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Dragon Puzzle

Score: 88%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Alawar
Developer: Static X Studio
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle/ Board Games/ Classic/Retro

Graphics & Sound:

Alawar’s Dragon Puzzle is a video game version of Mahjong Solitaire, an ancient Chinese game that is tile based. This particular rendition includes two different tile sets which are functionally identical, but give a different look to the game. The tiles themselves are rendered in 3D, which places restrictions on what computers can actually run the game, but at the same time allows you to zoom in and rotate the board around to get a better view of the puzzle. Mind you, in some of the larger (Huge) boards, this helps quite a bit.

The music in Dragon Puzzle is a laid-back ambient techno song that is four minutes and 41 seconds in length. The song itself is pleasing enough and is somewhat relaxing; the kind of thing that’s nice to have in the background while playing the game.


Dragon Puzzle provides a lot of variation in layouts, with 100 different “Dragons,” or tile layouts. These layouts are divided almost evenly into five categories based on size: Tiny, Small, Normal, Big, and Huge.

The object of the game is to match similar available tiles. Selecting a similar pair of available tiles will remove them from the board and can reveal additional tiles. A tile is considered “Available” if it has an available side (left or right only) that is not in contact with another tile. The concept is simple, allowing anyone to jump in and start playing. But it will take practice to do well and much more practice to master.

Inevitably, you’ll eventually get to a point where you’ve left yourself no available moves. When this happens, Dragon Puzzle informs you with a chime sound effect. At this point, you can click on the “Shuffle” button on the right side of the screen to shuffle the tiles around to continue playing from there.


With four different sizes of layouts in varying complexities, you can choose a dragon based on the complexity (how many tiles are stacked on top of others) and how long you want to play. Pick one of the Huge boards and you might be playing for a while.

Dragon Puzzle is a game that is very approachable. You can learn the basics in a short amount of time, and then work on perfecting your skill over time. Mind you, there is a free trial at Alawar.com, but I found that I would have needed longer to brush up on my skills, much more so if I hadn’t known how to play previously. Still, the free trial allows you to see for yourself what you think.

Game Mechanics:

The only complaint I have about Dragon Puzzle would have to be the “Shuffle” feature. You can shuffle your tiles a few times before your game is over, and every time you shuffle, you’re moving even closer to ending your game. This is all understandable. What’s not understandable is that occasionally the “shuffled” tiles still have no available moves. It seems to me that if you’re going to include a shuffle feature, that you’d keep shuffling behind the scenes until there’s at least one move to be made. It feels very much like having a flat tire changed only to find out the new tire is also flat.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

The only requirements listed for Dragon Puzzle are:

Pentium 300MMX or higher

However, Psibabe's VAIO W series wouldn’t play the game. We didn’t try too long, however, so I can’t guarantee that it wouldn’t have worked with some coaxing. The best route would be to download the trial and try it on your system for yourself.


Test System:

VAIO R Series VGC-RA820G
3.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 HT (540)
Microsoft Windows XP Professional (Media Center Edition)
ATI Radeon X300 (PCI Express) 128MB

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated