Update: Images pulled at request of developer, until launch day

The veteran Mac developers at Ambrosia Software have announced their first iPhone game already well into development. Ambrosia is bringing their Aki Mahjong Solitaire game to Apple's new mobile platform. A desktop version of Aki is presently available as a $20 shareware application for the Macintosh.

Ambrosia's first game for the iPhone elegantly blends the ancient Chinese game of Mahjong with an enchanting journey across Japan. It's a modern fusion of two ancient Asian cultures, and is as much an experience as it is a game. Aki is easy to learn even if you still haven't mastered chopsticks, so don't hesitate to dive right in. We think you'll soon find yourself captivated.

The goal of Aki Mahjong Solitaire is to remove all the tiles on the board by matching identical tiles within the allotted time. Tiles, however, can only be selected if they are unblocked on either side by other tiles.

Ambrosia takes advantage of the iPhone's Core Animation to provide smooth tile animations and a Cover Flow interface for selecting levels.

Aki Mobile Mahjong is presently in late beta testing and will be priced at $9.99.

Ambrosia's founder Andrew Welch shared with us his thoughts about iPhone gaming and their approach to Aki. Welch explained, "My basic philosophy for iPhone games is that they should be casual games you can pick up and play on a whim, and dismiss as quickly to take that phone call you've been waiting for." Welch describes that when you hit the Home Button on the iPhone during the game the state is saved so that you can return to the exact spot you left.

"We didn't just port Aki to the iPhone, we rewrote it around the idea of playing the game on a mobile device", concludes Welch.

A video of the gameplay and more screenshots can be seen in Ambrosia's media gallery. We've embedded a YouTube version here: