Not too many games teach you about yourself, but this is precisely what Mahjong Fortuna 2 Deluxe sets out to do – this tranquil tile-matching game separates itself from the many other Mahjong titles on the market by giving players personalized information, such as horoscope, birth stone and flower, element, and more.
The end result is a fun, relaxing and even introspective puzzler.
Before we dive into the self-knowledge portion of the game, here’s a recap of how to play the ancient solitaire game of Mahjong (also know as Shanghai): players are presented with a unique layout of face-up tiles, each with designs on them. In Mahjong Fortuna 2 Deluxe, tiles are adorned with graphics such as flowers, statues, gemstones, animals, raindrops and ancient signs. The object of the game is to match pairs, which removes them from the pile; when the four buried "Fortuna" tiles are revealed, players advance to the next level.
Sounds easy, but not all tiles are accessible to the player at first: only the ones on the top and edges of the pile can be used as a pair; matching these frees up the adjoining tiles, and so on and so forth.
In some cases, the tiles do not need to identical but related in some way, such as pairing up two seasons (e.g. winter and spring) or two similar flowerpots. If you run out of moves, players have the option to undo a match, shuffle all the tiles or restart the level.
While there is no timer in the Fortuna or Classic modes, gamers are awarded extra points for chaining matched pairs quickly (you’ll hear a chime, indicating you were fast enough to get the bonus). Problem is, you have to do this within five seconds or else you don’t get the bonus (it should be longer!).
In the Classic game mode, you simply engage in a Mahjong game we all know and love, each level featuring a unique tile layout. But if you want to learn more about yourself while having fun at the same time, the main Fortuna mode is for you. Before you begin to play, choose the day, month and year you were born and it begins with some information about your astrological sign. Then you get to play Mahjong beginning with the season you were born (with unique background art reflecting the season); the goal is to complete the entire season and then try to successfully play through the entire year.
The more you play, the more info is revealed about you. For example, after a few levels you’ll be advised there is info about the element that corresponds with your birth date and what it means, which you can read at any time. After that you will unlock birth stone and birth flower information, and finally, your own Celtic Tree of Life info (a central part of early Celtic spirituality).
You’ll also be able to unlock new levels, such as a whole second set of tiles in the Classic mode or the alphabet-shaped tile layouts in the Arcade mode, joining Signs of the Zodiac and other unlockable tile patterns. Along with more unique and interesting tile layouts, the Arcade mode collection is also timer-based. Savvy players can also unlock new background art and tile sets.
Complete the 96 levels in the game and you can also view information about your friends or family who have played Mahjong Fortuna 2 Deluxe – from the main page a padlocked "Friend’s Horoscope" button awaits to be clicked!
Whether or not you’ve played the original game in the series, Mahjong Fortuna 2 Deluxe is a relaxing and informative game that’s easy to pick up but hard to put down. And talk about a dangling carrot – information about you, according to your birth date – so gamers will no doubt enjoy unlocking all this well-researched content.