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All the useful things in the world today were probably invented thousands of years ago by the Chinese - like gunpowder, chopsticks, bicycles, and those little water bottles that fix on the side of hamsters' cages. They were also pretty adept at keeping themselves amused during those long, dark nights and invented almost all types of Patience and Solitaire including, erm... well, probably quite a few.

Another game they invented was Mah Jong, normally a two or more player tile game that's a weird cross between Dominoes and Rummy. They even managed to create a game of patience using the Mah Jong tiles - often called Shanghai - and Turn It is a straightforward variation of that.

Turn It is a much simplified version that involves looking at a screen full of face-up tiles and then selecting identical pairs to remove them from the board. There are a couple of rules, however. First, you have a time limit for each screen (the length of time can be altered by selecting a different skill level at the start of the game).

Then you must remember that the two tiles in a pair must be connected by a line which is drawn along the edge of the playfield and/or across tiles that have already been turned. Life at this stage would be bearable, but what really makes it tough is the rule stating that the line connecting the two tiles to be turned can turn no more than twice (every turn of the line is through 90 degrees).

There are 50 levels to a game (a password is given after every 10 levels) and the levels increase in difficulty in a variety of ways. Usually the number and the complexity of the tiles increases, so you have more to manoeuvre around, but sometimes you're up against a crippling time limit.

There are occasional pairs that can either be a help or a hindrance once they're turned, like the diamond tiles that give you an extra 10 seconds or the skulls that deduct points if you do have to turn them.


Neither is outstanding, though the music is all right and the sound effects are fine. The tiles have all been well drawn and everything looks about as good as you would expect.


The difficulty tuning on the screens has been set well and with 50 levels to complete this will keep you going for some time. The only disadvantage is that once you know a level you'll complete it every time.


A very nice game that's been well done and will entertain whenever you have a few minutes to yourself. This is a good variation of the classic, so if you don't own at least one already this is as worthy of consideration as the rest.

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PRICE: £19.99

Many years ago I used to play a simple game with my family called Pairs which involved matching sets of two identical pictures with each other by a process of memory and elimination.

Unbeknown to me this was a westernised form of Mahjong, a devious oriental game with many patterned tiles that Japanese businessmen play for hours on end (usually with a naked woman being revealed as the game progresses). So you won't be surprised to find that Turn It is Mahjong with a completely literal title for uneducated Brits.

The other surprise with Turn It is that it comes from Germany. The game is as simple as I've explained, but to match up pairs they either have to be adjacent or linked by the margin of the board? That sounds far more complicated than it is.

Now you either like games like this or you don't. I don't. So how can I explain away the fact that I find it so addictive? I became completely engrossed in it last night when I came home drunk as a skunk and put it down to no more than being mesmerised whilst in an alcoholic stupor. But there it was this morning saying 'play me, play me'.

In truth it has nothing to recommend in the graphics dept or in the sonics. All I know is that you don't have to be drunk or Japanese to get a kick out of it.

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Amaya Lopez likes her vegetables long and pointy so when Tim asked her to review Turnip she jumped at the chance. Sadly, however, she'd been sorely deluded because Turn It (hem) is actually about doing things with flat, decorative tiles and is the latest offering from German company Kingsoft.

Amiga reviewAmaya: Based on the ancient Chinese game of Mah Jong, the concept of Turn It is wonderfully simple. You choose whether to play in one or two player mode and your level of difficulty.

Then, by clicking on the right-hand mouse button, the tiles lay themselves out before you can say 'Won Ton Soup'. Yes, you heard right, I'm afraid - the game is mouse-controlled and hampered by the fact that Amiga mice aren't the most user-friendly of creatures.

But back to the game. The first level of tiles fills up the whole screen and its size decreases as you play through. Click on the instantly recognizable pairs of tiles - seasons, flowers, faces, funny little blue whirly bits, yellow blobby things (I think we get the picture. Ed.) - and they'll flip over and disappear. But there are a few catches: firstly, in case you hadn't guessed, you have to um... 'turn' them all within a specific time limit. And the two stones can only be turned if there's a clear path connecting them, which may only change its direction twice in a 90 degree angle.

The amount of time you have depends upon the level of difficulty chosen but if you score enough points to enter the high score list on an 'easy' level, you're duly chastised and 400 points will be subtracted from your result. That'll teach you!

Should you fail to turn the tiles in time (a familiar occurrence, particularly if you're colour blind) a menacing blue Bhudda appears to halt you in your tracks. But you are given three chances on each level and, should you happen to be a demon at Chinese puzzle games and obtain a password, this will give you access to that particular level. Conquering the first level is a moderately easy feat and armed with foolish self-assurance you proceed to the following frustrating levels. But steady on, how many levels does it say in the manual? 50!!! Aaaarghh!

Ah. The manual. It's not very clear. It tells you, for example, that turning stones like 'diamonds' will give you an extra 10 seconds of time and that others like 'skulls' will lose you points. The trouble is that unless you're a Mah Jong wizard, it's not obvious which tiles are which and you have to learn in tedious 'trial and error' fashion.

The graphics are colourful and there's a neat little touch when you successfully turn two stones - little Buddhas' heads pop up to mark out the path before you. Sound consists of irritating clonking noises each time you score - enough to make you have a turn (ho ho) - with the effect of egging you on, albeit somewhat stress-fully.

If any of you are familiar with the classic game Shanghai - this is it... well, sort of. Except the tiles aren't staked in Turn It and the levels of difficulty are progressive not random.

All in all, if puzzling, frustrating games with that 'one more go' factor like Tetris and Klax are your bag, you'll love Turn It. But if you have the patience of a Triad in an abattoir, forget it.