Hong Kong Style Mahjong is an Android game that offers both new and existing players of Mahjong a fun game to play on their smartphones or tablets. It doesn't follow standard Mahjong rules and instead uses the less common Hong Kong, or Cantonese rules. This makes for a game offers players gameplay similar to the Western card game of Gin Rummy, players will need to spend time collecting sets of tiles of the same set or they can be identical to one another. When playing against the computer, players will need to collect sets in order to gain points against the computer, and there are higher values on offer to gain even more points as well. A nice spin on an Asian classic, let's take a closer look at this new Mahjong game shall we?
Just like other Android games, users will need to download Hong Kong Style Mahjong from the Play Store, and then they can go ahead and launch the game.
I found out the hard way that there's no interactive tutorial for new players that go ahead and start the game, so it's a good idea to take a look at the "Help" option from the main menu, this basically gives players an idea of what Hong Kong Style Mahjong is all about as well how to play the game.
When playing a Mahjong game, it can be a little confusing to see all of the tiles and to make out what each of them mean, but for Westerners like myself, Hong Kong Mahjong can be a little easier. The tiles are all broken up into different suits – just like the four in a deck of cards – and they all look similar to one another in the same suit. The idea is to collect tiles from the same suit.
What's nice about Hong Kong Style Mahjong is that it features high-resolution artwork for all of the tiles, which makes it nice and easy to make them out. When playing the game, it will ask you when a certain tile appears if you want to play your set of similar tiles in order to score a point. To discard the tiles, players can drag the tiles over to the area, rather than having to tap once to pick up and then once more to drop them. This motion is more similar to the way that we would move tiles in real life, for instance.
In the above screenshot, the opponent has discarded a piece that I have three of in my hand, I now have the option to either "Pong" or "Kong" the piece, which would give me a point or two. To me, this was a little confusing at first, but I soon got the hang of it. When a player plays their tiles, they will see a difference in how the tiles are displayed at the bottom, and should they manage to beat the computer, they will be given some results at the end of their game.
When playing Hong Kong Style Mahjong users can easily pick up from where they left off, which is a nice touch because games of Mahjong last for 16 rounds at a time.
Hong Kong Style Mahjong is also a great game to play on Android tablets as well and users that are unfamiliar with the Chinese tile sets can also choose from English tile sets as well
Of course, the longer you play for, the more difficult the levels become, but it's always nice to take a look at the stats at the end of a difficult round to see how well you have done against the computer.
I've tried to play Mahjong games countless times before, but the problem is that I've just never been able to figure out the rules. Sure, it might not be that difficult, but Mahjong was never something I was particularly good at. Now, the Hong Kong style rules for Mahjong however, as they're so similar to Gin Rummy, were something I could get my head around. Hong Kong Style Mahjong doesn't make it easy for those that have never played Mahjong however, as there's no interactive tutorial when first getting started with the app, and it just makes things a little more difficult then it needs to do for new players. Having said that, those with a little patience and that are willing to read can find out all the rules from the "Help" menu. While the high-resolution tiles look great and very lifelike, the overall presentation certainly feels a little dated, and there's a lot of room for improvement here. Still, the gameplay is pretty great and with a little explanation as to what all of the bets and scoring systems are, Hong Kong Style Mahjong would be an accessible game to users all over the world.
- Speed (4/5) – Hong Kong Style Mahjong runs nice and smoothly, and I had no issues with it, the pacing of the game is entirely up to the player and how long they take, which is nice as well.
- Theme (3/5) – The high-resolution tiles look great and there's a lot to like about them, but the overall presentation in the UI needs a lot of work here, and the sounds are a little harsh as well.
- Features (4/5) – For Mahjong fans, this will be a nice twist and an easy mobile game to play. For Western players, this is perhaps the more accessible version of Mahjong and is worth looking into if you've never played the game before.
- Overall (4/5) – A solid and fun Mahjong game that has a lot on offer for players, no matter whether or not they've played the game before or not, Hong Kong Style Mahjong is classic gaming fun.
- Works well on the majority of devices out there, and still manages to make use of the extra screen space on Android tablets.
- Gives Western players that might not have been able to get into normal Mahjong something to get involved in.
- Good game for players of all ages, simple enough for younger players while also deep enough – if the player wants it to be – for those more experienced and expecting more.
- High-quality tiles look very lifelike and realistic.
- Overall UI could do with some more up-to-date visuals, despite the great-looking tiles.
- Interactive tutorial would make it much easier for complete newcomers to Mahjong to understand how to play.
Hong Kong Style Mahjong is a great classic game for Android, and it's one that could very well make Mahjong overall much more enjoyable for players of all ages. It's more appealing to Western players, a little easier to get involved with, and the tiles look great as well. It could do with better instructions to take new players through the ideas and how to play, but other than that this is the most fun I've had playing Mahjong in years.