The classic Collapse! game is played on a board of twelve columns by fifteen rows. Randomly colored blocks fill the board, rising from below. By clicking on a group of 3 or more blocks of the same color, the whole group disappears in a collapse and any blocks stacked above fall down to fill in the vacant spaces. If a whole column is cleared, the elements slide to the center of the field. If one or more blocks rise beyond the top row of the board, the game is lost. If the player manages to survive a specified number of lines without losing, they win the level and are awarded points for successful completion.
A level usually begins with a few rows of blocks using a starting set of colors (typically red, green, blue, white, and yellow.). One after the other, new blocks are added to a "feed" row below the board. When the feeder row has filled, all of its blocks are moved up, to the active board, shifting the field of remaining blocks higher. During the course of a level, the rate of new blocks entering the feed increases. New colors may also be introduced, making it more challenging for the player to find groups that are large enough to be collapsed.
In higher levels of the game, "bombs" appear, mixed among the blocks. The bombs are black (in which case clicking on them causes the surrounding blocks to disappear), or are the color of one of the groups of bricks (in which case clicking on the bomb eliminates all bricks on the board that are the same color). Black bombs have the additional quality of serving as a bridge between bricks of the same color; if two or more bricks of the same color are touching a bomb, then clicking one of those bricks has the same effect of clicking on a group of three or more bricks of the same color. In Super Collapse 3!, this rule is changed to allow colored bombs to act as a bridge between matching groups.
When a player completes a certain number of "even-numbered" levels (i.e., from level 2, 4, 8, 10, 14 and 16), a bonus level is played. Here, the player has 15 seconds to completely clear a screenful of bricks and earn extra points.