Matching Games An Explainer


Matching games are one of the most popular genres of games on the planet. You’ve probably played a few in your time, and the mechanics should feel familiar. That’s because the genre first became popularized in Bejeweled, which was released way back in 2001. Since then, matching games have become more complex by combining other mechanics into them and adding new ways to win each round. Today we’ll take a look at a few well-known examples of this fun and competitive genre—and throw some technical terms around while we’re at it!

How matching games are put together

Matching games are played on a grid. The grid is usually made up of tiles, which are placed in a certain order and then shuffled to create the game’s layout. These tiles can be square or hexagonal, and they can vary in size—some may be one-by-one squares while others might be two-by-two squares, for instance. Tiles can also be made up of different colors and shapes (hearts or diamonds, for example), which adds even more variety to matching games!

Games that combine matching with other mechanics

Matching games are a great way to learn about other mechanics. For example, matching games can teach you about strategy, pattern recognition, and problem solving. Matching games can also be used to teach you about memory, visual perception and attention to detail.

If you want to learn more about some of these other game mechanics then check out:

  • Strategy Games / How To Play Them / The Best Strategy Games Of All Time
  • Pattern Recognition Games / How To Play Them / The Best Pattern Recognition Games Of All Time
  • Problem Solving Games / How To Play Them / The Best Problem Solving Games Of All Time

Mechanics that make the genre even more dynamic

Matching games are a popular genre that’s been around for years. The mechanics of the game have remained fairly consistent over time, but developers have found ways to make the genre even more dynamic. Here’s an overview of how such games work:

  • You’re given a board that looks like this. There are empty spaces on it, and each space has a symbol on it (such as a circle or square).
  • The player clicks on one of these symbols and they move that piece to another board position, filling in the blank spot with their new selection until there is no more room left on the board or all pieces have been matched up with other pieces that share their exact image

Matching games have a lot of potential for complexity.

Matching games come in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of complexity. On any given day you might find yourself playing a matching game that involves nothing more than two colored squares. Or maybe you’ll be playing a matching game that requires players gather resources to build up their empires as they compete against each other. It could even be a puzzle game where players are tasked with figuring out the right sequence of moves required to reach the end goal of winning the match.

There are many different ways to play these games, too! You can play them solo; with just one person on your team; online or offline through multiplayer mode; locally against other people in person by passing around your smartphone or tablet between turns; digitally (iPad games like Candy Crush Saga); etcetera ad nauseam until 10 minutes from now when we run out of breathless energy after writing this sentence but still have more things left to say about how awesome these games are so let’s get busy already okay?


We hope you’ve learned a little about the depth and breadth of this genre. If you’re a player, we hope we’ve given you some insight into how these games work and why they work that way. And if you’re interested in game design, we hope to have provided some inspiration for your own projects. We believe there are even more ways to build on this genre, so keep exploring!

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