Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Chime

2:00 PM on 02.05.2010 // Ben Perlee

Right off the bat, I'm just going to say it: Chime is an utterly compelling, aesthetically minimalistic puzzle game that rides the cusp of being entirely fantastic, faltering only at its lack of options. When it comes to presentation and polish, Chime is lovely. It's quiet and subdued throughout its menus, and there is an uplifting feel to the game.

It's funny, because I would swear this is a PSN title. There seems to be a split between PSN and XBLA titles. Microsoft gets exclusives on all sorts of fantastic downloadable game titles that, well, lack in polish but rock in gameplay. Sony, on the other hand, reigns in visually pleasing, maybe less game-like videogames that are more about the raw experience than anything else.

That's why I would say Chime is a PSN game in disguise, for even though it is a puzzle game, it's not just the game element that makes it successful -- it's everything else combined that makes it work. Read my review to understand.

Chime (XBLA)
Developer: Zoë Mode
Publisher: OneBigGame
Released: February 3, 2010
MSRP: 400 Microsoft Points

Much of the success of Chime is courtesy of the music. Chime is a perfectly appropriate title for the game, as that sort of mellow, relaxing tune runs throughout the game and is evocative of the music that is represented. The five songs are fantastic: the earthy and plinky “Brazil” by Philip Glass, the ghostly “Play for the Science” from Paul Hartnoll, the trippy “Ooh Yeah” by Moby, the slightly aggressive “Spilled Cranberries” by  Markus Schulz and Fred Deakin's funky “Disco Ghosts.”

I cannot compliment Zoë Mode enough on these tracks. They fit the feel of Chime perfectly, and my only problem is that five songs (and thus, five levels) feels like only a tease. I know that the game is only $5, and let's be real, a puzzle game doesn't need to rely on music to be a good game. It's just that while the five songs are perfect, thus I want to experience more. And since those five songs determine the playing field (which vary from plain to a smiley face), as well as a variation of the shape types, you will see and do everything very quickly.

Therein lies the big problem with Chime. While it is a charming and effervescent game, there is so little content here it feels like I'm only getting a partial experience. I'm left with two modes (a time mode, and a free play mode), no multiplayer, and, uh, leaderboards. I see no reason why there could not be a co-op mode, a challenge mode, or a versus mode like in Lumines. It's weird how bare Chime is.

Thankfully, Zoë Mode is very close to getting away with this problem. First, the game is cheap at only 400 Microsoft Points. Chime is actually a charitable game, and sixty percent of the purchase price -- 240 Points -- is going to be sent out (as real money, of course) to children's organizations around the world. There's even an odd gift of 50 Achievement points that you receive just for buying the game and being charitable. This should make Chime a must-buy for Achievement whores.

The second reason Zoë Mode can get away with the sparse nature of the game is that the gameplay itself is very, very solid. Notice I didn't mention how the actual game plays until now. I did that because unlike many other games, what you actually do in Chime takes a back seat to the whole experience. Sure, scores are compiled for the time mode, but it's not anything you'll really care about. Chime is the least aggressive puzzle game I have ever played.

In each level, you're given a series of shapes that are placed out on the playing field. The task is to combine these blocks to create at least 3x3 Quads for the passing beatline to take away. Throwing a wrench into everything is how each of those Quads have their own personal timers. You must drop more shapes to keep the Quad going before its personal timer expires and the beatline takes it away.

Taken away, it opens up more of the playing field, as well as “stamps” the grid with color. You'll get bonuses for filling up the playing field with these stamps, and the song will get more dynamic. Combos come from connected Quads, and everything can be broken by an errant block that will erase all other errant blocks if the beatline goes past too it many times.

If it sounds complicated, it's really not; Chime is very laid-back. I don't think it's possible to lose a level, and the only punishment you'll receive in the game is a loss of a combo (which is beneficial for opening up the level some more). Hell, even the beatline feels more like a way of playing neat samples from blocks still on the field, even the ones that will ruin your score. It practically rewards you for having a messy field.

I'm actually a bit torn on this lackadaisical style of play. While it's refreshing to see a puzzle game that goes with a “yay-let's-have-fun-and-make-music” approach, I wish there was more of a challenge, or at least a goal. Other than high scores, there's nothing else. Once again, the spartan nature of Chime is a hindrance.

In the end, though, I am still drawn to the game. I've been playing it all week, and will keep playing it for a long time. Maybe it is its gutsy approach to being a puzzle game that works with the player instead of against them. Maybe it just the music, which I and every fan of mellow house music will dig. Or maybe it is just the promise. Chime could be so much more. There could be loads more music, or loads more levels, or modes, or anything. Yet it's not, and I don't know if this is due to planned DLC or what, but it's a crying shame. 

I really hope this is not the last we see of Chime. When a game comes along that is this visually, audibly, and mentally pleasing, it's not something to ignore. I recommend checking Chime out. For five bucks, it's really not bad, you're supporting a good cause, and maybe we can get the sequel that would really make Chime ring.

Score: 7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Photo Gallery: (10 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Ben Perlee,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
We can be so weird sometimes. You can easily move on from some of the stuff you might want to remember forever, but then sometimes you just can't let go of trivial things. What's up with that?
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I'm in the mood for some feel-good music. Hit me with your best feel-good VGM, people! [youtube][/youtube]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
My "Thankful it's over" post is done. Editing it tonight, posting tomorrow. Will there be more last-minute entries? Will Pixie be merciful to Twilight Princess? Will Zetta add words to his entry? Why is bear driving? Who run Bartertown? Stay Tuned!
Parismio avatarParismio
Whelp since i got my ass kicked at snowboarding ive been issued a muscle relaxer today and slept the entire day. Time went by so fast. Is- is this what the phantom cigar is like?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What the hell is a Shantae?
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Ok you Monday morning motherfuckers, 3 favourite fictional universes you'd like to exist in (The initial iteration of the universe had to be in videogame form) Go.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just ran into my first 'suicide mole rat' in Fallout 4. I'm beginning to think this may not be a 100% accurate, meticulously researched recreation of life after the apocalypse.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well I just played Undertale. It's a really unique game, but the difficulty in the beginning is a tad intense. Got clobbered once they started throwing three monsters at me at a time and lost a lot of progress... where's Toriel when I need her?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What should I do guys?
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
[img][/img] The Freedom Planet Indie Box, for those that were interested. And it looks like a "wild cat" is there too!
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Just 1200 words left to go on my essays. Do I deserve a day off to play Just Cause 3 once I'm done? Yes.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Elite: Dangerous has some glaring issues, and can occasionally feel kinda bare bones, but I'll be damned if it isn't one of my favorite games in recent memory. Ships are fun to fly, trading is rewarding, and the sound design is absolutely brilliant.
Archelon avatarArchelon
Well, Destructoid. I did it. I jumped ahead.
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Flawed but fun favorite game sorter. Post top 30 in the comments. [url][\url]
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
I am tired of random players. I need to enlist some help with Triforce Heroes challenges. Would anyone like to pair up with me?
El Dango avatarEl Dango
[img][/img] fun...
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night I had to clean projectile liqiud dogshit off of the sides of my puppies kennel. Pity me. Read my blog.
techsupport avatartechsupport
Taking a break from Fallout 4 to try out Twitch Creative. Catch me painting Chun-Li while listening to an eclectic mix of Alex G, DJ Shadow, and Modest Mouse. [img][/img]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
So far from first impressions of my Freedom Planet indie box its 100% more worth it than lootcrate. Whereas lootcrate you get a bunch of stuff you may or may not like, indie box gives you indie games, and stuff related to that game, such as the soundtrack
maycausecancer avatarmaycausecancer
When one game is rated 7.4 and another 7.6, Are you telling me one game is 0.2 worse than the other. WHAT!?!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -