Review: Chime

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
0 0 0 0 0
Additional Notes
This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)!

Summary of major issues
The only possible issue here is with the lyrics of one of the songs. There's no swearing or anything, but it does refer to characters being dead. See the Concerns and Issues section for more detail.

Screenshots

[view screenshot]
Trying to cover everything

[view screenshot]
A Companion Cube is ready

[view screenshot]
Freeplay mode doesn't have a timer

General Information

Genre:Rhythm / Puzzle ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Commercial My Rating:Everyone
Played on:Martha, Thaddeus
Available from: Steam
Save System:Your high score and progress is recorded after the game is over.

To pause the game during play, press ESC.

Game Overview

Chime is a rather unique puzzle game. While the player manipulates pieces on the playfield, their actions alter how the level's music is played, and in turn, this affects other visual effects that respond to the rhythm of the current song. The result is a surreal and beautiful effect that makes this game one of a kind.

The gameplay itself is rather simple. In each level, you are presented with a large grid, and your task is to fill it up by using various pieces to create "quads". A "quad" is a rectangular group of blocks; you'll know if you've created one because it'll display its current size and start to fill up. While it's filling, you can add more pieces to the sides to expand it. The larger your quads are, the more points you'll earn, so big quads are often better quads.

While you're working on that, a meter line is slowly making its way across the grid in time with the music. The meter line is both your friend and your enemy, as it interacts with the pieces and quads on the grid. When it touches pieces, they become discolored. After enough passes, they'll begin flashing. Once the meter line touches a flashing piece, all of the older pieces on the grid disappear and your score multiplier is reset.

But, when the meter line touches a completed quad, it will collect that quad and leave behind a mark on the grid to show that area has been covered. This is your main goal, and it's also how you influence the music. The more areas you cover, the more alive the game becomes, until you either run out of time or fill the grid up completely. If you do manage to cover an entire grid, the level starts over and you'll get some bonus points.

Throughout all of this is a timer that dictates how much longer you have to play. Covering more of the grid earns you extra time, but only so much. Eventually you won't be able to keep up, the timer will run out, and the game will end. Your final score gets calculated, and you're ready to start another game.

Ultimately, this is a nice relaxing game that's worth a try one quiet afternoon. The sequel, Chime Sharp, might also be worth a look if you like this version of the game.

Pros

The trick with the music is really cool
Chime's primary feature isn't really the puzzle itself. It's the way that the pieces you place dynamically alter the music being played. Probably the biggest feat of the game's design is that none of the changes feel or sound spliced together, even when the original song wasn't intended to be played like this.


Popular musicians in the ranks
You probably know who Phillip Glass is, though you might not recognize him by name. His ethereal songs have accompanied many animated sequences on the popular TV show Sesame Street, so you might well recognize his style if you grew up watching that show.

Chime's final level is Still Alive, the song played during the credits of Portal. Additionally, this level contains an easter egg: by reaching certain amounts in your score multiplier, you can summon Companion Cubes. These act like 3x3 pieces you can use to create quads. If you can do this enough times you'll even earn an achievement, and since it's harder than it sounds, that's an achievement you feel accomplished earning.


Endless mode
Just want to play Chime for fun? There's an untimed endless mode available. Naturally, you don't earn points in this mode, but it can be good for practicing certain levels or just to enjoy the dynamic music and light show that accompanies them.


Steam features offer alternative goals
The main goal of the game is just to earn a higher score or cover more of the level than you did earlier. However, the achievements provide some other ideas, such as attempting to make a quad that stretches the entire width of the puzzle. That's not as simple as it sounds, considering the pieces you have to work with don't usually fit against the edge of the level well.


Cons

Only 6 levels
One of the most common complaints with Chime is that there aren't many songs to play. Fans of the game often ask for more levels or the ability to create your own, even offering to purchase them as DLC. The closest we've come is the sequel, and although that gave us 15 more songs, players still want more. The problem here isn't that these are bad songs -- it's just that there isn't enough content to satisfy the fans.


Concerns and Issues

Mild caution with the lyrics
The only thing about this game that could be concerning is the last song, which is Still Alive. This is the song played during the credits of Portal, and contains some odd comments. Basically, despite appearances, GLaDOS (the AI antagonist from Portal) wasn't completely destroyed during the adventure. Thus, she spends the credits singing about how she's still, in fact, alive.


Photosensitive warning
As you progress in a level, the effects caused by the music begin to be more dramatic. Specifically, the screen starts flashing with stronger beats, and these bursts of color may be problematic for people who are photosensitive.