Tap 3 Mahjong is a tile-matching game that requires the player to remove tiles in sets of three from a playfield instead of traditional sets of two via levels-style play. The game features a bokeh background of cherry blossom branches with cherry blossoms floating through the air and a foreground of layered round-cornered ivory tiles with classic Chinese Mahjong imagery and fresh, modern designs in various patterns. The player uses click-tap interactions with the screen to select tiles with the same icons.
The player selects only the tiles with identical images, including flower and seasonal tiles. Other icons include dots, bamboo, fans, birds and characters. The game presents the available tiles with the ivory highlighted and the unavailable ones in shadows. If the player selects an unavailable tile, the game flashes a red outline around it.
The player uses seven spaces below the tiles to arrange the sets of three matching ones. As a result, they can remove tiles to uncover and make available other tiles by using the spaces as free cells to set aside up to four non-matching tiles at a time. If they fill up all seven spaces without creating a set, they lose the game.
After every five levels, Tap 3 Mahjong rewards the player with coins and turns with helpful tools from a green and gold chest. The tools include an undo button marked with a back arrow, a shuffle button marked with two intertwined arrows, and a hint button marked with a star wand. The latter tool pulls three matching tiles from anywhere within a pattern into the empty spaces. If the player ever runs out of these tools, they can buy new turns with gold or earn turns by watching videos.