Prototype 3 - GumTrix

Match three or more colored blocks at a time to clear them before the stretchy surface breaks under their weight!

GumTrix (named as a combo of “gum” and “Tetris”) is a prototype by Schell Games programmer Matt D. The starting idea for the game was, “What if a match-three game used a flexible grid instead of a rigid one?” We were curious how the feel of gameplay would change on a dynamically shifting playing field.

Our first prototype focused on answering this question. To create a flexible grid set-up, we made the lower bound of our grid a “stretchy” surface that would increase its curve under the weight of dropped blocks. The dynamic playing field this created made for a matching game that was more stressful but also a lot of fun. Using Flash’s curve tools, we tweaked and balanced how flexible to make the grid, and also altered the distribution of blocks to drop in the middle more often than on the sides -- this kept the blocks on the sides from piling up too quickly, making the game easier to play. Once basic gameplay was feeling good, we introduced additional block types and powerups. If we were to keep iterating on GumTrix we’d probably explore even more block types and powerups, or even different surface setups (like levels with multiple stretchy lines).

Would you be interested in seeing further iteration passes on GumTrix? Let us know if there are elements of the game you’d like to experiment with, or other match-three game variants that would be fun to explore!