THE REVIEWS Episode 60: Mahjong Soul
Mahjong is an addictive gambling game
What I said on the subtitle is true…well, at least, kinda to me. I’ve seen my friends play mahjong during special occasions like Chinese New Year. From what I’ve seen in their social medias, they tend to either win lots of money or lose lots of em. This high-stakes game will potentially cause you to rack up debts you’ve never seen before ever, especially if you have either bad luck or skills. That is, if you have NEVER ever gambled a lot or get in contact with loansharks.
So, what is mahjong, you ask? It’s a tile-based game that originated from China in the mid to late 1800s. It is played usually by four players as they sit around a table and start throwing out tiles, forming combinations, and essentially praying for the last tile they need. In a set of 144 tiles, each player starts with 13. They have to throw one out each turn after drawing a new one until they form four combinations and a duo. There’s a lot of combinations you can pick.
When I first heard of mahjong, I thought of it as a complicated game. After all, you need to know what forms a combination, when to use it, and how to use it. Mahjong requires skill, strategy, and most importantly, LUCK. Yes, L U C K. You can have four sets of triplets and you just need another duplicate tile for the duo and to win, but someone could just draw a tile they exactly needed to win the game, and BOOM your minutes and hours of planning goes down the drain. Even worse, if you’re playing with money, oh boy there goes that. It’s gone from your hands, and it can happen to you multiple times consecutively. L U C K. Very fun game, am I right? Sounds like GAMBLING to me.
There’s multiple versions of mahjong worldwide, and tournaments are being held regularly. Although there are different ways and methods to win in those, basic common rules still apply to every game of mahjong. That’s it for the basics of mahjong. Why am I telling you this?
You see, the third anime season of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War had recently started airing. I love this series. The characters, the music, and story are all great. Even the comedy is on point. I’ve read the manga too, and it was one hell of a ride. I enjoyed it too.
So, when I saw that the anime is doing a collaboration with a game named Mahjong Soul, I was like ‘Damn, I should play it!’ It has three of my favorite girls in it: Ai Hayasaka, Kaguya Shinomiya, and Kei Shirogane. There’s also Miyuki too, although I’m not too keen on getting him. Even though I had never played mahjong before, and had no prior knowledge of it, I went ahead to download the game. I decided I’m going to learnt how to play it just so I can get the characters.
Turns out, Mahjong Soul is a mahjong-anime game developed by Yostar. It kinda surprised me, because that is the same company that made Azur Lane, and I love that game a lot. There’s a lot of cute anime girls in it too, and great voice actresses are in this. I thought that Mahjong Soul would be fun too, just like Azur Lane. Man, was I wrong.
I did manage to learnt the basics of mahjong from this game, and so I start my very first ranked game. Here’s the very first problem. Matchmaking. My god, even when I’m at the lowest of the lowest in ranks, I still can get matched with a professional holy moly player, and that player can just slap my ass cheeks left and right, making me lose. If you don’t understand what my gripe is, let me explain.
Usually in games with a ranking system, the lowest rank means the players with less or no skills. That might not always be the case, but it’s like ninety percent of the time. Mobile Legends. I know that might not be a good example, but that’s the first one that came to my mind. When you’re in the Warrior rank, you mostly face opponents that are…not so skilled in what they’re doing. Hence, you’ll rank up easily. With this, not only do you have more experience on the map and the characters you are playing or dealing with, but you’ll have a desire to rank up even more because the rewards are much better. You will think that you could do face stronger enemies, and that gives the push and motivation.
Not in this pile of steaming shit though. This game just matches you with whoever they want to give you, and they can be just experts for all you know. It happens ninety percent of the time. I only win like a small amount of points, not even enough to reach the next bronze rank, but I lose like a million points because the experts in that game know what combinations gain the highest points. What’s worse is that you can lose copper, the currency you use to buy a limited amount of things and is the ONLY FREE CURRENCY IN THIS GOD FORBIDDEN ASS TWAT. The more points you lose, the more copper you lose. Nice motivation, you assholes.
This game is a luck-based game. Of course, we all know mahjong is a luck-based game, but Mahjong Soul is a different breed of luck-based. In real time mahjong, where you sit down face-to-face with three other humans in real life, when you draw a tile from the middle, it is completely up to fate to decide what you get. However, in Mahjong Soul, you draw a tile completely by pure LUCK. It’s up to the game whether they want to give you or the other players the winning tile. It never goes to me most of the time, even when there is an abundance of the winning tiles I need. The other players somehow manage to get theirs, and they win the match. Real funny.
I’m convinced this game hates me too. Every time I’m in first place, the match just goes on, and on, and on until I become third or fourth. For example, a normal match would always last four rounds. However, when I have the most points, the match just seem to add more rounds. Then, what happens next is that I start losing. Remember what I said about other players getting the tiles they need? Yeah, that magically starts coming up more. Afterwards, when I lose a lot of points and end up in last, the match magically and suddenly ends, and I lose my rank PLUS my copper. WOW, WHAT A NICE GAME. FOR WHAT? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW, ASK THE GAME! BETTER YET, ASK THE DEVELOPERS WHO MADE THIS CONTRAPTION!
It’s also that feeling where you think you can actually win, especially in ranked matches. You lost the last game, and you think maybe you can try again and win this one because maybe you’re feeling lucky or you finally got the hang of it. No, you’re still unlucky because it’s the GAME who decides if you can win, and no, you’ll never get the hang of it.
Lastly, the aesthetics. This one just tilts me so hard. I often notice other players have different characters other than the two given at the start, like some wheelchair girl or a collaboration character from another anime. Do you know how to get those new characters? The gacha. Do you know how to get the gacha currency? Take a guess. I’m sure you’ll figure it out when you consider what kind of game this is.
It’s completely paid.
You can never gain the gacha currency through any game mode or any F2P way. You HAVE to BUY the currency with REAL MONEY. I mean, it’s purely aesthetics, but when I joined this game for Hayasaka, I was disappointed to see it behind a literal paywall. There are summoning tickets, but a solo pull usually don’t give you anything. Doing a multi pull (10 summons) costs 1800 rings, which is the gacha currency. Think that’s a little amount? Guess how much 1800 rings cost.
Wow, this game is so nice. 50 bucks for a 10 summon pull, surely there must be something good about it, right? No. A multi summon does not guarantee a character. You could get 10 summons of fucking nothing but bond stuff and decorations for the cards/tablecloth/Riichii animation you have already gotten. Such a wonderful game. Do you want to know what’s even worse?
When you do a multi-summon, you get 10 points. These points are used to claim a decoration or character that you want. It can be good for limited-time ones. How many points do you think is needed to switch for a character? Take a fucking good guess. You know what, don’t guess. I’ll just tell you honestly.
A hundred and fifty points. A. HUNDRED. AND. FIFTY. POINTS.
What are these developers? Psychopaths? Are they in need of money this much they resort to doing this? Do you know how much this cost if you wanna spark for a character?
IT’S A WHOOPING SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS! These developers and team members are crazy. They really need some money, or not they and their family would be hunger’s next contenders. They really tried to be Azur Lane so much, but they just can’t.
If you’re an unlucky person, and you don’t get the character you want, you’re really fucked. Like seriously, you’re getting shitted on the ass. If you decide to stop spending, you will never get the limited-time character you have been wanting to get (that’s me with Hayasaka). But if you really want it, you have to spend three quarter of a THOUSAND US DOLLARS just for a character you want! I know you don’t really have to get the characters because they’re just there for show. It doesn’t affect the gameplay, I get it. Nonetheless, this is really promoting the spirit of mahjong and gambling. You could potentially get into a fucking debt with this. Jesus.
Also, when you spend money on this game, you get titles according to how much you spent and how much of the VIP meter you fill up. You can equip this title on your profile, and it’ll show up in match too. This though doesn’t change your luck, so if you lose, you can imagine yourself getting mocked on by the other players because of the title. They can just laugh at you and say ‘Look, I won a guy who cashed in on the game. Pfft, loser’.
Overall, this game is horrible to the core, and I hate it. It’s a completely luck-based game. You can pray to the gods in your temples all day, but you might still lose badly. People on the Discord server have been telling me ‘it’s not just about luck, it’s about skills too’ when I lose consecutively. Lemme be frank; shut up and stop bullshitting around. I’ve tried numerous strategies, numerous combinations, and chii’ing or pon’ing, but I’m always missing the last tile I need, either from drawing or from people discarding. It’s like they can see what tile I actually need.
That, or any of the three other players gets the tile they need, and they win huge amount of points while I suffer because they got the tile from me discarding it or they somehow get it from drawing it. Yet again, somehow I can place the worst tiles possible but others can’t.
Among the 55 games I’ve played, I’ve won first only five times. FIVE FUCKING TIMES. More than HALF THE GODDAMN TIME I WAS ON THE LOSING SIDE (third and fourth place). I have a better chance doing a handstand while I juggle tennis balls with my feet than to get first place. I have more hope in doing an exam paper blindfolded and scoring a distinction grade for it. Even getting a royal flush in poker two times in a row would be easier than winning this game. To this team of developers working and who worked on this game, I genuinely hope this game dies down. Fuck Mahjong Soul. It literally consumed my soul, and boy am I glad I quit this asinine heap of dung.
Now, if you excuse me, I’ll be playing a way better game from the same company.