Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire (PC)

So, from time to time, I like going on Steam to find trash games I may buy and play one day fro shits and giggles. I bought one of those games on a whim recently for fifteen bucks and wasn't bad. In fact, it's quite good. Said game is called Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire, a solo mahjong game that tried hooking in people with the promise of tits. Classy. And by that, I mean it's actually not that dirty. In fact, it's one of the better mahjong games I've played, despite the sleazy selling point.

There is no story to speak of, just five different girls with their own sets of stages. The first and last girls, Rin and Ayame, each have four sets of stages, while Risa, Kanon, and Erina all have three. Each stage has three parts to it, two regular rounds, and a final round where the girl in question is slowly changed into an alternate outfit as you play. So, it's not a strip game so much as a cosplay game, which is a neat idea I'd like to see more of. The game proper is normal mahjong solitaire. A bunch of tiles are laid out in a certain pattern, and you have to match tiles to get them to disappear.

Easy to learn, hard to master. On later stages, where the layouts get ridiculously massive, you have to take into account when you should clear certain pairs. Like any good version of solo mahjong, acting too quickly can screw you over into an unwinnable situation, so you have to try and figure out the best way to deconstruct so you're not stuck with needed tiles under tiles you can't clear. The added challenge here is that all rounds are timed with a bar that ticks down as you play, though clearing tiles can add more meter and give you more time to work. Take too long, and you lose. Go to fast, and you may make a mistake. You have to find a good balance.

This particular game has one hell of a difficulty wall. The first two sets of stages are easy enough, but once you hit Kanon's final stages, things suddenly become complicated. By the time you're trying to finish Ayame's sets, you may have lost your mind. It took me over eleven hours to beat this game, and it's not particularly big. Most of that playtime was on Ayame's sets and Erina's final sets. They're large and expansive, and it's easy to screw yourself over, partly because of the randomized layouts. There are familiar patterns that pop up in easy round, particularly the game's habit of bunching of matching sets in some low parts of the layout that can easily be cleared once you find them, but it's not familiar enough to make it too easy. It takes a good chunk of time to finish these levels, so you need patience. All of this can be ridiculously addictive, as I discovered as I stayed up till about three in the morning the first night I played this, just trying to clear Ayame's first set. I normally hit the hay at ten at the latest. Yeah.

While you can get free apps on phones for these sorts of games (though with the disappearance of the Super Real series, not with the sexy girl motif without massive costs from micro-transactions), Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire definitely has much nicer presentation and a very friendly user interface. That counts for a lot and partly why it's so addictive. It's so easy to replay over and over because everything loads fast and plays quick, with some great music I'd seriously buy in a soundtrack, fun voice acting (and I'm pretty sure I've heard Ayame's VA from a Crimson Comics game), and nice looking backgrounds and character art. There are also little touches here and there, like the little monkey man who scrolls down as a transition for a girl's new outfit during final rounds of sets, and fireworks that go off in succession as you make moves in fast time.

It's surprising how much these little touches add to the game, not to mention how much personality thee aforementioned girls have from just the voice acting and art. The official selling pitch for the game goes further into who these girls are, but you can pick up on almost all of it from just how they're presented in game. It feels much more fleshed out than it should be, and that's hard to pull off, especially in a game as simplistic as this. And yes, if you're wondering, the alternate outfits for the girls are pretty great. My favorites are Erina's school swimsuit and Ayame's cheer-leading outfit. They're not particularly dirty of anything (outside the final outfit always being pretty revealing), they just match well with the personalities of the characters.

All in all, I find this to be a great game to just lose yourself in. For fifteen bucks, it's a solid purchase, especially if you like these sorts of games or want something simple that just sucks you in. Hopefully we get more Solitaire variants in this series, and with more sets. I had a good deal of fun, and I want more.

Also, Ayame is best girl.


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