The Great Mahjong is a tile-matching puzzle game with a classic presentation of a golden-hued mountain backdrop and a layered Chinese Mahjong pattern in the foreground. Golden dragon heads adorn the top corners.
The player earns points and wins by removing all tiles from the playfield. The game features two modes (Classic Game and Time Attack). With Classic Game, the player can take as long as they want to clear the field. With Time Attack, they have less than six minutes to reach their goal.
The game only allows the removal of completely uncovered tiles in pairs that possess an unattached left or right side. Each tile displays traditional iconography of red and blue bamboo sticks, stones, dragons, flowers and seasons. The game requires identical matching of the bamboo, stones and dragons. The player can match the flowers and seasons based on category.
The screens for both modes display similar details. The player can review the number of potential matches at any given time near the top-left corner. The central top area contains the timer. In Classic Game, it counts up. In Time Attack, it counts down. The game assigns different points per tile in an area near the top-right corner.
The Great Mahjong is a unique version because it offers the player an option to playback the solution to a pattern. If the player accesses the Menu during a round, they can select a show solution tool. They can then sit back and watch a simulation.