Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

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Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by wavemotion » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:31 pm

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Game: Pro Mahjong Kiwame or Kiwame Professional Mahjong (I've seen it both ways)
Developer: Athena
Platform: iOS (sized for iPod Touch or iPhone only - while it runs on the iPad, it will run in smaller mode or scaled 2x mode - not the native iPad resolution)
Price: Free for the Trial Version, Normally US$2.99 but price reduced to US$0.99 until March 2012 (as of late September 2012 it was still 0.99)

Kiwame is a long running series of games from Japanese developer Athena. My first Kiwame game was Kiwame-S for the Sega Saturn but I also own Kiwame-D for the Dreamcast and Kiwame-Plus for the PSX. No fewer than 7 versions of Kiwame have been released. To my knowledge, the latest is the iOS offering from 2010 simply called Kiwame Professional Mahjong.

The free version of the game allows you to play all you want but with the following restrictions: East-Only (Tonpuusen) matches and doesn't allow you to configure the ruleset. The rules are mostly your typical Riichi mahjong with the one major exception that they disable Akadora (Red 5s) probably knowing that you would pay US$0.99 to get them back :) I found the price quite reasonable and after months of playing the free version, decided to upgrade.

Let's take a look at the game briefly...

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The game runs really fast even on my older 2nd Generation iTouch device. Some Mahjong programs have been slow to load or don't run without crashing. I've had no problems at all with Kiwame on my older iOS device. I also installed it on my iPad where it runs, obviously, just as fast (but not in native iPad resolution... they don't have an iPad native version currently). The main menu lets you choose between a sort of face-off mode with the various characters in the game and a free-play mode (the one I usually play - the large icon to the right) where you can select the ruleset and play against any of the unlocked characters.


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In the face-off mode, you get to select one of the characters to go up against - it is still a 4p game but your goal (I think) is to knock that person off.


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The game has a good amount of built in help with the rules of Mahjong. A nice touch is showcasing all of the various Yaku scoring-element hands that can be used in the game with illustrations.


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There is the usual game configuration where you can change the table color or tile sets... as well as configure the sound effects and BGM. A nice touch here is that you can configure what your voice sounds like (4 choices at the bottom) when calling PON/CHI/RON/TSUMO, etc. The voices in the game are really well done - not too many of the iOS games I tried gave you a voice option.


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The game tracks a huge pile of statistics which you can review. What hands you called. How many times you opened your hand. Counts of all of the various Yaku you have achieved, etc.


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There are nearly three pages (using a slider bar so there is some overlap in the images above) of options you can configure. You can save your options to one of three slots so different rulesets can be brought in very easily. The last ruleset you used seems to be the default until you change it. I've enabled the Akadora (1/2/1) to my preferred setting. I also went with an East-Only match. However, the images above show what the defaults for the program are.


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In the free-play mode, you can choose any of the unlocked characters or let the game pick them randomly for you. Each character has a different voice and some very minor animations/facial expressions when they win or lose.


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Ah! The main game screen. Tiles are big, bright and easily distinguished. The game runs in landscape mode only which is very comfortable for viewing. Tiles require a double tap (one to lift it, one to toss it) for discarding so you don't make mistakes (even with my big fingers). The music is a little repetitive but you can turn it down or off and the sound effects are quite good. Voices are great when calling for tiles, etc.


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The scoring breakdown is as usual... but no incantations on the various scoring elements (booo!). But quite functional.

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And finally the settling of points. When the points transfer, the winners smile or look happy and the losers pose slumps a bit to show dejection. Nice touch :)

This is a solid Mahjong game for the iOS. Great for offline play while waiting for your cat to be seen by the vet (as I did this week) or riding the bus. If you close the app and re-launch it, it picks up right where it left off so it's perfect for jump-in-jump-out play. This is my current favorite iTouch/iPhone iOS mahjong game (Janryumon Mobile is my favorite for the iPad).

If these mini-reviews are something you would like to see continued, let me know!

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by Barticle » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:23 pm

wavemotion wrote:If these mini-reviews are something you would like to see continued, let me know!
I like 'em, thanks. They give a good summary of a game's features with lots of nice screenshots. I'll look at linking to my games overview thread where appropriate.

This title looks like a decent package for a dollar, or even three!

There's a nice range of rule options there. What values does it permit for bankruptcy award/penalty (トビ賞) and riichi stick cost (リーチ棒)? (both in first column)

I don't recall seeing Haku Pocchi (白ポッチ) in a game before. You should find this adds special white dragons that can be used as a wildcard/joker if drawn after reaching.

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by wavemotion » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:34 pm

Barticle wrote:There's a nice range of rule options there. What values does it permit for bankruptcy award/penalty (トビ賞) and riichi stick cost (リーチ棒)? (both in first column)
For bankruptcy award/penalty: 0-90 in increments of 5 points. 0 is the default. Does this mean that the bankrupt player pays additional points to the winner?
For Riichi Stick Cost: 100, 1000 (default), 5000, 10000

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by Barticle » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:53 pm

wavemotion wrote:For bankruptcy award/penalty: 0-90 in increments of 5 points. 0 is the default. Does this mean that the bankrupt player pays additional points to the winner?
It's an uncommon option, but yes - the bankrupt player pays a penalty (probably to the player that busted them).

Those points would be applied after the final score calculation +45/-23/... etc so those options represents thousands (ouch). Akagi DS has a penalty of 10k for bankruptcy.
For Riichi Stick Cost: 100, 1000 (default), 5000, 10000
Wow, that's quite a range! I thought it might let you pay 2000/3000/4000 pts to reach but I guess it actually uses the four different denominations of scoring sticks.

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by wavemotion » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:55 pm

Barticle wrote:
For Riichi Stick Cost: 100, 1000 (default), 5000, 10000
Wow, that's quite a range! I thought it might let you pay 2000/3000/4000 pts to reach but I guess it actually uses the four different denominations of scoring sticks.
Somewhat (un)interesting is that the default is 1000 but when you cycle up the list, it goes 1000->100->5000->10000 and back around again to 1000.

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by Barticle » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:07 pm

I guess they just wanted to put the default value at the start of the list.

I'd be interested to hear/see how the Haku Pocchi option works whenever you get a chance to try it. Does it give you the option of selecting a tile or does it automatically pick one that maximises your score?

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by wavemotion » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:19 pm

Barticle wrote:I'd be interested to hear/see how the Haku Pocchi option works whenever you get a chance to try it. Does it give you the option of selecting a tile or does it automatically pick one that maximises your score?
I just gave it a quick try but it didn't work as I expected. You can change the Haku Poochi setting from the default of 0 to 1,2,3 or 4. I set it to 4. All white dragons in the game then had a little red dot in the center (about the size of one of the smaller Pin dots). I got single one in a starting hand and when I went to Reach, that was the tile it recommended discarding. In another hand, I Reached and soon after drew a white dragon with the red dot on it and it didn't allow me to win on that. Maybe it only uses them as Dora? (I didn't get a set of Dragons and go out in the quick trial I did).

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by Barticle » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:14 pm

Hmm, I guess they can be used different ways. I think it might only work when you get one on your first draw after reaching (for Tsumo Ippatsu), which makes it harder to test!

I found a few sources using the term オールマイティ牌 (literally "almighty tile") which I think must be a wildcard effect.

Alternatively some local rules could just treat it like a Dora as you suggest.

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by wavemotion » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:04 am

Okay, I've tried quite a few things with the Haku Pocchi setting set to 4.

I've drawn a special white dragon within 1 round of declaring Reach.
I've had a special white dragon discarded by another player within 1 round of declaring Reach.
I've self-drawn Tsumo a special white dragon after declaring Reach.
I've even pulled a special white dragon as a replacement for a concealed Quad I formed.
I haven't been able to get a set of these special white dragons but I did have a pillow (pair) of them and went out via Reach.

None of the above seemed to have any effect that I could detect. No dora effect and certainly no wild-card effect. I didn't see any other players getting any benefit from it either. Near as I can tell, it was simply the same as having the Haku Pocchi setting turned off (except the dragons look all white again).

I'll leave the setting on and see if it has some effect outside of the Reach condition. I'll also try setting down from 4 to 3 or 2 and see if there might be a bug when set to 4 that prevents it from working right.

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by wavemotion » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:23 pm

Oh... and in case it helps, here is the setting turned on with maybe a line of help at the top as to what it is supposed to do:

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by or2az » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:29 pm

How do you unlock characters and doors in this game? So far, i have managed to unlock 3 characters in the red room by achieving certain victory conditions in the blue room. I have also managed to unlock one of the four locked doors in the blue room. It appears that you get an ABCD rating after these matches and that has something to do with unlocking additional doors and characters. Against "Gempei", the toughest opponent, you must survive bankruptcy and yakitori for 4 east/north matches to get an A. If not, you get D. Against "Shiho", an average opponent, you must beat her by 30 points in each of 2 east/south matches for an A. If not, you get D. The next screen shows your latest result, A through D, and a number above it. I think this is the number of times you don't get a D, but i'm not sure. By having success in these open rooms, a door unlocked, revealing two more rooms, the other woman, "Kumiko", and that annoying male kid, "Onodera Shu". Each room so far has a slightly different fixed ruleset and winning criteria relating to dora, yakitori, bankruptcy, uma spread, oka, haku pocchi, chippu, and wareme. See the "artificial intelligence" post under Reach Mahjong for more on this good app and the follow-up posts below.
Also check out this thread for english translations of some of the various screens.
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=53180&start=60#p57217
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Post by or2az » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:07 am

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by Barticle » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:17 am

wavemotion wrote:Oh... and in case it helps, here is the setting turned on with maybe a line of help at the top as to what it is supposed to do:
Sorry, must've missed this before.

枚数 is a count of flat objects (in this case mahjong tiles) and 選択 means selection - both useful words to learn.

So it's just saying you can select the number of Haku Pocchi.

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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by or2az » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:10 am

As stated above, unlocking the "doors" in this game involves winning under specific criteria unique to each room. For instance, take the first unlocked door against host "kumiko" (see above). This is the only room, so far, that disallows the bankruptcy rule, meaning you can keep playing with negative scores. It is also the only room, so far, that utilizes chippu (see page 63 of Barticles guide). In order to win, you must have at least 10 shugi (tips) more than the host (or everybody?) over 4 east/south matches. After four "D" failures, i finally succeeded. I placed 2nd,2nd,1st, and 2nd, picking up lots of tips along the way and getting an "A". Another door unlocked on the blue screen and another character appeared on the red screen. The blond is the first character, so far, to utilize haku pocchi (p.64 Barticles). It involves 2 of the 4 white dragons. It seems that each door has 2 rooms, each with a different character as host, so 10 possible characters equals 5 rooms. These are the 4 questionmarks on the blue screen plus the original one you started with. This is a very interesting mahjong game!!
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Re: Mini-Review of iOS Kiwame Professional Mahjong

Post by or2az » Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:28 am

FOLLOW-UP: All characters are now unlocked! So is the 3rd door!
Only one door left to open but this time i already know whats going to be behind it (the 9th and 10th characters).
"Takeshi" (7th character) also disallows bankruptcy and plays an east-round only match while "Midori" (8th character) also utilizes chippu and haku pocchi (only one white dragon,though) in an east/north match
"Takeshi" is also the only one, so far, that disallows kan dora (that's an odd one!)
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