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Cart #matchem_0_6-6 | 2023-01-16 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Matchem is a traditional match three gem game, it is designed to be played either with a challenging time/move limited level mode, or a more relaxed endless mode.

Challenge mode:

Complete a color objective within a time limit or within a fixed number of moves.

Endless mode:

Play forever!

Daily Run Mode: Challenge yourself and your friends to achieve the high score of the day! Everyone's board and random gems will be the same each day.

Previous Cart Versions


Cart #matchem_0_5-0 | 2023-01-08 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License


Cart #matchem_0_4-0 | 2022-12-31 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License


Cart #matchem_0_3-0 | 2022-12-31 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License


Cart #matchem_0_2-0 | 2022-12-28 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License


Cart #matchem_0_1-0 | 2022-12-26 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Game Notes

  • Matching 4 or more gives a "star" gem, which when matched will explode and destroy an entire row and column.
  • Ice gems have to be matched twice to be destroyed.
  • Time gems can add 5 seconds to timed levels in challenge mode when destroyed.


  • Animate swapping gems. (0.2)
  • Add "combo" displays. (0.3)
  • Add scoring. (0.3)
  • Add ice gems that require being matched twice to destroy (added difficulty). (0.4)
  • With ice gems, cap number of gems required to complete the level and increase ice gem chance instead. (0.4)
  • Add move limits to challenge mode. (0.5)
  • Add ability to have more than one gem color objective at a time in challenge mode. (Scratched idea)
  • Daily run mode: Use current date to seed the randomize function, and go for the highest score of the day. (0.6)
  • Additional sfx. (0.6)
  • Background music. (0.5)
  • Some different backgrounds (if there is sprite space) or just day and night cycle of current background.


0.6.5 (2023-01-16)

  • Enhanced intro screen. It now uses the board logic to display a mini tutorial on how to play.
  • Update label.

0.6.4 (2023-01-16)

  • Enhanced background animation and imagery.
  • Added option to disable background.

0.6.3 (2023-01-15)


  • Fixed issue with rendering result screen.

0.6.2 (2023-01-15)


  • Improved predictability of where a star will be placed. The star will now try to form on the piece you swapped to.
  • Added a hint system that will nudge a piece for a valid move after 3 seconds of inaction. Can be disabled in the menu.


  • Fixed an issue where the next level would sometimes not get triggered.

0.6.1 (2023-01-14)


  • Fixed a crash on the game over results screen after challenge mode.

0.6 (2023-01-13)

Note, this will likely be the last WIP release prior to going gold.


  • Daily run mode has been added. This mode is a 2 minute run to see who can get the highest score. The daily score is recorded in cart data so won't be lost when leaving or resetting the cart. The high score will only be reset when the daily run seed changes (next day). See which of your friends is the best Matchem' player!
  • "Time gems" will periodically appear on time based levels in challenge mode that when destroyed will add five seconds to the level clock.
  • Added option to toggle background music in the pause menu.
  • Minor: Display current game version on title screen.

Bug fixes:

  • Prevent floating text from being right on top of each other.
  • Fixed the weighted gem selection to be closer to expected randomness.
  • Fixed crash in endless mode.

0.5 (2023-01-08)


  • Background music!
  • New level type in challenge mode: Move limits, complete the objective in a fixed number of moves.
  • GUI: Improved challenge mode objectives display.


  • Fixed player able to move the cursor diagonally.

0.4 (2022-12-31)

  • Added ice blocks which when "destroyed" will simply convert to a normal gem. They do not count towards challenge objective.
  • Capped challenge mode gem objective count to 50, however now each level will increase the odds of ice blocks spawning to replaced destroyed gems.

0.3 (2022-12-31)

  • Added combo indicator.
  • Added scoring.
  • Show floating text of scores when gems are matched.
  • Show highest combo and score on the results screen on completion of challenge mode.

0.2 (2022-12-28)

  • Animate swapping gems.
  • Allow for moving the cursor while animations are occurring so combos don't "feel" frustrating.
  • Draw a cursor state when the player is not allowed to swap (during animations).

0.1 (2022-12-26)

  • Initial WIP release
P#123082 2022-12-26 19:18 ( Edited 2023-01-16 21:40)

Hi @cjsaylor:

I think it would be better if you show the sliding marble animation prior to a match. Currently it just removes the marbles not showing the marbles you are swapping.

P#123111 2022-12-27 06:58

@dw817 I actually have a to-do in the code for animating the marble move. That may be the next thing I work on. I think it will likely be a fast animation to not interrupt the flow too much.

P#123122 2022-12-27 12:25

@dw817 Swap animation has been implemented as well as an improvement to how the cursor works in 0.2.

P#123201 2022-12-28 21:45

Alright, @cjsaylor. Looks great with the animation. Gold star.

If you're not familiar with Bejeweled 3, you should. They have all kinds of interesting mini quests such as Butterflies, Gold Rush, Alchemy, Stratamax, Balance, Avalanche, Buried Treasure, Time Bomb, Poker, Ice Storm, and Sandstorm.


Certainly I don't expect all if any of these for Pico-8 yet it's always good research to look at a previous game such as this magnitude to see where to continue your own.

Good luck and great programming !

P#123367 2022-12-31 18:34

@dw817 I'll look into some of those game modes. I still have half available tokens, so plenty of room to play with.

P#123385 2022-12-31 22:03

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