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'Massive Match' Is Like Playing 'Candy Crush' With 100 People at Once

It's Bejeweled or Candy Crush Saga with an MMO aspect, and it works surprisingly well.
Image: Dave Leaver

I love Match 3 games. Some people gravitate toward Candy Crush Saga with its obnoxious paywalls, but for six years now my true love has been Bejeweled Blitz. I get in at least one round a day, and for years I've maintained a rivalry with a friend who might have otherwise drifted out of my life. Thus it was with some excitement that I booted up Massive Match, a new browser-based Match 3 game that lets me play with up to 100 other players on the same board at once.


It's enjoyable, if a bit much to take in. The last board I joined, for instance, measured a whopping 165 pieces wide and 53 high. The matches start with the game zoomed out where you see all that at a distance, but after pressing start, it rushes toward a smaller chunk of the playing field in a way that recalls the Powers of Ten video they used to show in schools.

Down at this atomic scale, it's the same, beloved match routine but with birds and whales and alligators and pigs in place of the usual gems (or pieces of candy, if you absolutely must). Here, though, the bottom of the board isn't always in sight--reaching it takes holding down the right mouse button and panning across the screen.

Image: Dave Leaver

As the pieces fall, I can see the cursors of the players around me and my score going up in the bottom left corner. There's a sense of competition with these roving circles, sure, but it's of the cooperative sort, sort of like holding my ground on an assembly line rather than bulldozing to victory. When someone enters my space, it feels more helpful than invasive, like it might when someone swoops in to steal my mountain silversage in World of Warcraft. I'll even admit I find the whole affair rather relaxing. I mean, just look at that GIF above. It's almost psychedelic.

Still, this would grow dull quickly if that were all there was to it. Fortunately, Massive Match has the wisdom to shake up the action with new objectives each time players complete a board. Sometimes we'll play on the pig team, and we'll have to avoid making matches with pigs while we aim to match pug pieces. Sometimes we'll need to get 11 robots to the bottom of the screen by matching the critters beneath them. At other times still, we just need to match 4,700 animals within 40 seconds. According to developer Dave Leaver, who created Massive Match all on his own, more modes are on the way.

It lags a bit, but Leaver is quick to point out that it's only an alpha and that he hopes to fix it by next week. In fact, Leaver wrote about the technical aspects of Massive Match's development over at Gamasutra if you're into that sort of thing. For me, I'm looking forward to short matches of Massive Match at the end of my work days, where I can clean up my little messes in a trance alongside other people with only a playful sense of competition driving me on.

Some adults today like coloring books for reaching this kind of state. As for me, I think I've found my match.