by Amanda Nettgen
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Cafe Mahjongg is the classic and popular tile game, Mahjongg, on espresso. It’ll make you feel like you are relaxing at a coffee shop as you play through the levels.
What’s it about?
Café Mahjongg has two modes: House Blend and Espresso. House Blend is the career option for Café Mahjongg, while Espresso is a bunch of random Mahjongg layouts with no quest. Several baristas can host profiles with the PC game, and a high score screen is available at start up for competing servers.
If you choose House Blend as your cup of joe, you’ll find yourself in a kind of virtual Starbucks with a chalkboard of different drinks (all of which are categories of levels). A way-too-caffeinated Katie will provide you with some background info for each of the beverages (you can also shut her up by going to Options).
You start on White Chocolate Mocha (my real-life fave!) and play eight different Mahjongg levels with coffee-themed tiles and beautiful café-inspired backgrounds. You can change what the tiles look like at any time by going to Options (traditional, playing card, holiday, and kid styled Mahjongg tiles are available). Once you’ve played all eight levels in an area, you’ll fill up your Subway-esque appreciation card and move on to the next drink.
Don’t know how to play Mahjongg? While the game provides no visual tutorials (only a few lengthy help pages at start up), it’s a (coffee) cake walk.
Click to match twin tiles that are both accessible (not surrounded); work to clear the entire shape. Usable tiles are lit up, but you can make it harder by turning off this feature in Options. Coffee sounds will stimulate you every step of the way.
There are two holding spots with the PC game, good for uncovering moves below the top layers. An automatic clicking system is in place that will match holding tiles to those that get uncovered with just one click. Sometimes you will get stuck and have to shuffle the remaining tiles, which drains some points. Using the Undo button or a Hint also loses points (harsh!).
Your past and present scores, amount of available matches, and best time (if you care) are displayed.
Want Cafe Mahjong FREE and LEGAL? Click here, open a trial GameHouse Fun Tickets account and it’s yours to keep forever for ZERO CASH! Click for more info.
With the Espresso choice, you get a whopping 33 pages of shaped layouts like shades, a bug, and rain to engage as Quick Play. You can even design your own Mahjongg layouts and import a picture for its background – very cool.
Pros and cons
Lighthearted lovers of the card game will definitely dig Café Mahjongg. It’s good for visual recognition like in brain age games. I’d say the ability to make your own boards is the best feature of this game (make ‘em for your family!).
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The downside of Café Mahjongg is that while it is a beautiful game, the concept of Mahjongg in general will be too simple for some. Matching two symbol tiles is more Memory than mind-blowing.
Also, I’m not a Mahjongg person, and I found this version extremely easy. You can’t select a difficulty, you just start getting more tiles. I’d say losing points due to mandatory shuffling is the hardest aspect of this game. Some matches – like a poinsettia and Christmas tree – are a little unclear.
Cafe Mahjongg caters mostly to fans of its genre. New Mahjongg addicts will eat it up, while many others will be left feeling run down in a way this coffee game can’t cure.
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