We have loved mahjong--or the popular computer version of it, which is really mahjong solitaire--ever since we first encountered it in our middle school computer lab. True mahjong is a multiplayer table game and bears little resemblance to the computer game that most Westerners know, which involves matching mahjong-style tiles with one another in order to clear the board. Mahjong In Poculis is the latter. If you're looking for traditional mahjong, this isn't it, but if you're a lover of mahjong solitaire, be prepared to spend a big chunk of your time with this addictive game.
The game's home screen lets you select your language, add players, and choose a difficulty level (child, standard, or expert). There are six themes to choose from--Asian, Halloween, neutral, wonderland, Easter, and Christmas--and each theme contains numerous different tile setups that reflect the theme. You must complete the first game in order to move on to the next one, with award medals along the way. The program's graphics are quite attractive, with options for 2D and 3D rendering, and each theme contains matching music that has its own volume control. A built-in Help file gives new users an overview of how the game is played, and a really detailed scoring interface gives serious players plenty of stats about their performance. We do wish that Mahjong In Poculis let you save games that are in progress, but this is a relatively minor complaint. Overall, this is the best digital version of mahjong that we've encountered, and we recommend it.
Mahjong In Poculis installs a desktop icon without asking and leaves a folder behind upon removal.
To play Mahjong Solitaire, you have to select pairs of tiles having identical symbols to make them disappear. The main difficulty comes from the classical Mahjong Solitaire rules: only layout's border tiles are candidates for selection. The game is won when there is no tile left on the board. The main key words are: discipline, strategy and of course a little bit of luck. There is a 5 step in-game tutorial that quickly reminds you the game rules. Whatever your playing mode, you can challenge your best time or your best score. For scores, you can make Combos, i.e: a specific sequence of pairs giving you more points. Best scores come from this kind of sequence: a pair of 1 followed with a pair of 2, a pair of 3 and so on until a pair of 9. Such a sequence gives you more than 177 000 points if the tiles come from the same family.
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