This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of Chime.
I like puzzle games based around music! It’s hard to hit a formula that works, and even harder to make it distinct.
Chime pulls off the former, but not so much the latter. The game basically boils down to Lumines with shapes closer to Tetris than squares; you drop shapes onto a grid, and create rectangles that gradually fill up. A vertical bar sweeps from left to right,and any full rectangles it encounters are wiped off the board to boost your score. If you can expand the overall shape before that bar is full, the bar resets and you can keep linking up to it until the sweeping bar cashes it in.
The levels vary in size and pre-filled spaces in the middle, and also shake up the different building blocks you can use. They can all be rotated to slot together in various ways and pieces are stamped down explicitly whenever you’re ready, which is smooth and responsive. Each of the half-dozen playing fields are also accompanied by a unique music track, and the choices are pretty good; you have some Moby, Phillip Glass and Orbital up in there, and the blocks you put together also affect the audio of the game.
It’s unfortunate that there’s no multiplayer, as a Tetris DS-style push mode with dynamic audio could have been a really neat experience. You do get to compare your scores on leaderboards that track both your timed and free mode scores, and there’s an achievement in it for you if you reach the 50 million total score plateau.
Perhaps the best part of Chime is developer Zoe Mode’s donation of all royalties to OneBigGame, a charity that donates to children’s charities around the world. As a substantial contributor to the Sick Kids Hospital and Child’s Play programs, I am really happy to support this cause!
Chime is a fun game at an incredibly affordable price of 400 points, most of which is going to a great cause. It’s not a revolution in puzzling, but it’s a neat Arcade experience that you should support.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars