I decided to challenge myself in writing a quick and dirty Match-3 game. Not sure, how I came up with the theme, but it occurred to me that Smileys with facial feature permutations would make for interesting content.
I spent a full day on art, using Inkscape and OpenClipArt. A big time saver is the Inkscape feature that lets you render a specified object from the command line, so I don't have to wrestle with the GUI to do all the exporting.
The next day was spent coding. The game is written in a C-Style C++, on top of my own engine with the help of SDL2. I'm happy to report that I had the basics working in only a day: you can swap Smileys, and after matching, the Smileys above fall down, and are replenished. No scoring yet, no sound, no visual effects. But I did put in a very cute feature for hints: All Smileys will look in the direction of a smiley you could swap for a match. I think that's a cute touch.
My matching mechanism is quite novel too, I think. Instead of simply matching up a colour or shape, you need to match up one of the facial features. So three Smileys with the same glasses will match up. So do three Smileys with the same hair. Or three Smileys with the same moustache/beard.
I found that this feature matching takes more mental effort than traditional colour matching. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? On one hand, it makes for less relaxing gameplay. On the other hand, it seems a more intense training for your mind. So it's a trade-off.
I am happy with the visual appeal of the board though. A varied collection of Smileys makes for a happy sight.