The ski trip of your dreams to the Alps turns into a freezing nightmare when an avalanche strands you cold and lonely, far from civilization and help. A remote ski resort seems like your best chance for rescue, but it quickly becomes clear that there's something strange about the residents, and they might not have your best interests at heart. ERS Game Studio takes the reins for this spiritual sequel to the original hidden-object adventure.
Azkend 2 stands out in the crowded match-3 genre through its excellent art, music and voice-acting, constantly changing challenges and tricky puzzles requiring custom approaches. Follow the main character on a journey into a maelstrom and back. With 60+ levels in story mode and tons of replay value, it's a lot of bang for the buck.
A remarkable sequel to one of the most engaging match-3 games ever, 4 Elements. Once again the elements are out of whack in the Magic Kingdom and it's up to you to make things right before all life ceases to exist. Prepare for tons of elemental delights!
Lucid is a simple, colorful, matching-based puzzle game from YeaBoing. It ditches complexity in all its forms in favor of a pure puzzle experience, slowly ratcheting up the difficulty to keep your brain thinking as fast as you can match dreamy-colored tiles.
Here's a novel idea: do something with the match-3 genre that's fun and interesting! Cave Quest from MD Studio combines a number of familiar puzzle concepts with a smattering of hidden object and adventure scenes. It's all laced together with a shoestring storyline that keeps you moving from one area to the next, solving simple inventory puzzles and swapping tiles like nobody's business. It's something fresh and interesting to try out, especially if you've been around the match-3 block a few times!
When your car veers off the road one night following a bizarre episode, you have no choice but to seek help at the comfortingly named Drowned Dead Hotel despite the frantic warnings of one of the young women living there. It quickly becomes apparent that you're going to need more than a mechanic to get out, and both the crumbling hotel and nearby town hold more than their share of unpleasant little secrets. Codeminion's latest hidden-object adventure allows you to switch to match-3 on the fly if you don't like item searching, and also provides some genuinely creepy atmosphere to make one very engrossing game.
Cradle of Rome 2 takes us back to the origins of the ancient city, telling the (abbreviated) tale of Romulus and Remus and allowing you to build Rome in as many or few days as you please, one match at a time.
A spaceship filled with traveling orbs has crashed on a strange planet. The crates holding its living passengers have been scattered across the world, and as the lone captain, it's your job to find them all. Ballville: The Beginning is a matching puzzle game that emphasizes characters, unlockables, and action over tile swapping, creating an experience rich in variety that will keep you interested level after level just to see what strange new things you'll uncover.
Bejeweled has been around for almost a decade, and its popularity is showing no signs of waning. From the original browser game released in 2001 to the 2009 re-envisioning in Bejeweled Twist, practically every person who's ever touched a computer knows about the series. PopCap invests a lot of effort into the scarce Bejeweled sequels, and as soon as you see what Bejeweled 3 has to offer, you'll appreciate the extra attention that was put in to getting you hooked on gem swapping all over again.
Going back to its roots, the latest game in this match-3 series is all about making you serious about spheres. Luxor: 5th Passage takes a sideways step in the matching genre, introducing some new facets while never forgetting its core gameplay.
Play Knight or Princess in this third installment of the Knightfall series. Destroy groups of like colored blocks to help our heroes slay monsters, collect keys, and get safely to the exit. Survive long enough and you may find out what happened to your stolen loot, and what's behind this mysterious "Taxman".
MythPeople returns with another gorgeous puzzle game that bends the rules at all the right places. Heroes of Kalevala is a match-3 puzzle game infused with a village building sim. This means you get to swap tiles in MythPeople's traditionally dramatic manner and earn gold to build a city with. As you play, you unlock new buildings for your town and discover new power-ups, creating that "just one more level" feeling we love in our casual games!
Far to the north in an ancient tower a paladin may have gone astray and awoken something dangerous deep beneath the ice. It's up to you to investigate... provided you have the stones for it. The smash-hit rpg/match-3 puzzle hybrid returns with all the addictive adventurous gameplay you remember plus some significant additions. Clear your agenda for the next week and turn off the phone... adventure awaits.
Pizza Chef 2 does what few time management and match-3 puzzle games care to do: try something different. Instead of fusing the former with the latter or the latter with the former, Pizza Chef 2 has made both genres equally reliant upon the other, meaning you can't take the matching out of the time management and vice versa. What you get is a strong casual game of simple strategy, quick thinking, and spatial reasoning combined in a very rare balance.
If you love match-3 games and are looking for a new challenge, then Geisha: The Secret Garden is definitely for you. With an entirely new strategy to learn and innovative obstacles to overcome, the game manages to make the genre feel entirely new and interesting. With its timed and untimed modes we're talking gameplay that everyone can enjoy. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, listen to the sound of one hand clapping, and start meditating now.
Gorgeous to look at, easy on the ears and with a fun new twist to the old match 3 dynamic, Paradise Quest is tons and tons of match 3 fun, with enough side tasks to break up the gameplay and keep it feeling fresh. Entertaining, educational, and fun for the entire family.
Simplz: Zoo combines a match-3 puzzle game with a casual simulation for a new and compelling experience. Now, you may have heard that story before when Floating Kingdoms came along, but this one has a potent blend of the genres that interconnects so thoroughly, everything you do in one directly affects the other. The result is a game that elegantly moves you back and forth while giving you the freedom to customize the experience to your liking.
What's a person to do if they just want some match 3 goodness? Check out The Treasures of Montezuma 2 by Alawar Games. There's a ton of gorgeous gameplay featured here. Complete the initial 40 levels of Adventure mode and unlock lots more to do. Additional difficulty modes and 40 levels of puzzle mode, and even an endless mode, too. There are even trophies for various achievements as well that you can aim to collect.
Ahoy, matees! I be here to tell you the gruesome tale of The Adventures of Mary Ann: Lucky Pirates! It be— ahem, it is a match 3 game that combines three methods of puzzle gameplay with casino games to create an adventure of near-epic proportions. The game itself takes place along a Caribbean that exists only in tall tales and Disney movies. Your job is to help Mary Ann defeat all enemies and find all treasures until she rules the Pirate world.
Oh no! The famous Willmore Candy Factory is on its last legs! Orders are being delayed, the pipes in the Chocomat are out of alignment, the furnace has broken down, and there are bits of metal getting into the candies. What's a recently graduated college gal to do? Why, save Grandpa's Candy Factory, of course! It's a fantastic puzzle game packed with variety and visuals so gorgeous, you'll want to eat them. Mmm.
The Lost Inca Prophecy, from Seppia Interactive, blends match 3 gameplay with the look and feel of a hidden object/adventure hybrid. You play as Acua, a young Spanish woman living around the time of Columbus. One day a book in your beloved library speaks to you, giving you a prophecy about the doom of the Inca Empire. The next thing you know you are on your way to the New World with your friend Juan de Salcedo — a brave conquistador — as your only companion.
You'd think that being able to do magic would make things like running a magic shop a snap. Just wave your wand and POOF everything is taken care of. Well, turns out it's not all that easy, if Mystic Emporium is any indication. In fact, it's going it take all of your time-management skills to be a successful magic shop owner and satisfy the mystical people and creatures of the realm.
Sugar-coated, filled with rainbows and sunshine and love, and cheerier than a dentist the day after Halloween, Yousumin! is a new puzzle game from Square-Enix. In the same way Bejeweled Twist put a spin on the matching genre, Yosumin! shifts things around to deliver a new kind of puzzle game that's unique yet familiar at the same time.
New from Myth People, creator of Miriel the Magical Merchant and Azkend, comes another matching-based puzzle game with a new take on an old mechanic: Dragon Portals. The friendly dragons have been bound to earth with dark magic. Young Mila is called in to save them by dropping orbs from one dragon to another, matching groups of like-colored ones to keep the dragons aloft. It's a nice departure from most matching games, and combined with Myth People's signature art direction and epic power-ups, makes a game well worth trying out.
With a solid story and hours of gameplay, Cindy's Travels: Flooded Kingdom is a game that builds upon the basic match-3 mechanic with additional gameplay elements. While character perspective may take a bit to get used to, it certainly doesn't detract from the fun packed into this title. Take up Cindy's mirror, clear the land of refuse, and get back to the business of "happily every after."
Is your current job getting you down? Does it feel like you need a microscope to look at your paycheck, or like your boss doesn't truly appreciate your creativity, knack for finding hidden objects, and aptitude at matching three or more objects of the same color? Are you at a dead end in your career? Cheer up! An exciting field is open and waiting for you as an Alchemist's Apprentice!
Sea Journey is... well, it's Puzzle Quest with pirates! Built around a tile-swapping Bejeweled-like game, you venture into the great blue ocean in search of treasure, upgrading your vessel along the way. Each match 3 game you play is a fierce battle at sea, complete with cannon salvos and mystical spells conjured by talismans.
4 Elements combines classic puzzle matching gameplay with a hidden object game and just a dash of fairy tale fantasy for good measure. Help restore the power of the elements to protect the land from an evil power.
Unwell Mel is a light-hearted and humorous match-3 puzzle game. In the grid comprised of Mel's organs (some of which are shaped like dogs and birds, which we'll assume is normal), click two adjacent pieces of food to swap them and form a line of three in a row to clear them. Thrown in with the food are medical packs, which can restore your power-ups, and bugs that, in some instances, actually help you clear away disease.
Dreamsdwell Stories is a unique match-3 type puzzle game with some strategy game (as in the village building variety such as Totem Tribe or Westward III) elements that build into the experience. Wrapped in a package of crisp, sometimes beautiful, graphics and catchy theme music, the core of Dreamsdwell will have you enjoying the game for hours.
Boonka is a cute, kid-safe and surprisingly challenging puzzle game with unique gameplay that combines strategy, timing and satisfying explosions. A luscious green paradise has been invaded by Skours, nasty black clouds who cut down trees and turn the whole world grey, chasing away the adorable rainbow-coloured Boonkas and generally being total downers. The sage Bababoonka introduces you to each tree, and gently encourages you through the process of growing them from a stunted stump to a magnificent specimen of hardwood by doing what you do best: making color matches and blasting them skywards!
Bejeweled Twist is PopCap's latest installment in the well-recognized series. Instead of clicking a single tile and then choosing an adjacent space to move it to, Bejeweled Twist turns your cursor into a 2x2 circle that spins its contents one quarter turn clockwise. The result is a new kind of match 3 that's fresh and fun all over again.
Jump Jump Jelly Reactor is a matching puzzle game that isn't afraid to try out new ideas. Instead of flat and boring blocks, tiles or even gems, this game fills your screen with lively jellies that can be combined to form larger characters with brand new properties. Gameplay is a unique combination of strategy and puzzle matching that extends a good variety of tasks your way. It's rare that a matching game really catches my eye, but Jump Jump Jelly Reactor provides such a full experience, it's hard to pass up.
- • Ancient Quest of Saqqarah
- • Puzzle Hero
Sometimes a formula just works, and in the case of the tried-and-true matching setup, we've seen it work time and time again. This edition of Weekend Download highlights a few new games that take the matching to a new level with interesting twists on the old convention.
With DragonStone, dev studio PlayPond bravely mashed a marble-grouping game with a shoot-em-up, spray-painted it with a medieval fantasy theme, and literally turned the whole thing on its head. The result is an exciting and perilously addictive experiment, with the friendly face and high production values of a casual game.
Following the highly-successful footsteps of puzzle-RPG hybrids, Spandex Force combines several match 3-style jewel swapping games with a sim-like spoof of superhero life. Patrol the city surrounding your headquarters searching for thieves and citizens in need. When you engage a bank robber or intervene to save a helpless human, a simple puzzle interface appears as your challenge to complete the task. It's a surprisingly fresh take on a rather tired genre that scores major points for wearing a wacky sense of humor on its sleeve.
If you've seen one match three game, you've seen 'em all, right? Azkend aims to change that, but not in the way you might think. Instead of shaking up the gameplay or introducing awkward new features, developer MythPeople spent time polishing the game to a brilliant shine. The end result is typical puzzle gameplay with an absolutely gorgeous visual design and sound package. It goes to prove that a rich presentation can turn an otherwise ordinary game into a real gem.
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords blends a match 3 game with an old-school fantasy RPG. As you roam the overworld you complete quests, earn gold, gain experience, buy equipment and upgrade your stats just like any role playing game. But when you encounter an enemy a Bejeweled-like tile swapping game appears. Match gems to cause damage and collect mana to cast spells to help you defeat your enemy. It's a remarkably well-balanced game that's as easy to pick-up and play as it is to continue playing for hours upon hours. And it's one of the most addictive games I've played in a very long time.