Pretty Girls Tile Match brings a new twist to the Mahjong solitaire table

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It’s time for a new console port of Zoo Corporation’s extensive Pretty Girls series of casual games, ported and published by eastasiasoft, and this time around we’re being treated to Pretty Girls Tile Match. This is a game that might initially seem to be yet another Mahjong solitaire title, much like the series’ earliest installments, but in actual fact it’s a fair bit different — and well worth a go if you’re looking for a fun chillout game.

Pretty Girls Tile Match is not based on the most common form of Mahjong solitaire, sometimes known as Shanghai solitaire. It’s also not based on the Shisen-Sho variant seen in Pretty Girls Rivers. In fact, its origin point isn’t entirely clear; the closest match seems to be a series of arcade games by Metro known as Toride, which first released in 1993.

Pretty Girls Tile Match

It’s not exactly the same, though. While Toride was a game that saw you attempting to clear out a starting hand of three tiles by drawing “free” tiles from a traditional multi-layer Mahjong solitaire-type arrangement and forming pairs, Pretty Girls Tile Match simply requires you to clear out the entire arrangement, using some rather more lax rules than the standard game. It’s probably closest to Toride’s second sequel Daitoride from 1995, which replaced pair-matching with forming Mahjong melds in your hand — but it’s still not identical.

The basic mechanics of Pretty Girls Tile Match are that any visible tiles that do not have anything stacked on top of them are up for grabs — even if they’re not “free” as in traditional Mahjong solitaire. In other words, while in traditional Mahjong solitaire a tile must be able to slide freely out from the arrangement sideways without disturbing any other tiles, in Pretty Girls Tile Match you can take a tile from the middle of an arrangement, so long as there’s nothing stacked on top of it blocking any part of it.

The aim is to clear the board by making sets of three matching tiles in your hand. Unlike Daitoride, you can’t meld sequences of tiles in Pretty Girls Tile Match; it’s all matching identical symbols to keep things straightforward.

Pretty Girls Tile Match

You can hold up to seven tiles in your hand, and if you fill up your hand you have the option of several “hint” functions to get yourself out of the mess you’re in. The “Shuffle” option shuffles the board; the “Undo” function is self-explanatory; the “Move” function grabs a tile from the board to match with one in your hand, even if your hand is full; and the “Hold” function allows you to place tiles to one side and re-add them to your hand when it’s convenient to do so.

The game offers three difficulty levels, which determines how many of these “hints” you have access to in a game. Surprisingly, even the hard mode allows you to use quite a few of these; it would have been a nice addition to have a mode of play where you had no helpers to rely on, as they can, at times, make things feel a little too easy and low-stakes.

There is a scoring system similar to that seen in the Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire series. Making matches adds to a combo, which can count up to 10, with the score value of a match increasing with each new combo. As you might expect, the higher the combo, the quicker it expires, so for the best scores you’ll need to work quickly and plan your matches sensibly; if playing with controller rather than touchscreen you’ll need to take “travel time” for the cursor into account.

Pretty Girls Tile Match

Speaking of the cursor, Pretty Girls Tile Match feels occasionally like the cursor isn’t quite as accurate as it could be. It makes use of a “pointing panda” design similar to that seen in Pretty Girls Rivers and, while looking more fancy than the simple crosshair seen in earlier games, it sometimes feels like it thinks you’re clicking on different things to what you actually intended. This is probably also partly the fault of the quasi-“3D” tiles, where attempting to pick a tile on the table that is behind a tall stack can sometimes prove troublesome. It’s a minor issue, but can be a little annoying.

Outside of this occasional issue, Pretty Girls Tile Match is a fun, low-pressure game. Even the time limit is much more forgiving than in earlier Pretty Girls games; when it expires, it doesn’t mark the end of your game, but rather simply a randomly chosen tile from the board being added to your hand, then the timer resetting. It’s a game that is genuinely rather relaxing and enjoyable to play, and with 120 puzzles to work your way through — with your progress for each difficulty level tracked independently — it’ll keep you busy for a while, too.

The game is complemented by the Diorama feature that has been seen in the last few Pretty Girls games, whereby you can purchase new outfits and backgrounds using points earned from your progress through the puzzles, and these can then be used to create your own custom scenes using the game’s characters. Sadly, it lacks online leaderboards and even a basic high score saving function, making the scoring system a tad less compelling than it could have been; these are odd omissions considering their inclusion in other Pretty Girls games, and would have really helped the longevity of Pretty Girls Tile Match.

Pretty Girls Tile Match

Flaws aside, Pretty Girls Tile Match is a solid addition to this ever-growing lineup of sexy casual games. As ever, it combines attractive character art (as usual, drawn from Zoo’s back catalogue of erotic visual novels), catchy music and straightforward mechanics to produce something that is simply fun to play, and ideal for those times when you don’t want to bother your brain too much. Plus I expect we’ll see a physical release with bare nip-nips at some point in the not-too-distant future, so look forward to that!

Pretty Girls Tile Match is available now for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. Thanks to eastasiasoft for the review code.

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Pete Davison
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