repetitiveness. There are four levels in the game, each with 42 different stages to play, which makes for a great value. However, the stages themselves all look very similar, and play very similar, and it made me wish for a bit more variety, either in the look of the stages, choices for different tile sets, or both.

The tiles themselves, with their alphabet theme, makes it very easy to distinguish between different tiles, and that is a big plus in a matching game. Unfortunately, if you are playing on an iPhone or iPod Touch, knowing which tiles go together doesn’t always mean you’ll make the match. In many of the levels, the tiles are so tiny that you end up selecting the wrong one as often as not. You can get around this somewhat by using a stylus, but that cuts down a bit on the convenience of gaming on the go. I don’t see this as being as great of a problem if you are playing on an iPad though, so that should be kept in mind.

Alphabet Robots Mahjong has a lot of features to make you feel some urgency in the game. There is a bar across the top of the screen that slowly burns down the longer you go without making a match. However, no matter how far down it burns, it will go all the way back to full if you make a single match. In fact, I even let it burn all the way down just to see what would happen, and nothing did. Talk about anticlimactic. It just seems rather pointless to have a timer when there isn’t any downside to running out of time.

There is also a three star rating system at the end of each stage, obviously with the goal of getting all three stars each time. The game never does tell you how the stars are earned – finishing in a certain time, not using shuffle, etc. all crossed my mind as possibilities, but no matter what I did, I ended up getting three stars at the end of each and every stage, even the one where I let the time completely run out. Again, it seems like there would be a lot more challenge to the game if you actually could get less than three stars, and had to earn the perfect score.

Alphabet Robots Mahjong is an absolutely adorable little game that offers a heck of a lot of gameplay for a pretty low price. There are a lot of things that could have been done to make this game a lot better than it is, but it is still a very solid choice for gamers who love a great aesthetic on a classic puzzle game.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)