Cafe 3 in a Row is a match-3 tile game that features a hidden-story theme. A player must complete every level by clearing away stacks of tiles. They remove the tiles three at a time by matching them on a bar below the playfield.
The tiles appear on a white background decorated with plants and floating flowers. Each tile displays an item commonly found in cafés and eateries, such as a banana bunch, cabbage head, carrot, cauliflower crown, cluster of grapes, onion, orange and tomato. Unlike many common, similar games, the player faces few restrictions. They can't remove tiles in shadows or place tiles on the bar if it's full. Otherwise, they can select any tile that isn't in a shadow.
The player receives boosters to help them find matching tiles and correct mistakes, including boosters undo the last relocation of a tile to the bar, match three tiles automatically and reorder the tiles to find matches faster. After the player wins a certain number of levels, they receive an anthropomorphic winner's trophy marked with a smiley face and free boosters. The player can also receive boosters by watching advertisements.
The story element in Cafe 3 in a Row has a unique element. The player must play an unknown number of levels to unlock images in a separate area that reveal the game's true purpose and a special story.