Chime Super Deluxe
In this day and age of apps, minis and other cheap gaming downloadables, it’s overwhelming to sift through the garbage and pull out a gem. This especially becomes true when you delve into the puzzle genre as more puzzle apps are churned out faster than than your 4G connection can handle. When I started playing Zoe Mode’s Chime I took all of these facts into consideration, but yet remained unbiased. I’m certainly glad I didn’t play this game intending to hate it because I would have been disappointed. Chime is a wonderful addition to the music-puzzle game genre that entertains without being completely gimmicky or devoid of challenge.
In Chime your goal is simple: make quads. Quads are made by piecing together falling blocks of various shapes into solid 3×3 blocks. You control one piece at a time and can manipulate the direction of the block until you’re ready to place it. You’re free to place blocks anywhere on the grid with the ultimate goal of covering at least 50% of the grid by the time the round is over. You score points based on the size of your quads and the amount of grid you can cover before the end.
While this is all well and good, what sets Chime apart from other Tetris-clones is the musical element to each stage. Every stage is based around a specific musical score. Some are slower, some are faster; all of them are a great fit for the game. The original release of Chime featured only 5 scores with the current release for PS3 containing extra tracks. Tracks range from Phillip Glass’ “Brazil” to “Ooh yeah” by Moby and beyond.
The music in the game is not just there for ambiance, but is a significant gameplay element. As the stage progresses a “beat bar” moves across the screen in time with the music. The bar moves across the grid causing any blocks in its path to solidify onto the grid. Blocks become instruments that are played by the beat bar as it moves along them. The more blocks on the grid, the better the music. For quads on the grid, they will become permanent and scored. The strategy of Chime comes from building bigger and bigger quads before the beat bar can fuse them. This can become hectic for faster songs, but is also where a lot of the fun and challenge lies. Once a quad is created any extra pieces of block start to fade. You still have a chance to reuse these pieces to build a quad, but after a few seconds they’ll be gone.
Some stages of Chime are serenely relaxing while others are a whirlwind of flying blocks. It’s perfect for any kind of player in any kind of mood. Time mode is great for putting on the pressure while free mode can provide never-ending enjoyment. Additionally, the visuals are perfectly minimalistic and suit the overall atmosphere nicely. The PS3 version also benefits from the addition of local and network multiplayer modes. Versus mode pits players against each other to see who can fill most of the grid and get the better score. Co-op mode is essentially the same, but now you’re working together.
Combine all of these features with excellent gameplay mechanics and a low price, and you have a great little downloadable that’s completely worth the price of admission.