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 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-3 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 are simple, but addictive gameplay and an intuitive concept.
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.
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 Match-3 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 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.
The first Match-3 games 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.
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-3 games. Let’s see what features distinguish this style from all others.
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 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 games 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.
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 Match-3 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.
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 most popular Match-3 games 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 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 games and you will make a profit. You also may introduce reward advertising that doesn’t irritate players.
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 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.
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.
Arrange objects randomly
As we already mentioned above, Match-3 game objects may be various, for example, 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-3 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.
And the last piece of advice we can give about the development of Match-3 games 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.
The Bottom Line
Match-3 is the classic 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 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 game. Wish you easy and pleasant game development!