Developed by Zoë Mode, Chime is one of the most creative puzzle games available from the Xbox Live Arcade. In Chime players place Tetris-like blocks on a grid to create “quads” with the goal of obtaining 100% coverage of the map. The background music of Chime is indirectly controlled by the player. The shape (and size) of quads made, plus the percentage of coverage on each level contributes to add different elements to the music. The soundtrack of Chime is a groovy mix of trance by artists such as Phillip Glass and Moby. There are five different levels to unlock and two different modes: free-play and time mode.
Each level in Chime has its own distinct music, grid, and piece set. This creates variety and makes building quads increasingly harder to do. With several different game modes and leader boards for each one, Chime has great replay value. There are also several challenging but not impossible achievements to obtain.
Time mode is where players race against a clock of three, six, or nine minutes. The goal is to obtain complete coverage of the screen while building your high score. Time extensions are granted by quickly covering the map with quads. In Chime’s free-play mode, there is no time limit. This is great for those who do not like the stress of playing against a clock. While one cannot score points through free-play, several of the achievements are acquired more easily than in Chime’s timed mode.
There are a few negatives that gamers eyeing Chime should be aware of. The first is size. Chime takes up over 800 megabytes of space on your Xbox 360 hard drive. For those with a 60 gigabyte hard drive or larger, this shouldn’t be an issue. Those with an older Xbox 360 may have to delete an Xbox Live Arcade game or two to make room for Chime. The large space needed for Chime may seem odd considering that there are only five levels; however this is because of the many large high quality audio files that create a unique mix each time one plays the game. The fact that there are only five different levels to play makes Chime feel small.
The second disappointment I had during my analysis of Chime is that whenever a time extension (or another message) appeared on the screen it partially blocks part of the view. While for the most part it wasn’t a big issue, the times that I received the messages while trying to place pieces in that area sometimes resulted in crucial errors. This could have been remedied if the messages were more transparent. It would have also been more interesting if Chime had included a versus mode over Xbox Live, where both players received the same pieces.
Despite its drawbacks, Chime is a highly addictive puzzle game that I would personally recommend to anyone who is a fan of games like Tetris. For a low price of only 400 Microsoft Points ($5), one cannot go wrong purchasing Chime from the Xbox Live Marketplace. The fact that “more than 60 percent of the purchase price of Chime will be donated to children’s charities around the world, helping those who need it the most” will make you feel happy about your purchase. If that doesn’t, then the 50 gamer points and thank you message received upon pressing start the first time surely will.
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Originally published by David Leavitt on AnalogueHype.com here.