As a kid I can remember passing the time in my more tedious classes doodling solo Tic Tac Toe boards along the margins of my notes. When I was a bit older, the original browser-only version of Bejeweled became my game-of-choice — capturing my attention for hours at a time. Nowadays, my trusty iPhone is all I need to satiate my matching fix. With an ever-growing selection of match 3 titles to choose from, the problem isn’t finding a matching game; it’s finding a great quality title that’s worthy of your time. Luckily, I’m here to help separate the ordinary from the extraordinary. Check out a few of the best new match 3 games to hit the iOS App Store.
Borrowing from the tried and true match 3 formulas of games like Candy Crush and Bejeweled, Gummy Drop! exemplifies the best that the genre has to offer without fading into the background as another matching clone. Gummy Drop! tasks players with matching gummy shaped confections to acquire resources that are used to rebuild famous landmarks from around the world, but that’s just the beginning.
The latter stages boast more advanced structures that require multiple resource types in order to be constructed. In these scenarios, the player may need to complete or replay specific stages to obtain the correct materials before being able to bring the landmark to life. Managing your resources adds an unexpected strategic framework to Gummy Drop! that offers a fresh element to the game. It’s no wonder Gummy Drop is ranked among the top match 3 games at Big Fish.
Indie studio HeatPot Games has somehow managed to fuse two seemingly disparate gaming genres into an interactive experience that is rewarding, creative, and unexpectedly entertaining. The game is called Hero Emblems and let me tell you, this is not your average match 3 game. Paying homage to old school RPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, Hero Emblems puts players in control of four heroes who fit traditional role playing archetypes: the warrior, the mage, the healer, and the tank.
On the game board, each symbol corresponds to a specific party member. Aligning three emblems in a row initiates that particular character’s special action such as healing the party or attacking the enemy. Rather than feverishly matching every trio you see, players will have to strategize about what move to make and when. As is standard in the RPG repertoire, Hero Emblems has an open world for players to explore, dungeons to complete, and loot to be collected. You won’t find a deeper or more imaginative match 3 game out there.
Yet another winner by Big Fish Games, Greek Gems is an iOS masterpiece that will transport you to Mount Olympus atop a tower of carefully matched colorful gems. Incorporating match and collapse mechanics, Greek Gems is as lightning quick as it is explosive. The control scheme is perfectly suited to mobile play and boasts intuitive, no swipe functionality. Simply tap the corresponding matches and watch your score soar. In addition, carefully aligning many gems in a row can create a series of epic explosions that not only to clear up the board, but also generate massive point bonuses.
Greek Gems’ straightforward match 3 approach offers pure, unadulterated fun that both genre purists and nontraditional players will enjoy. Big Fish has not reinvented the wheel here and they’re not trying to. A game of this caliber that is equally stunning, addictive and thematically charming speaks for itself.
Bubble Jeopardy by Knick Knack Media takes your average match 3 game and flips it on its head, literally. As the name loosely implies, Bubble Jeopardy tasks players with matching different colored balloons around the game board, however in this case, when three icons are matched, the pieces move upward rather than dropping down from the top of the screen as you would normally see. Sure the idea sounds easy, but boy does it prove challenging to get used to.
Adding to the trend of difficulty, each level restricts the number of allowable moves a player can make turning each action into quite the nail-biter. Attractive animations and an enjoyable musical score help to facilitate a great foundation while letting the true focus, great gameplay, shine. With hundreds of levels to complete spanning various worlds, this match 3 installment is sure to keep you occupied for quite some time.
Let’s face it, there is something delightfully addictive about arranging like shapes, icons, or colors into simple patterns. Add a growing level of developer ingenuity along with a play style that welcomes users of any age or experience level, and it’s no wonder match 3 games are so popular in the casual gaming arena. In the words of Kelly Johnson, aircraft engineer in the U.S. Navy, “Keep it simple, stupid” — a philosophy that has led this genre to mass appeal and match 3 gaming into my heart.
Do you have any favorite new iOS match games that have you hooked lately? If so we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below? Share your ideas with other readers and let your gaming counterparts enjoy the fruits of your recommendations!