Shariki (Russian, "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 in a 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: