Shariki (Russian: Ша́рики, "The Balls") is a puzzle game by Russian programmer Eugene Alemzhin, developed for MS-DOS in 1994. The goal of the game is to gain progressively higher scores by matching three or more balls of the same color a in line (vertical or horizontal), by swapping adjacent balls. Each swap must result in a match. Matched balls are then removed, and new ones drop from the top to fill the gaps. The game is over when no more matches are possible in the game field.
Shariki proved to be a very influential game and eventually many games that closely matched its mechanics arose. Collectively known as match-three games, these all revolve around the mechanic of creating a three-in-a-row line of identical pieces. They include:
- Panel de Pon (1995) / Tetris Attack (1996) developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo
- Pokémon Puzzle League (2000) by Nintendo
- Bejeweled (2001) by PopCap Games
- Jewel Quest (2004) created and published by iWin
- Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (2007) developed by Infinite Interactive and published by D3 Publisher
- Aurora Feint (2008) game for the iPhone and iPod Touch
- Candy Crush Saga (2012)
- Pokémon Shuffle (2015) game for the Nintendo 3DS handheld console
- "Shariki on Casual Games Wiki". Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Article Shariki: The Predecessor of Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest
- Museum of Shariki games (in Russian)
- Shariki games online (in Russian)
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