Review: Chime Sharp

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)! Steam Trading Cards are available!

Summary of major issues
This puzzle game doesn't have any objectionable content to worry about.

Screenshots

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A typical game

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Sharp mode

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And here's a Challenge board

General Information

Genre:Puzzle ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Commercial My Rating:Everyone
Played on:Thaddeus
Available from: Humble Store, Steam
Save System:Any progress you make, such as your high score and what tracks you've unlocked, is recorded at the end of a game.

To pause the game, press ESC to bring up the pause menu.

Game Overview

The original Chime was a fun and relaxing little diversion. In fact, people enjoyed it enough that they frequently begged the creators for more content, and our pleading was eventually realized with Chime Sharp. However, as much as everyone wanted a sequel, it's up in the air as to whether or not the wait was worth it.

Simply put, it feels like something important is missing. While Chime Sharp does add a lot of new content -- a total of fifteen new songs and several new game modes -- it also includes some changes to the original formula. For example, levels are considered cleared before you completely cover the grid, and the level doesn't feature lighting effects like the previous game did. The latter is certainly one of the problems, as the levels don't really dance like they did in the past, but I don't think this is the main culprit.

After going between the two games for a bit, I think the real problem is the new music selection. It's just not as atmospheric or lively as the original selection, and since that was one of the main selling points of the game, it's a serious problem for Chime Sharp.

Additionally, while you can play each song using several different rulesets, you need to unlock them by reaching a high score in the previous mode. This is harder to do than it sounds, as you don't have the ability to choose the length of your game anymore. Also, you're just expected to know what these modes are talking about, as they use new terminology (such as "perfect quad") without defining them in-game. You'll either need to figure it out on your own or read through the game's manual. The catch is that the manual is a PDF that you'll need to access outside of the game.

Ultimately, this sequel doesn't have the same magic the original game did. It feels unpolished, and to a degree, like it was forced out the door.

Pros

Five modes per song
When you first unlock a new song, you have access to that song's Practice and Standard modes. These two modes use the traditional rules that originated in the first game. The main difference between them is that Practice mode features a simpler grid, allowing you to get familiar with the piece set for that song.

If you manage to reach 60% coverage in Standard mode, then you'll unlock Sharp mode. Sharp mode differs from the Standard rules in two ways. Firstly, quads don't fill up over time; they are automatically filled as soon as they are placed. Secondly, the timer has been replaced with a lives system. Each time a piece falls off the grid, you'll lose a life. The only way to get them back is to complete "perfect quads", which are quads that don't leave fragments behind. Run out of lives, and the game ends.

If you somehow manage to cover 60% of the board in Sharp mode, then Strike mode unlocks. Unlike the other modes, Strike mode has a fixed time limit and simple goal: you have 90 seconds to score as many points as possible.

Lastly, if you can earn 100% or more coverage in the Standard mode for a song, you'll unlock the song's Challenge mode. This plays similarly to the Standard mode, except the grid is more difficult to work with and the selection of pieces has been altered slightly.


Steam community features
There's a nice set of Steam trading cards for you to earn while playing through the various songs, but chance are, you'll be more interested in earning the 17 achievements that are on offer. Most of these revolve around completing a certain number of perfect quads or covering the grid in different ways, but a few of them will truly put your skills to the test.


Cons

New track message glitch
Normally, you need to unlock new songs (ie, "tracks") by reaching 60% coverage in an earlier level. Oddly, even if you've already unlocked all fifteen songs, you'll still get the "New Track Unlocked!" message when completing a new level. This is a bit confusing, because it makes it sound like there is more content than there really is.


Music or noise?
Several of the songs are particularly bland. This is especially problematic for a game that's themed around dynamically changing the music based on the player's performance. There are some good songs, but for some reason, the bulk of the interesting ones are also some of the last to be unlocked, meaning the player will need to put up with lackluster content in order to get to the good stuff.


Concerns and Issues

Clean as a whistle
Much like the first game, there isn't anything objectionable or potentially harmful to be found here.