You might remember that back when I was still doing comics for The Escapist, I was really, REALLY into Chime, a music / puzzle game from 2010. It’s perhaps the only game where I’ve ever posted top scores on a worldwide leaderboard. I’m not saying this to peacock about being good at the game, I’m saying this so you can understand just how obsessed I was with this thing. I usually played it until I was forced to take a break due to carpal aching.
It’s been six years, but we finally have a sequel. It was a long wait, but the sequel vastly improves on what was already an exquisite game.
The Original Chime
(To be clear, while I’m going to describe Chime here, all the screenshots in this review are for the sequel.)
If you missed the original, it works something like this: You’re given pentominoesBasically “Tetris pieces”, except made out of five blocks instead of four. to place on a grid. You fit them together as best you can. As you form rectangles, they will vanish and you’ll be awarded points based on surface area. Since you’re building rectangles out of irregular shapes, you’ll frequently have some leftover fragments scattered around once the rectangle is removed. There’s a beatline passing over the grid in time to the music. Every time the beatline hits one of these fragments, the fragment decays. If it decays completely, then it vanishes and you lose your current score multiplier. The only way to prevent this is to clean up the fragments by incorporating them into more rectangles, which will leave behind more fragments to clean up, etc.
Building a rectangle would “claim” that area of the grid and give you extra time. To avoid running out, you needed to constantly build new rectangles over virgin territory.
|The white piece is about to expire. When the beatline hits it in a few seconds, it will vanish and I'll be penalized. In timed mode, you lose your multiplier. In Sharp Mode (pictured) you lose one of your 10 hitpoints, shown at the top.|
The original game had six songs. Each song had a unique board shape, a slightly different pace, and a different collection of pentominoes to work with. As you filled in the board, the music would progress to a new bit. The pieces and rectangles all make sounds in tune with the music to keep the whole thing groovy and holistic. The only reason I lost interest in the game is that there were only so many dozen hours I could listen to the same few songs.
Chime was a game that was split between two opposing goals. You needed to push into new areas in order to feed the clock, but if you wanted to keep your score multiplier up, then you needed to clean up all the bits you left behind. Which way do you go? Do you fill the board as fast as possible, or keep the board as clean as possible?
I loved the game, but I loved one half of it a lot more than the other half.
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