Butterfly Shimai is a timed, connect-style, tile-matching game based on the idea that butterflies have matching siblings or pairs of wings. The player must match identical wings on a two-tone purple board hanging in a nighttime forest to create beautiful butterflies before a vertical two-minute timer on the lower-left side of the screen runs out of glowing blue light.
The connect play of the game requires the player to match the wings by linking them with no more than three glowing white lines. As a result, they can only connect adjacent matching pairs and wings separated by gaps that only up to three straight lines can run through during a pairing. They can create both realistic and fantasy butterflies. The latter includes butterflies with feathers and leaves for wings, and bat and bee bodies and wings.
Bufferfly Shimai challenges the players by turning the created butterflies into a distraction. They fly away, fly back across, or hover atop the board. It also displays wings that blend in a lot with each other or the background on some levels. That said, every pairing adds a second or two to the timer. Additionally, the game supplies two hints and two shuffles for free. If the player needs more help, they can earn extra ones by watching ad videos.
The player receives points for every pairing. If they complete their task quickly, they receive a time bonus of extra points and restoration of some or all hints and shuffles. If they fail a level, they must restart from the first one and try to beat their top score, which the game displays under the current one near the upper-left corner.