Match 3 games are an irreplaceable classic for every gamer. Everyone plays them, children, teenagers, and even adults. By the way, according to statistics, the largest audience is mothers and adults who play Match 3 battle games. This is not surprising, because games in this style are very easy-to-understand, and the game mechanics do not take hours of training. You can easily feel relaxation and escape from everyday life. Therefore, Match-3 games will always be at the top of the most popular Google Play or App Store applications.

The peculiarity of the Match 3 genre is that all games use the same mechanics. Of course, Match three games do not have any of the properties of AAA games (for example, twisted plot or customization of characters), but millions of people around the world play these games for hours every day. The main secrets of Match 3 games free are simple, but addictive gameplay and an intuitive concept. 

match 3 games

Even if this style of game seems to be very easy to develop, there are many details that you should pay attention to before you start working on a project. We have collected the best information to introduce you to the Match-3 genre better, as well as provide useful development tips.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about developing your own hit Match 3 mobile game, from understanding the genre’s appeal to implementing clever monetization strategies. Let’s dive in!

What is a Match-3 Game?

Match 3 is the simplest and funniest game style, in which millions of people play every day. The main task of the player is to make combinations of 3 identical objects (these can be stones, fruits, candies, and so on), which are located on the playing field, and form various combos to earn more points. The difficulty of the free Match three games can increase with each level. Such games are not laborious and allow players to relax and feel the winner. 

The initial levels introduce people to the mechanics of the game, its gameplay, and also talk about the bonuses. With each level, it becomes more and more difficult to play the game. If the first 100 levels are a good way to have fun for lovers of Match-3, all other levels require special attention, so they train memory and logic. Match 3 games online have psychological tricks that are addictive and affect the player’s emotional state, and most likely this effect is achieved through the complexity of the levels, competition with friends, and mind-blowing graphics.

match 3 game

The first Match three games free download were Bejewelled, Chain Shot!, and Tetris. Today, the most famous Match 3 game is Candy Crush. We are sure that every player has heard about this game. This is a traditional Match-3 game with a cute interface and simple, but addicting gameplay. 

The Allure of Match-3

At its core, a Match-3 game challenges players to swap adjacent tiles/gems/candy on a grid to form lines or clusters of 3 or more identical pieces. When matched, the pieces disappear, allowing more to fall into place. Larger chain reactions garner special bonuses and points.

It’s an intuitive premise easy for anyone to grasp, yet Match-3 gameplay has surprising depth. Crafting puzzles with escalating difficulty and introducing new obstacles keeps players challenged and chasing that elusive high score. Bright colors and upbeat sound effects create a feel-good experience, making Match-3 the perfect casual gaming escape.

Major Appeal Factors:

  • Easy to learn, difficult to master: Lower barriers to entry expand potential audience.
  • Bite-sized rounds: Play in short bursts or extended sessions.
  • Positive feedback loops: Chaining combos and gaining bonuses provides constant micro-wins.
  • Relaxing and fun: Vibrant aesthetics and upbeat audio for mood boosting.

With so much to love, it’s no surprise Match-3 has remained a top-grossing mobile genre for over a decade, appealing to men and women aged 13 to 60+. Games like Candy Crush Saga and Gardenscapes attract an impressively broad, dedicated player base.

As more developers try getting a slice of this lucrative market, how can you make a Match-3 title that stands out?

Match-3 Game Features 

Each genre has specific features that make it easy to define the style of play. This also applies to the Match three online games. Let’s see what features distinguish this style from all others.

match 3

Clear objective 

At the beginning of the level, you will always be notified of the main goal of the round. For example, you have to collect 15 fruits and break two pieces of ice. A big advantage is that the players don’t have to bother, because they know what is required of them. This makes a Match-3 game much simpler and easy to understand.

Specific Game Mechanics 

The rules of the Match-three genre are the same in all the best match 3 games. Everything is very simple, the player needs to collect 3 identical objects, after which they disappear, and the steps become fewer. The difference between these titles is in possible storylines, bonuses, promotions, and graphics. Developers can also introduce different characters with dialogues to make the game not only train logic, but also entertaining. 

Pleasant to eye

Match-3 games are able to provide players with eye-catching, cute, exciting, and addictive gameplay to create the best user experience and let them distract from everyday life. Moreover, many developers have started implementing storylines or cute characters that delight players. This makes Match-3 gameplay even more addictive. 

How to Develop a Match-3 Game?

Developing a Match-3 game requires going through special stages. Each of these stages of game development has specific characteristics and each of them is important and affects the project’s future. 

Do Market Research 

The first step to start developing your own game is to find out which Match-3 games are the most popular. You need to research the popular playgrounds App Store and Play Market. Check out which games are at the top of the list, play them, and find out why they became so famous. Pay attention to every feature, compare popular games, and write down what matters most. In addition, you can watch the gameplay on YouTube and find out what exactly they did not like in the popular Match-3 games to avoid these mistakes in your project.

Come up with an idea

All big things start with a great idea. Although we have already said that each Match-3 game uses the same mechanics, this does not exclude the possibility of diversifying the gameplay, graphics and adding interesting characters to the game. Therefore, we consider the most important stage of Match-3 game development to create an interesting idea. 

match 3

It might be a good idea to implement a storyline into your game. Earlier, it was unpopular and uncharacteristic for the Match-3 genre, but as soon as King started releasing games with an involving storyline, for example, rescue pets, introducing an interesting game plot became a widespread idea. 

When you introduce an interesting storyline into a puzzle game, people have the opportunity to enjoy the gameplay doubly. They have a specific goal for which they try to complete the level. This creates a sense of challenge for the player and can diversify the user experience. The storyline will add some drama and personality to your Match-3 game.

Develop a game concept 

At this stage, you should think through every detail of the game, visualize it, and understand how it can become more interesting and better. Allocate your budget, come up with an interesting storyline, and create breathtaking animations for the best gaming experience. You can compare your ideas with other games and find out how these ideas work in reality. 

At this stage, you should find all the specialists who will work on the development of your project. Moreover, you need to choose the game engine. Today’s technologies make it possible to choose from a wide range of different game engines for the easiest game development. At EJAW, we always use Unity for the development of the best mobile 3 Match games. Of course, you also need to choose a mobile game platform. The best way is to choose cross-platform game development, because your game will have more downloads and will be accessible for all devices. Generally, the concept creation stage includes full preparation for game development and defining the strategy. 

Brainstorm creative themes that will make your project stand out on the crowded app stores. For example, combine cookie crush match 3 with another popular genre like adventure, Angry Birds match, or RPG. Introduce an intriguing narrative and cast of characters.Blend familiar match-3 action with fresh design elements.

Choose the monetization system

Match-3 game developers are able to make a profit using various ways. Take a look below.

  • Paid games. Of course, it is profitable, but the best three Match games no download are free. Free games always get much more profitable, as a person can try the game for free and want to improve their capabilities in it. It works much better than paid games, because people may not know what they are buying;
  • In-app monetization. This is the most common type of way to earn, which is always popular in any gem matching game. You may sell extra lives, bonuses, as well as skins if your game has a storyline or other features;
  • In-app advertising. Every game has different ads, because it is a profitable way to earn some money. Players may be interested in other match 3 games free download and you will make a profit. You also may introduce reward advertising that doesn’t irritate players.

The most profitable match-3 titles utilize in-app purchase of power-ups, extra moves, boosters, and more. Cosmetic enhancements like new themes and pieces also represent revenue opportunities. Define your monetization approach upfront so you can bake appropriate systems into the game’s design.

Develop your game!

The most time-consuming stage of game development is when you need to write the correct codes, implement the conceived idea, create attractive animations, and so on. This stage breathes life into the initial concept. After successfully completing the development of your project, you will need to go through testing, closed beta testing, as well as post-launching with support for future updates.

5 Tips for Development New Match 3 Games

Don’t make initial levels too easy

One of the most common mistakes is making the initial levels too easy. Players can win very quickly and don’t feel any emotions or sensations. This causes boredom, and then the player is likely to lose interest and delete the game. Therefore, try to make simple levels approximately in the range of 50-60% difficulty. It is not so difficult for the players, because it is only a few attempts, but they feel great victory, although they will get stuck at these levels for a long time. 

Diversify levels

At the start, when players have practically no bonuses, you should add new mechanics quite often, every 3-5 levels, until you get enough of them to mix levels. About 5-6 mechanics will be enough. Over time, the variety of mechanics becomes less, for example, after level 400, we introduce a new mechanic every 50 levels. You should take it into account to keep the interest of the users at the initial levels and to involve them in the game process.

Early levels should avoid being too easy—around a 60% first-time clearance rate feels satisfying. Introduce new mechanics or obstacles every 5 levels initially to provide variety and incentive to progress. Arrange pieces randomly so boards feel fresh, not repetitive.

For later levels, a 90-95% failure rate on first attempts is ideal, compelling players to refine strategy and keep trying different approaches. Limit moves on hard levels so failed attempts remain brief yet challenging.

Arrange objects randomly

As we already mentioned above, Match 3 D game objects may be various, for example, candly riddles match 3, fruits, vegetables, or stones. It is very important to place objects on the field at random so that the players do not think that you are cheating when they replay the round. Therefore, when there is randomness, and the players, starting the level, see a different arrangement, this allows them to think that now they will come up with the right move. Well, or they will be lucky with the arrangement and definitely win it.

Don’t make many moves on hard levels

If you have ever played a Match masters game, you might be faced with a difficult level problem with just a few steps. The players replay a difficult level many times. This level should be dynamic. Even if players lose, there must be a positive effect. If you make many moves and the level is difficult and long, then the player replays it many times and begins to get bored, sad, and leaves. The average loss rate for difficult levels should be no less than 90-95%. 

If we are talking about the initial levels, then you can make more moves. You should know that players will go through it quickly and will not replay it, but you need them to spend a certain amount of time in the game and get their fans.

Diversify gameplay

And the last piece of advice we can give about the development of games Match 3 online free variants is to make the user experience better with different animations, pictures, matching colors, and characters. A pleasant user interface, effects, and music will inspire players to play more and cheer them up. These details are responsible for the first impression of the game, so try to create a pleasant gaming atmosphere. 

Polish Visuals and Audio

Vibrant, juicy visuals and sound effects captivate players’ attention while amplifying the satisfying feel of matches. Animations, sparkles and other polish bring otherwise static game boards to life.

Test audio balances to ensure sound effects punch through without drowning out background music. While visual flair attracts players, retaining them requires depth of well-tuned gameplay. Prioritize mechanics before over-investing in artwork.

The Evolution of Match 3 Games

Match-3 games have been popular for a long time because of their simple tile-shifting gameplay. But developers have created many different types of  online game 3 match that add unique twists.

Classic Match 3 Games 

“Classic” online match 3 free games closely follow early match-3 formulas. The game board has rows of the same types of tiles, often gems, candy match, or shapes. Tiles are placed randomly each round. The player has to quickly spot matching pieces to swap.

To play match three games online, you switch any two next to each other to make a match of 3 or more. Matched pieces disappear so more can fall into place. This allows big combos that score more points.

Some classics have special tiles with unique effects when matched. But most gameplay comes from chaining together different combo shapes.

The simple but rewarding gameplay makes classic match-3s easy to learn but hard to put down. Modern games build on this model by adding characters, stories, and goals.

Adventure/Quest Hybrids

Some games blend match-3 puzzles with adventure or quest elements. Puzzle Quest was the first to add roleplaying features like character building. Matching battles enemies and collects resources.

Matching different ways triggers special attacks against foes. Defeating enemies earns experience to upgrade skills. Obstacles on the board must be cleared by matching certain pieces.

Adding a story and RPG gives match-3 a purpose beyond high scores. Using matching strategically during adventures is compelling. Players also grow attached to characters, where Harry Potter match 3 game is a good example.

3 match game

Overall, hybrids expand match-3 beyond just swapping tiles. Matching drives the adventure and story rather than only earning points.

Story/Saga Games

Another popular spin introduces fun characters and narratives around matching objectives. Candy Crush match game has hundreds of puzzle levels united by a light sweet match story.

Each level has quirky characters that assign short quests. Players match tiles on themed boards to complete these tasks. Simple stories connect the episodes.

Giving match play context helps engage players beyond points alone. Populating puzzles with characters and environments stimulates interest. Smoothly guiding players through hundreds of quick stories sustains match-3 enjoyment by introducing variety and goals.

Timed Modes

Some match-3 variants add challenge by imposing short time limits on play. Games like Bejeweled Blitz generate boosted boards then give players 30-60 seconds to score as high as possible.

The ticking clock mechanic demands focus and delivers daring excitement. With failure closing in as time winds down, every match becomes high-stakes. This condenses addictive match-3 play into intense bursts perfect for mobile gaming.

Some games blend time limits with competitive tournament modes having players race against others’ best timed scores. Imposing frantic time constraints puts a thrilling spin on familiar matching actions.

Town Building Hybrids

Popular mobile games blend match-3 puzzles with town building and simulation. Titles like Puzzle Craft let players gather resources by matching, which builds up villages.

Clearing puzzle boards generates supplies. Difficult matches unlock upgrades like production buildings to develop the town. This ties players’ match skills into strategic meta-game progression.

Layering town simulation on the best match 3 building games creates a more rewarding loop. It stretches matching beyond merely scoring points to directly impact a complex sandbox.


Introducing real-time player competition modernizes match-3 games. Titles like Smashing Four augment traditional mechanics with interactive dueling.

Matches cleared on a player’s board can generate obstructions on the opponent’s tiles. Special spells unlocked via matches provide strategic advantages. This amplifies the quick thinking crucial to all match-3s into exciting player rivalry.

Designers found new ground by fusing multiplayer live competition with a classic casual genre. Co-op and turn-based competitive modes further expand how head-to-head puzzles can feel fresh.

Endless Match-3 Innovation

As we’ve seen, match-3 gameplay blends seamlessly with numerous genres. Simple tile-matching foundations effortlessly support creative wrappers like quests, towns, competition and more.

Clever developers continue advancing match-3 games by reaching into new frontiers like augmented reality, connected devices, tower defense, and other radicals mashups.

At its heart, match-3 endures thanks to easy-to-grasp mechanics. But feeding players’ appetite for novelty means non-stop imagination expanding the scope of match puzzles. The potential still lies untapped for this classic casual game formula.

Match-3 titles have demonstrated incredible staying power across casual gaming for good reason. Their straightforward rules make them accessible to players of all ages. Fast-paced rounds deliver bitesize entertainment suited for mobile environments.

Most importantly, match-3 gameplay activates the brain’s pleasure centers. Chaining combos trigger rewarding neurochemical releases, pushing players to keep matching. Difficult levels present challenges to overcome, providing small wins. Masters of match-3 design bake this addictive loop into each level’s flow.

While some may dismiss match-3 games as simple or repetitive, the best titles capture lightning in a bottle—gameplay seemingly tailor-made for our brains. Their popularity spans generations of players and platforms. As long as we delight in organizing objects and solving puzzles, match-3 has a place in our gaming library. The right enhancements and innovations will keep the genre feeling fresh for years to come.

The Bottom Line

Match-3 is the classic tiles matching game genre that will always be popular and addictive for people. Such games impress players with their simple, but dynamic gameplay. The development of Match 3 download free games may seem to be easy, but it is not. You should consider plenty of details and pay attention to everything if you want to develop a real boom.  

Match-3 game development is profitable, because it requires low investments, develops people’s cognitive skills and problem-solvency, as well as allows game creators to reach a broad audience. We hope today’s tips are useful for you and give impetus to create your own Match 3 free download game. Wish you easy and pleasant game development!