Chime: Super Deluxe

You'd be forgiven, especially looking at the boxart, for thinking that Chime was a bit like Tetris, and to some extent that's a correct assumption. Much like the Grand Master of Puzzling, Chime features shapes (this time featuring five units, as opposed to the standard four) which must be fit together, without leaving gaps, to essentially remove portions of the gaming area. At this point though, the similarities stop, and Chime begins to show its own true colours, perhaps having taken a little inspiration from Lumines, resulting in a satisfying puzzler that interlinks music with your progress to provide a truly rewarding, exhilarating set of levels. Despite the crowded nature of the genre, with Critter Crunch, Lumines, Droplitz and Tetris already occupying top positions in the field, Chime carves out its own niche, with a fresh slice of music-based glory.

Chime

At its most simple, the game features a rectangular arena, and a selection of simple shapes. By creating rectangles with height and width both in excess of three units, the background colour of the arena changes. As the sweeper moves across the level, music plays out, and is augmented by any areas you have already successfully converted. The pieces you insert aren't dropped from the top of the screen, as in most other puzzlers, but instead can be placed anywhere with space available. The catch is that pieces are somewhat more fiddly, and that once a block forms, you have limited time to add to it before it changes the background and disappears. For a truly high score, and swift progress through a level, players must create large blocks, or blocks with no remaining offcuts. Any pieces that only partially fit into a rectangle leave behind fragments that, after a number of passes by the sweeper, will disappear, resulting in a reset of your score multiplier. The dynamic between screen coverage (by creating lots of rectangles) and careful management of fragments is a large part of the game's success, at least in terms of achieving high scores. For those simply aiming to complete levels quickly and unlock further arenas, there's still a balance between speed and placement. The main game mode features a timer countdown, either three, six or nine minutes, forcing you to play quickly, but placing a piece poorly could sabotage future placement completely. As a result, a careful, but efficient approach is required.

Chime

Despite the careful balancing of the game, it might all seem very average at this stage, but the true saviour of the game, the feature that sets Chime apart from standard puzzlers, is the interactivity of the music. As you unlock extra bars and layers of the music, it gradually draws you in, building your confidence and driving you forwards towards your goal. There's a steady sense of achievement as you create small blocks, but it's truly rewarding when you put together a large combo block, causing the music to escalate rapidly as you steam through a level. There are ten standard levels, each with their own unique colour and music themes, meaning that things stay reasonably varied too - it'd be pretty disappointing if it was just the same couple of tunes over and over.

The trophies in the game will motivate you to keep trying for higher scores and larger multipliers. One trophy even sees you attempting an entire level without ever losing your multiplier, which can be a tough challenge on some levels. Brilliantly, all the levels of the campaign can be attempted in both single player and two-player cooperative, which is an excellent touch. Working together to achieve 100% coverage is pretty enjoyable, and it might make a few of the tougher levels a little more achieveable. That said, if you get bored of your cooperative partner, there's always the option to start a competitive match, with the usual ability to send your cleared problems in the direction of your unsuspecting opponent.

Chime

Overall, Chime: Super Deluxe is a brilliant addition to PSN's range of entertaining puzzlers. It's sufficiently different from Tetris and Lumines to make it worth a look, though it should be said that the game won't appeal to everyone. While the music is varied, some tastes aren't catered for, and the classic block puzzling simply won't be suited to every gamer. However, for those that revel in the pattern-matching mayhem of block-based puzzlers, Chime is an ideal title to try out.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

OneBigGame

Developer:

Zoe Mode

Players:

1-4

Online:

Rankings

Release:

2011-04-06

Trophies:

12

Review summary

Gameplay:

Addictive stuff with a brilliant learning curve

Graphics:

Very, very simple, but bright and colourful

Sound:

Terrific music complemented by decent effects

Lastability:

Huge depth in score and combo building

8.5

Supernova

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