Sparrow Solitaire takes the classic tile-matching puzzle game mahjong solitaire, and reimagines it from the ground-up for Playdate. With simple rules and plenty of customizable options, the game is accessible to both new players and veterans of the genre.
Purchase here on Itch or Panic's Catalog, or try our free demo available at the bottom of this page. Play stats from the demo carry over to the full game!
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 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 (black dots in corner), and 4 unique “flower” tiles that match with each other (white dots in corner).
Need more help? The game includes a full tutorial and in-game manual. Want even more tips? Check out the Playdate Wiki page.
We wanted to create a definitive version of mahjong solitaire, exceeding the best computer and console ports. It has all gameplay functionality you would expect, such as undo, redo, and hint functions, and way more. Shake the Playdate to reshuffle the tiles if you're stuck (only once per game!). Play layouts using the Shisen-Sho ruleset or compete head-to-head against a friend in 2-player challenge. Don't know which layout to play? Attempt the Daily Layout and share your scores via QR code.
Our tilesets were drawn from scratch with the Playdate’s screen in mind and they look beautiful on the device. In addition, the crank has several customizable functions: it can snap the cursor to the nearest free tile, zoom the screen, or undo and redo moves. 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.
The game includes 13 tilesets, 25 backgrounds, 208 layouts, 10 music tracks, and several gameplay and accessibility options to customize your experience. We also included an advanced built-in editor for creating and sharing layouts with the community, and have dynamic asset loading capability so you can load in your own backgrounds or tileset designs!
Check out the pause screen to track your best times, scores, and win rate per-layout or across all layouts. View a detailed overview of your stats by pressing B on a layout in the layout select.
Immense care has gone into everything from cursor movement to on-device performance and loading times. We have thoughtful animations and transitions for nearly everything, and the game has been thoroughly playtested. We also ensure every tile deal in Classic mode is solvable.
"This is literally the best feeling game on the Playdate." — strangest.io
"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
"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
Note: a complete list of credits is viewable in-game by pressing: menu, layout select, menu, credits.
I bought Sparrow Solitaire on Catalog and absolutely love it, it’s easily already my most played playdate game. It’s super relaxing to play and the amount of detail and polish you’ve put into it is incredible. It’s beautiful to look at and the music is also excellent, and the number of settings you give the player is super impressive.
My one request (and I totally understand that it’s probably not feasible) would be the option to restart a problem with the same tile arrangement on failure. I think that after an attempt goes wrong, it would be really satisfying to tackle the same problem again and solve it the second time. I don’t know how that would affect the scoring system, I’m guessing there would be a large penalty or possibly a 0 score but I’m more motivated than completing the problem than by the score.
I think I found a very subtle bug. In the soundcloud playlist, there's piece called Sunset Overlay, which I've never heard in-game. Checking the game files, it does seem to be there, but it's not in the list when I flick through the music, nor has it ever come up randomly.
Thank you for the detailed report! Shisen-sho matching has some weirdness especially on layouts that use half-grid spaces, hence why Phone is the only one of those we included. I’ve spent a long time trying to make the matching algorithm both performant and accurate, but in situations like above it can fail. If there’s a 1.2 version I’ll examine this example, but can’t promise it will be fixed (I think a little bit of rare inaccuracy on this layout is okay if it can be performant and work on every other layout).
1.1 manages to makes the game feel even more polished. All the little added animations and visual touches are very rewarding. My go to game for the Playdate. Congratulations on a future classic of the platform.
I have one tiny suggestion, which you guys probably have thought about and decided against for reasons I am unaware of. So apologies if this is moot. The zoom with the crank seems to trigger when the crank reaches a certain angle. The issue I have with this is that if you leave the crank there then it’s sitting very close to the trigger point and you can accidentally knock it out of zoom, or vice versa. I wonder if you should instead reset the trigger point when the crank stops, so that you always have to travel a quarter or a circle, or whatever it is, to actually trigger the zoom. I may be very wrong about that though, and it’s not something of real importance, but I thought I’d mention it.
Thanks so much for the kind words! That’s a really good observation and suggestion. We will put it on the list of changes for a future revision. We did put in place a way to avoid triggering zoom as you docked the crank, so any zoom triggering adjustment would have to work alongside that.
In play-testing I actually found myself taking advantage of the trigger point to quickly toggle zoom states. Every 72 degrees is a zoom point. I liked to use small nudges of my right hand ring and pinky fingers to toggle zoom. Anyway, that’s why I left it like that. I can see the benefit of your suggestion too and will consider it if there’s another patch.
Have you tried any of the other zoom options like B button or always on?
Yes I tried other options. I find constant zoom a bit slow because you don’t see the whole layout obviously. The B button is not my favorite for zoom because it already does the shortcut to free tiles so I tend to tap the zoom by accident. I can see how you could use the zoom crank to your advantage like you do but it’s a bit tricky if you don’t have a lot of play time. Maybe I’ll get used to it. To be fair, I find the Playdate poorly designed from an ergonomic standpoint, so there may not be a perfect solution.
Ah, I found a bug. When a level starts, if you press the home button and go to the options menu while the tiles are still arriving on the screen, the timer never starts, and you can finish the game with a time of zero seconds, maxing your score.
There’s unfortunately no easy way to give Catalog owners access to additional files. But you can email us at email@example.com with a picture of your purchase receipt and we’ll make sure you get it!
This might be too late to implement as a feature, but being able to use the crank to rewind moves would be awesome! Fantastic game - can’t wait for the full release and the ability to make only solvable layouts 🙌
also, if there is a way to make it more clear how many layers deep a stack is - that would be incredible! Sometimes I think there’s a tile underneath only to realize it was the bottom tile, or think that the stack is 2 tiles tall when in fact it’s 3 tiles tall
This is great! A suggestion FWIW: make the double-size view a remembered setting? I can't make out the different tiles unless I use double-size and choose the Sports theme. Then it's nicely visible!
Failing that, there's some strangeness with using the crank to set double-size: when you go to stow the crank again (to get it out of the way) sometimes it reverts back to 1x. Sometimes not. I think because the 1x/2x cutoff angle is (sometimes?) right at the o° docking angle. Maybe that 1x/2x threshold could be at some other angle (45°? 90°?) so that re-docking doesn't interfere.
Thank you for the suggestions! Good idea about the crank thresholds. And I’ll see about making the 2x zoom a locked setting, but it would have to play nicely with the various menus that force the display back to its non-scaled setting. One feature in the final release is an option to use the B-button to toggle zoom (instead of deselecting the last tile), which should also make it easier to quickly zoom in/out.
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!
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.
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!