hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Mahjong Cub3d

Review: Mahjong Cub3d

7:30 PM on 10.20.2011 // Dale North

Wait! Where are you going?

Portable mahjong games aren't going to hold up to all the high profile fall and holiday releases that are coming out, especially with this year's huge line-up. But what if I told you that this particular mahjong game was in 3D, and that it turned the classic time waster on its head with 3D controls? Still no? Fair enough. Hey, I think it's cool. It may not be your Call of the Battlefield: Revelations, but it's a good time for your 3DS, especially for puzzle game fans.

Mahjong Cub3d (Nintendo 3DS)
Developer: Sunsoft
Publisher: Atlus
Released: October 11, 2011
MSRP: $29.99

Classic mahjong has you matching tiles to remove them from a pile, two by two, with the goal of taking them all down without breaking the age old rules of removal. You've played this before on a phone or on an old Windows PC, I'm sure. In Mahjong Cub3d, you're still matching tiles to remove them from the game board, except this time it's not really a board, but more of a floating shape in 3D space. Yes, it sounds strange, but stick with me here. 

Floating mahjong in 3D sounds like something that wouldn't work, but it really does. It works well enough that my first play session, which I only intended to be a quick introduction, lasted about 2 hours. I ended up taking my 3DS to bed and played until I got sleepy. 

The game slowly eases you into its 3D Cube Mode with some simple puzzles. You'll match tiles, which are now actually little cubes, on or in some basic shapes, like larger cubes and other geometric designs. Like in classic mahjong, you'll pick from any of the available 'free' tiles to match them to other ones. In this mode you're working against a countdown timer, but the basic shapes of the mode's alpha stages are pretty easy. They're easy enough that they'll let you get used to rotating and manipulating the shapes. You'll turn these shapes in any direction by holding down either the L or R button and pushing a direction on the circle pad, while the d-pad lets you zoom in and out. Tile selection is done with the circle pad and it works surprisingly well. I assumed that trying to select a little tile among a bunch of others in 3D would be troublesome, but somehow they made it work.

When you get good at the alpha level of puzzles, beta steps it up a bit, and then it gets nuts with complexity from there. Worry not, as the game slowly eases you into it by gradually increasing the difficulty with each puzzle. As you complete puzzles you'll unlock additional ones. I've been playing Mahjong Cub3d almost non-stop since I received a review copy, but it feels like I'm nowhere near seeing all of the available puzzles. 

In classic mahjong, if a tile is buried under another, you cannot remove it. This rule is still in play in Mahjong Cub3d's Cube Mode, but being able to freely rotate the game's board in any direction forces you to think a bit harder about what tiles to remove. You'll also have to rotate the game board to see its undersides, sometimes even down inside a shape, to see the tile types. You'll have to keep your eyes open and stay alert so that you can match tiles from all angles. The 3D doesn't make for a hard game, mind you. It just increases the challenge so that it never becomes mindless. They literally took this time-wasting standard to the next dimension.

There is a classic, non-3D mahjong mode included, but it's not very good. The main problem lies with the tile selection method, which is done with the analog pad. I was driven to near insanity in less than five minutes trying to select the little tiles in this mode, and the zoom in/out controls do not help at all. Worse, the angle that the board is presented at is tilted back just enough to be fully frustrating; good luck trying to see some of the lower level back tiles behind a large pile. The final kick in the eye is the too-large countdown timer, which moves so fast that it makes you nervous and unable to concentrate. I truly hope that gamers try the perfectly fine 3D mode before trying this standard version, as it seems tacked on and rough. 

My only other gripe is on the music. It's bad. Like, volume switch to minimum at all times bad. Distracting and regular bleeps and cymbal crashes are not a great idea for a game that requires concentration.

I can't give you much more here: Mahjong Cub3d is simply mahjong in fully rotatable 3D. I can tell you that it's easy to get into and control, and that it seems to have this gravitational pull on me as a puzzle game fan. I've always liked mahjong, and this 3D twist on the classic formula makes it even more enjoyable and challenging.



Mahjong Cub3d - Reviewed by Dale North
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DaleNorth Tips
I am Destructoid's Editor-In-Chief. I love corgis. I make music. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
A Nintendo rep gave this to me today because she likes talking to me. I do have lots of the Old AC eReader cards I guess I could put in it... [img][/img]
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I'm still trying to figure out how to do it, but for the most part I like what I've seen of the new blog editor. My first blog post using it should go up tomorrow.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
The demon threat is real.[img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Daily VGM #20 (Bonus) - Valak Mountain Night (Xenoblade Chronicles) [youtube][/youtube] This theme perfectly captures the essence of Valak Mountain. It feel serene and calm, as well as mountain-esque (lol).
Lawman avatarLawman
What does one do when MGS V has lost its luster and Persona 4: DAN is growing stale? Listen to Queens of the Stone Age, of course. And wonder; is Steins;Gate worth the asking price? I want it, but not sure if I $30 - $40 want it...
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Been trying to get Tales Of Phantasia finished before Zestiria comes out... How i'm going to get through that game I have no clue... especially when Exist Archive comes out in December and I have to play that too... also i've still yet to finish Grandia 2
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
Been in a bit of a rut this week and as such haven't really been satisfied with any of my games. Therefore, I'm going to start Destiny again on my new PS+ account. Any tips given the amount of updates it's had?
Bardley avatarBardley
Bought a used knockoff game console called the Power Kracker 2013, which claimed to have 76,000 games. The AC adapter was missing and someone had crammed an off-brand GameCube controller inside the box. I don't know what I expected.
Firuzi Gafrindashvili avatarFiruzi Gafrindashvili
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I actually love the quests in Novigrad where you write a play. It's a fun and lighthearted break from the tragedy of Baron and horror of Velen and the Crones.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I preordered Tales of Zestria and Disgaea 5 because they were £10 cheaper that way, WHO WANTS TO FIGHT ME HUH?
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Man, plague of shadows is gooood. It really fleshes out plague knight and the world by extension, and it has some fun story stuff. Plus plague knight plays differently enough to shovel knight to make whats old feel new again. Deep customization too.
nanashi avatarnanashi
You will be missed. 2001 - 2015 ATHF RIP. ... oh and uh, GET OUT OF MY FREAKING POOL!!
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Freezing my ass off at a Penn State football game. Half of the hicks at this stadium probably didn't graduate high school, yet they're rooting for a college football team. I wish I was on my warm den playing MGS V.
AvtrSpirit avatarAvtrSpirit
Gosh darn it, she's done it again! That Sapphire's a talented minx. [youtube][/youtube]
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Is renting games still a thing in America? I know there's only one UK company still doing rentals. And does it make you less tolerant of games? I definitely gave games less of a chance when I knew I could sling them back in the envelope and get a new one.
Termadoyle avatarTermadoyle
Probably the most awesome soundtrack in an indie game. And the game isn't so bad either. win/win situation tbqh.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
"I musta dreamed a thousand dreams, been haunted by a millioon screaams, but I can hear the marching of feet, moving into the streeet!!!" Gosh dang this song is stuck in my head something fierce. Plus, puppets!
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
PSA: Today is the last day you can submit characters for the Smash Bros. ballot. Help us nominate Bayonetta! [img][/img]
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Mahjong Cub3d

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -