Mahjong Word is a tile-matching game that uses Mahjong rules of play with letter-based tiles instead of traditional ones. The player must remove floating blue and white tiles that display different colored capital letters in front of a black background and rainbow-colored smoke across 300 levels of play. They must also collect up to three stars per level. Top players collect 900 stars.
As with Chinese Mahjong, the player removes tiles by selecting matching pairs. When they select a tile, it flashes to confirm the selection. They can only select uncovered, highlighted tiles. They can't select any tiles hidden behind other tiles or shadows.
Mahjong Word offers several helpful tools. The player can use a wavy arrow icon to shuffle the tiles to reveal new uncovered tile pairs. They can also use a lightbulb icon to shine a bright light on all available tiles. If they turn off this light, they make the game even more challenging for that specific level.
The game also features a magnifying glass icon to reveal a pair of tiles. That said, using this tool speeds up the timer bar at the top of the screen and decreases the amount of time remaining, which can result in the player losing stars or failing a level.