Thursday, November 1

Review: 1001 Ultimate Mahjong [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Having seen a variety of popular casual touchscreen games now, from hidden objects to Match-3s to even Solitaire, I was curious why we didn’t have a Mahjong title yet. After a small wait, sure enough, we now have 1001 Ultimate Mahjong on the Switch. While it may not be the type of game that gets everyone excited I’ll admit that its quality actually took me a bit by surprise.


If you’re not familiar with Mahjong there thankfully isn’t much to know. A load of tiles will be arranged on top of each other to form a layered pattern and your goal is to slowly eliminate all of the pieces by finding pairs. There are a number of rules that are involved in determining which tiles can be used but thankfully one terrific feature of the game is that it highlights all tiles you can work with. It’s a small thing but when the game isn’t terribly complicated it’s a convenience that’s appreciated and keeps you playing pretty easily. Ran out of moves? While you could opt to start over you can easily just reshuffle the remaining tiles for a small time penalty and keep moving. This isn’t about competition so much as satisfaction.


The other major differentiator of the game from other Mahjong titles I’ve played is the variety in its tile sets and backgrounds. Tired of the more traditionally-styled tiles? How about playing with little character faces with a variety of hats? That doesn’t do it for you? Maybe you’d like to use tiles based on the elements of the periodic table. Throw in backgrounds that range from colors to landscapes to even a bunch of gummy worms and surely you should be able to find something you like.


If you haven’t been eager to play Mahjong on the Switch, I doubt a review that has positive things to say about it will likely change your mind (though that would beg the question of why you’re reading it). However, if you enjoy well-made casual gaming 1001 Ultimate Mahjong is a surprisingly strong choice. With its variety of looks and thoughtful features it may be the best title of its kind I’ve played, and I do enjoy a good game of Mahjong once in a while.


Score: 8

Pros:
  • Looks great visually and features a nice variety of tile sets and backgrounds
  • Small touches and thoughtful features that make games go quickly and casually are appreciated
  • Works reasonably well with a controller but is quicker and easier with the touchscreen

Cons:
  • At the end of the day if you’re not down for Mahjong there’s no reason to get it, obviously