Gaming, Industry News & Events

What are Match-Three Games?

Sep 23, 2020

If you’re good at identifying patterns of the same kind of tile on a chaotic board chances are, you’re skilled at match-three games

Match-three games are also known as puzzle games where the player needs to match tiles to make them disappear, based on the game’s rules. 

How to play match-three games

The goal of match-three games is to form lines, chains, or groups of three or more of the same elements. Your task is to line up the tiles and achieve three-in-a-row. When this happens, it causes a chain reaction of more tiles to match, before the line or matches disappear. 

The board has various tiles that you need to move around, shift, or rotate in order to get them to drop down and match into lines or groups. 

Within the puzzle games genre, match-three is a fan favorite, mostly because they’re easy to understand, simple to play, and entertaining. Creating successful hyper-casual games should encompass all three components. 

The following features are probably reasons you enjoy playing games and return for more:

The levels are quick and with each passing level, you feel a sense of accomplishment, which in turn, drives positive feelings towards the game. 

Alice Guillaume, Senior Director, Marketing Operations of AppLovin’s creative studio, SparksLabs, believes human emotion is a powerful way to capture your attention, saying, “Whether it’s anticipation, humor, or a sense of superior intelligence; players respond to content they care about.”

Cool game graphics and design make a big difference

Bright colors and creative art and graphics make the game more enjoyable and interesting. Alice believes art plays a huge role in grabbing your attention, but also makes a conscious effort to keep it simple. 

“For hyper-casual or simpler games, fancy effects aren’t as needed, but practicing good ‘design restraint’ in maintaining a clean, clear, and simple UI goes a long way.”  

Storyline and timed games

In addition to matching three in a row, games with storylines are more interesting.  For example, Lion Studios’ casual simulation game Fruit Clinic does a fantastic job of adding some drama and a personality to their fruit characters.

Games that are timed may provide added pressure and a level of skill—something that you may enjoy if you’re up for an added challenge.

Match-three games we love

There is plenty of match-three games to choose from, but these are a few of our favorites. These games embrace the features mentioned above and provide a higher-quality game experience. 

Matchington Mansion

Created by: Firecraft Studios

iOS | Android

Matchington Mansion is an interior design game that combines the puzzle matching element with your design skills. You need to complete the puzzle to collect coins to use to decorate or renovate. You need to complete the puzzle to unlock hidden features which may ultimately help you: 

  • Open new rooms
  • Decorate or renovate rooms inside the mansion
  • Discover secrets inside the furniture 

There are characters in the game that guide you through gardens and various parts of the mansion. 


Created by: Belka Games 

iOS | Android

Go back in time to the 19th century with a challenging match-three game, Clockmaker. The game, which is enjoyed by more than 1M players, globally, features vivid and mysterious city landscapes from the past and takes you through unique challenges at each level. 

In order to move forward to the next level, you need to figure out how to complete the level on the corner of the screen. What makes each level more difficult is that your moves become more limited as you complete a level, so you’ll have to strategically think through how you will complete each level. 

Fish Mania

Created by: ZenLife Games

iOS | Android

Dive deep underwater with Fish Mania. The game features match-three play that allows you to unlock aquariums, experience interactive fish feeding, and collect decorations. 

Sweet Escapes: Build a Bakery

Created by: Redemption Games

iOS | Android

Create a delicious world of treats and follow the white rabbit through a sweet world of match-three games and unique levels in Sweet Escapes: Build a Bakery. Similar to Matchington Mansion, after each level, you can build your own shop by decorating and redesigning. 

The best match-three games

There are plenty of match-three games to choose from, but the best ones have quality design and artwork, paired with fun levels. 

Try any of the match-three games we love and find one that best suits your play style.

Visit AppLovin’s glossary to learn more.

Looking to build your first cool mobile game? Check out our five-minute tutorial with our Head of Games, Keith Kawahata.

Be sure to watch part two of the video. Keith walks you through user engagement, marketability, and how to monetize your game.

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