A downloadable game

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Sparrow Solitaire is a tile-matching mahjong solitaire game in the style of classic Macintosh game Shanghai. The game is still in active development, but we are opening up pre-orders at a 20% discount so we can share our preview build.  

Purchasing now gets you the final game when it releases in the next couple of months and early access to a high-quality build that you can play today! Or if you'd rather wait for the full release, we will have a stripped-down free demo available so you can try before you buy. 


The goal of the game is to clear the layout by matching pairs of free tiles together. Free tiles are those which don't have any tile on top of them and whose left and right sides are unblocked (in other words, they can be "slid out" to the left or right without interruption). In a traditional 144 tile layout, there are 42 different tile faces: 34 normal tiles with four copies each, 4 unique “season” tiles that match with each other, and 4 unique “flower” tiles that match with each other. An example of all the suits and their variations for the traditional Chinese tileset can be found here. In this game, the seasons and flowers are the only tiles that match with each other but don't look identical, so we added black and white dots to help identify these matching sets.

Example showing how to match tiles

The game ends in two ways:

  • All tiles are removed (your best time is recorded)
  • There are no possible matches remaining (your lowest number of tiles remaining so far is recorded)

We hope to create the definitive version of mahjong solitaire, exceeding the best computer and console ports. The demo has all the gameplay functionality you would expect: use the A button to select and match tiles, use the B button to deselect the currently selected tile, and hold B to open a sub-menu with hint, undo, redo, and restart options. If you get stuck, shake the Playdate to reshuffle the tiles (only once per game!). While the demo only contains the classic tile-matching mode, the full game will have an alternative mode based on Shisen-Sho, as well as 2–player multiplayer.

Our tilesets were drawn from the ground up with the Playdate’s screen in mind and they look beautiful on the device. In addition, the crank can be used to snap the cursor to the nearest free tile in the left/right directions or cycle through the available matches if using a hint. Although mahjong games often rely on mouse or touch input, we spent a lot of time on our D-pad controls so that the cursor snapping feels intuitive, fast, and smooth.

Currently, the game includes 11 tilesets, 17 backgrounds, 11 layouts, 6 music tracks, and several gameplay options to customize your experience. The final game will have even more: multiple play modes, dozens of layouts ranging in both difficulty and size, and an advanced built-in editor for creating and sharing layouts with the community.


The demo uses the pause screen to track your playtime, score, and win rate both overall and per-layout. Your best score (tiles remaining) is recorded before beating a layout, and your best time is recorded after beating a layout. The full release will have even more detailed stats, and a full history log of all your games! We cannot guarantee save data compatibility between the demo and full release.

Immense care has gone into everything from cursor movement to on-device performance and loading times. The demo includes thoughtful animations and transitions for nearly everything, and has been thoroughly play-tested. In the full game, you can look forward to an even larger variety of deal animations and transitions, in addition to a custom algorithm that guarantees every tile deal is solvable.

  • "This is wonderful! Majong would seem impossible to pull off on such a limited screen, but this really takes advantage of that screen's strengths and pulls it off with aplomb." — joecunningham
  • "I have just booted up the game and played a little bit... but WOW the detail and the setting and MUSIC. Once I fully dive into this game more, I can see myself spending hours. I really love the little details." — KingSizzle#1708
  • "Beautiful and challenging. Great time!" — ledbetter-games
  • "I've never really been into Mahjong, but I find this to be the perfect experience for the Playdate. Will prob be a forever install on my device." — SHiLLySiT#0985
  • "Love this game. Easily one of the most beautiful games on the playdate" — kilijarslan
  • "First experience with solo mahjong. Great fun, beautiful graphics & animation!" — 96m96m
  • "Great Job. I really appreciate your attention to detail. Using the crank to switch between available tiles is surprisingly useful. I like how it gives some minor assistance whenever you want it without having to switch on the option for available tiles only. This has been a daily go-to for me. Keep up the good work!" — russcampbell
  • "Really beautiful and quite full featured for a game that isn't even finished. Nice work!" — mute.7231


D-pad — move cursor between tiles

A button — select or deselect current tile

B button — deselect tiles regardless of where cursor is

B button (hold) + D-pad — open context menu for Undo/Redo/Hint/Restart

Crank (during gameplay) — snap cursor to closest free tile OR zoom 2x 

Crank (during hint) — cycle through possible matches

Shake — reshuffle tiles to get out of a tricky or impossible situation (once per game)

Menu — view stats, switch layout, or open options


Cursor mode 

        Free tiles — snap between free tiles only

        All tiles — snap between all tiles

        Grid — unlocked cursor that can move freely off the layout

Cursor wrap — sets if the cursor wraps to the opposite side of the screen in free or all tiles snap modes

Show blocked tiles — indicate tiles that are non-free and can't be selected

Show tile count — show/hide the tile counter in top right

Auto deselect — if on, both tiles are deselected after an invalid match instead of just the most recent one

Auto select music and/or background — after finishing a layout or when switching to a new one, the music, background, or both will be randomized

Deal Style — to reduce peeking, tiles can be dealt face down and then turned face-up when the animation is complete

Crank function - snap to free tiles (default) or crank to zoom 2x. In the latter mode, zoom in by rotating clockwise over one of the four thresholds (0, 90, 180, or 270 degress) and zoom out by rotating counter-clockwise.

Mac Vogelsang (@vogelscript): programming, design, sound

Matt Sephton (@gingerbeardman): art, design, sound, fonts, prototype

YuyakeMonster 夕焼けモンスター (@yuyake_monster): music Soundcloud / Sparrow Solitaire Soundtrack

StatusIn development
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
(10 total ratings)
AuthorsVogelscript, gingerbeardman
GenrePuzzle, Strategy
Made withPlaydate, Aseprite
Tags1-bit, Isometric, mahjong, Playdate, Relaxing, Retro, Singleplayer, tiles
Average sessionA few minutes
InputsGamepad (any), Joystick
AccessibilityConfigurable controls, High-contrast


Buy Now
On Sale!
20% Off
$10.00 $8.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $8 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Sparrow Solitaire v0.4 8 MB

Development log


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I finally picked this up today and I’m honestly delighted! Such a beautiful and impressively full-featured solitaire game - I can’t wait for the full release!


So I'm on my lunch break today, trying to clear the bridge layout after 39 straight losses. Getting closer and closer to the end, I'm sure I've made a bad match and it'll be loss 40. But probably about 5 matches from the end, I could see that I'd won. That was such a huge rush for me.

I've been playing Sparrow Solitaire on my lunch breaks the last few weeks and I have to say this is the perfect playdate game for quick gameplay sessions. If you like puzzle games, definitely give this a go. It is well worth $8 and it will be well worth $10. If you don't mind a game where you can make a mistake in the first few moves that will absolutely doom you later on, pick this one up! I have logged 21 hours of game time on Sparrow Solitaire and I am nowhere near done yet.


I just have to comment on how absolutely delightful this game is. You can feel the love and care the creators put into it - it is very, very polished. This is far and away the game I’ve spent the most time with on my Playdate so far!


Where I find the demo ?


We won’t have the free demo until the full game releases, so you’ll have to wait until then if you are unsure about purchasing now.


Love this game. Easily one of the most beautiful games on the playdate

(1 edit) (+2)

Great Job. I really appreciate your attention to detail. Using the crank to switch between available tiles is surprisingly useful. I like how it gives some minor assistance whenever you want it without having to switch on the option for available tiles only. This has been a daily go-to for me. Keep up the good work!


Beautiful app, thanks for putting so much love into the details - I'm really enjoying the entire experience.

One tiny request/bit-of-feedback: when deciding on a background or an audio track, I'd love a mode for each called auto (or random) which greets me with something different every time I load into a new game.

Looking forward to any updates!

Thank you! And that's a great idea, I'll have that for the final game.

Hey Seth, I decided to implement this feature sooner. In the latest v0.4 update there's now an 'auto-select' option that lets you do this! Let me know what you think.

Just gave it a shot — exactly what I was hoping for! Thanks for the quick implementation, I was happy to hear about it. Keep up the great work!


This is wonderful! Majong would seem impossible to pull off on such a limited screen, but this really takes advantage of that screen's strengths and pulls it off with aplomb. Glad I bought it.

(3 edits)

Thanks so much for the kind words! I spent lots of time in the early days making sure the tiles and layout could be represented well on the screen. That effort really paid off and was the foundation for everything else. Enjoy the game and look forward to all the updates!

I published a devlog about tile design. https://vogelscript.itch.io/sparrow-solitaire/devlog/407578/the-art-of-designing-tile-sets