Right off the bat, Mahjongg Artifacts strikes me as a bit of a rip off in the same way that paying to play Bejeweled is a rip off. There are a million and a half free versions of Bejeweled clones online, so why would I pay for it? Mahjongg Artifacts is a pay version of mahjongg solitaire, a game that has been available in various forms of Windows since 1990 and on the almighty internet since its humble beginnings whence Al Gore waved his magic wand and created it. If you have ever played it, then you've already played Mahjongg Artifacts. Connect two like tiles of varying symbols until you match them all. That's all she wrote. Artifacts awards points based on how fast and accurate you are, which I find a little counter-intuitive as the control scheme is a little awkward. To say that the cursor doesn't move in any coherent fashion is a bit of an understatement. More than a few times I would push up on the D-pad to move my cursor… up…. only to discover that it would jump down to the bottom on the other side of the screen; or I would push left to move my cursor off the edge and it would come back on the right side of the screen only to find it move one spot in the opposite direction. Something simple as cursor control should not be getting in the way of gameplay.
Mahjongg Artifacts comes with three modes. Story, Endless, and Classic. Story mode offers the obligatory “adventure” storyline told in one page comics between levels that, in order to read, you have to zoom in on each panel and scroll along the page manually. It was just obnoxious enough to make me want to skip the story all together.
Endless mode was easily the most entertaining of the three, pick your favorite tile designs and then its just a never-ending game of solitaire. It's time consuming and fun and it easily took the majority of my time. Classic mode was nice too with its 99 different designs to play. My personal favorites was number 75, where the titles spell out “Gaijin” which is Japanese for “foreigner.” I don't really get why it's designed like that, I just thought it was kind of funny. Number 99 was pretty ok too, as it was just that, the number 99.
Anyways, if you've ever played mahjongg solitaire then you've already played Mahjongg Artifacts. If you like spending money on games you could get for free, go ahead and buy it for the portability, it's definitely not the worst game out there and it is a really good time waster. Just don't expect more than what it really is.