STAFF REVIEW of Chime (Xbox 360 Arcade)


Friday, February 5, 2010.
by Adam Dileva

Chime Box art OneBigGame is a new publisher that has a new mentality around its business; its non-profit and submits the majority of the proceeds (up to 80%) to charities and good causes such as Save the Children. Chime is an indie game developed by Zoe Mode (the people who brought us Youre In The Movies) and is very simple on concept and idea but large in gameplay and addictiveness.

Chime is an interesting take on the puzzle genre and would be the result if Tetris and Lumines had a baby together. Its a mash of puzzle piece solving and fitting ala Tetris coupled with the addictive and trance educing musical gameplay from Lumines.

First things first; when you start Chime you wont have any idea what you are doing and how. There really is no great tutorial of how to start playing properly or well; its just something that will come in time once you learn the intricacies and get past the learning curve.

When you start a level you will see a grid (usually rectangle-ish in shape) and you are given pieces that look similar to what youve come to know from Tetris (although there are many more weird and garbage pieces to throw you off). Your objective is to place these pieces together so that you make a 3x3 square on the board, which is called a quad. Your shapes cannot be place on top of one another so usually getting neat and tidy quads are quite difficult. As you make a squad and its cleared by the scrolling line (just like in Lumines) you claim that part of the board your quad was placed; the goal being to claim 50 percent of the board to unlock the next song and progress.


As you place your pieces and making quads, a beat line moves constantly across the screen left to right. When the line passes over your quads the music in the background will change and add more beats, vocals, or even other sounds that go along with the soundtrack. It may sound random at times but once you get your multipliers going and consistent, the songs sound quite entrancing. As the beat line passes your quads it will change the color on the board to signify that youve already cleared that small section of the game board. You need to move quick to keep your score multiplier up and you must complete 50 percent of the board before the song ends.

It may sound like this is all confusing, and it is at first, but its quite gratifying once you get the hang of it and can string together some big quads quite quickly. To make things even simpler to understand, heres the basics: Place blocks and make a 3x3 quad or bigger, create those quads to gain coverage, and gain that coverage to fill the grid.

The song selection is linked to the level choice and while there are only five levels (and songs), each playthrough doesnt always sound similar to the last due to the beat line and quads making different additional sounds to go along with the music. The soundtrack boasts some actual big artists as well such as Orbital, Moby, and Philip Glass (if youre into the mellow electronica). Each song has its own board layout and isnt as simple as the first square grid. With many corners to navigate and somehow fill, they become quite challenging.

While it is short on levels, it does make it up with online leaderboards that will track scores and coverage for each song. Seeing the competitions scores and coverage percents online makes it a good challenge (even though getting 100% on a board is incredibly difficult).

As mentioned before, the majority of the proceeds go to childrens charities and theres never anything wrong with that. While it wont take you long to complete the game and play al the songs, it does have some decent replayability if you are a fan of the genre. At 400 Microsoft points and the fact that its going to charity, I can easily recommend it to those looking for a new music based puzzler.





Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10

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