Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Android game Random Mahjong offers high-quality puzzling

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Random Mahjong puts an adult, puzzling twist on your favorite childhood matching games.

To play, pair the identical domino-like flat tiles on the screen. These little rectangles have a tranquil, Eastern world theme and feature circle patterns, bamboo, Asian characters and flowers. Before I really got playing, I found that I had to give my eyes a moment to adjust because a lot of the character and symbols look alike.

The more challenging, puzzle element in all this, though, is that these tiles cannot have another rectangle covering it up or cannot have its right or left edge blocked-in by any other tile. Because there are a limited number pairs, you have to think ahead about which tiny rectangles you're going to pair up if you want to complete the puzzle.

Random Mahjong's menu screen is pretty plain and simple, which meant I was really surprised when I experienced the actual gameplay. The graphics in this 3D game are very sharp and realistic. The board brings out the textures of the on-screen domino tiles, creating an illusion that almost looks like they're real, physical pieces on the table in front of you.

Staying with the overall Zen tone of the game, Random Mahjong uses Oriental harp sounds in the background and pings of a piano key ring out when you make a match. The high resounding tone may be irritating to the people around you, but I found the effect to add to the overall satisfaction I felt for advancing in the game.

This is a high quality, free game with tons of different levels. It's challenging from the get-go and never lets up, which means it'll keep you busy for a long while. It's a definite must-have download for anyone who enjoys puzzler-like games.