The musical puzzle genre is a bit of a niche in videogaming, but the original Chime is one of the better examples of it. Now, with Chime Sharp, there’s a sequel.
Of course, the most obvious example of a music-inspired puzzle game is most likely Lumines. Unfortunately, it’s a name that’s been exclusive to the Playstation platform for almost 10 years now, so not everyone has gotten to play it. Chime filled that gap nicely, with releases for the PC as well as the X360 and the PS3. Chime Sharp, at least for now, is a PC exclusive – and was just released out of Steam’s early access program.
The concept behind Chime (and Chime Sharp) is simple, and can be described as a cross between Lumines and Tetris, at least visually. You are given various (Tetris-like) shapes that you lay out across a canvas, and once a timed bar passes, all the combined shapes that are square and at least 3×3 in size will be fixed in place and added to your score. Sound simple enough? It is, and this is one of those games that’s really easy to pick up yet hard to master. The concept is simple enough but with practice you’ll find more and more ways to rack up the points.
Once you get more comfortable with the game’s basics, you’ll start pushing for higher scores by making use of multipliers – essential if you want to beat the later levels. Filling up the board is complicated by the changing shapes of the level/canvas and the assortment of shapes that you have to work with, which of course becomes more and more challenging the further you get. Things can also get frantic, especially near the end of a level, since Chime is not the type of puzzler that gives you much time to think about how to solve a dilemma. Think of situations in Tetris where you’re near the top of the screen and you get the general idea.
Building up your score can be done in different ways, but the most interesting part is that making matches also builds up the soundtrack. Covering more and more of the screen means that more and more instruments and beats get added, which is addictive and spurs you on. Even though Chime Sharp doesn’t have a tracklist full of A-list superstars, the music is excellent and a great match for the game’s genre and tempo.
Chime Sharp is a great HD upgrade for Chime, and adds a few extras as well. New gameplay modes are available, but they don’t change the gameplay too much. This can become a tad repetitive, but a lot of that is also down to musical taste. Nevertheless, we can easily see Chime Sharp being the success that Chime was, but for a new generation of systems and gamers. Let’s hope for a console release, and not just for Playstation 😉