Today’s post is about the one I decided to start with: Moeru Mahjong Moe-Jong. I picked it up from PSN several years ago for super cheap, and looking back at the post I made at the time I see that I wondered if maybe there wasn’t a reason for that.
Turns out, there was! It’s kinda painful!
To give it due credit, the mahjong is pretty good. It’s a very rare example of a proper four player game, with multiple rounds played and the winner determined by score after all rounds are finished or when someone goes below 0 score, which means that strategy is a little different from the 2-player arcade-style games I’ve been playing recently.
For example, in the 2-player games, you almost always want to go for a win, even if you have a lousy tanyao or yakuhai hand that will only net you 1000-1300 points. In a four player game, it can sometimes be better to stay at tempai and pray that at least two other players are in noten, getting you more net points and widening the gap between yourself and everyone else on the board. This is a really difficult mental leap for me, but I’ve had a fair bit of luck with it.
While the mahjong is good, it’s wrapped up in a trope-laden story about a maid cafe employee of the tea-spilling and plate-breaking variety, who keeps angering customers and being challenged to mahjong, and the game features some of the worst voice acting I’ve heard in any language. It features a bevy of idols from AKB48, so you would expect a certain level of, I dunno, polish? and what you get instead is this terrible monotone delivery where you wonder whether they were allowed multiple takes or whether they just went with the first one.
I haven’t finished it yet, so maybe it will improve. There also appear to be a few other modes, so maybe you can ignore the story mode if you want.
There’s always hope.
Follow-up: No, it’s just awful. The voice acting never improves, and the last opponent is possibly the most blatant cheat imaginable – literally, in a game where the mahjong is almost completely played straight up until her, she has the ability to manipulate the dora on what seems like a whim, so almost every one of her wins is a mangan or yakuman. There are 15 challengers, and I spent longer trying to beat the last challenger than all of the ones before her. This might have made sense in an arcade port, where it’s designed to suck Y100 coins out of the player, but it’s unforgivable for a game where you can spend every hand of a match ahead and have the computer decide that it’s going to pull an impossibly-high-scoring hand out of thin air and jump from fourth place to first at the last possible second.