Why the Match 3 Puzzle games are so popular and successful

In the ongoing quest for gaming bliss, Match 3 puzzle games are among the most popular. The popularity of these games is evident in the various types of games they have conjured up. Games like Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds Match, Frozen Free Fall, and Puzzle & Dragons are a few from the massive archives of Match 3 games.

What are the Match 3 puzzle games?

Match 3 or three-in-a-row games are a type of casual puzzle games. The major task consists in forming lines/chains/groups of 3 or more identical elements. Traditionally, the board is square-patterned and filled with various tiles that one must shift, select or rotate. The core challenge is the identification & arrangement of patterns on a chaotic board.

match 3 puzzle game
match 3 puzzle game – Candy Crush

Match 3 games cover a broad range of design elements, mechanics and gameplay experiences. They include purely turn-based games but can also feature arcade-style action elements, such as time pressure, shooting or hand-eye coordination. The tile-matching mechanic is also occasionally inserted as a “mini-game” within some larger, more complex games. It gives the players a different challenge and gameplay mechanic to enjoy.


The origins of the Match 3 games you love today can be traced back to Russian game developer Alexey Pajitnov’s Tetris in 1984 and Japanese game maker Kuniaki Moribe’s Chain Shot! in 1985. The first Match 3 game Shariki released for DOS in 1994 gave rise to bubble shooters. Match 3 games became popular throughout the 2000s, in the form of casual games distributed or played over the Internet, notably the Bejeweled series of games. They have remained popular ever since, with the game Candy Crush Saga becoming one of the most widely-played casual games worldwide.

What features make them so popular

  • Levels – A challenge to beat levels and a feeling of accomplishment is what drives the most positive emotions
  • Visuals – Many players don’t mind that some games are about the same subject (candies). They enjoy the feeling they have from nice art and interesting levels
  • Story – There are many games now that add a story layer on top of the matching mechanics. For instance, Gardenscapes is a great example.
  • Meta-game – Some games use matching mechanics as a simple yet very flexible mechanics for the core gameplay. RPG games are a great example.
  • Timing – Some games are timed. New tiles are continuously added and the player is under pressure to make matches before the board fills up.

The Success of Match 3 puzzle games

Match 3 games have been pretty popular within the puzzle games genre. They’re generally casual, visually appealing, and give the player a feeling of satisfaction upon level completion. This simplicity is great for casual gamers and lazy gamers who don’t like extra difficulty. Those people will keep these games thriving.

match 3 games
Another popular Match 3 Puzzle game – Gardenscapes

Above all, many mobile games incorporate the tile-matching mechanics, into their own gameplay. It enables them to offer their own twist of the original Match 3 game. Another reason why these types of games are so successful is that these games are generally easy to market. Most of the big titles also spend heavily on User Acquisition and paid marketing campaigns. These advertising efforts can also contribute to their huge success.

To highlight the scale of these games: according to a Sensor Tower blog post, King’s Candy Crush series saw an average of $4.2 Million per day in player spending in 2018, pushing the franchise’s total past $1.5 Billion.

in conclusion, Match 3 games have been in the limelight of mobile games top grossing lists. It seems that they are not going anywhere anytime soon.

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This is so true ever since i have a smartphone i have match 3 games. My favourites are still candy crush soda and homescapes.

Tousif Hasan Biswas

They are really addictive! Even I was about to get addicted to Hay Day Pop, then I uninstalled it. 😀

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