Chime (Xbox 360)
Posted by Kuang on Wed, 08 Sep 2010.
The One Big Game initiative attempts to merge gaming with giving by donating a percentage of the proceeds from game sales to global charities including Save the Children and Starlight Children’s Foundation. Musical puzzler Chime on the Xbox 360 is part of their portfolio.
The concept behind Chime is simple but the reality is far trickier, and not at all easy to explain…
You’re presented with a blank gridded playfield which has a moving bar (the beatline) passing repeatedly left to right, similar to Lumines. The idea of Chime is to create Quads on this playfield by laying pieces end to end, a quad being a rectangular block of 3x3 grid squares or more. When the beatline next passes a quad, it’ll becomes cemented into the background and your percentage figure increases. When a quad is formed it’ll start to fill with colour, and during this period you can add extra blocks to it in order to increase your score. As soon as it fills to capacity, it becomes fixed and unchangeable until the beatline comes and nails it down.
Once a quad has become fixed you can then lay new pieces over the top of it to help you to cover those tricky odd blocks. If you have any fragments left over after a quad is formed, they will start to degrade each time the beatline passes them, and will eventually disappear. Whole pieces placed on the playfield will stay there until you turn them into quads. This isn’t made clear in-game so consider yourself forewarned!
The quirk here is that each of the five levels on offer has a piece of music associated with it, from Philip Glass, Moby, Markus Schulz, Paul Hartnoll (Orbital) and Fred Deakin (Lemon Jelly), and the music builds as you place blocks on the playfield. At first you’ll get a few ambient synths and beeps, but as the game progresses your actions build the full tune. This isn’t a tactical element of the game but it does bring a nice sense of achievement as the themes grow. You’ll finish the levels in no time, but as you have freeplay and a variety of timed modes, I’d bet you’ll find yourself coming back for the occasional blast. It’s a strange mix of frantic and calm, becoming a far more chilled experience as you get used to it. It’s not a groundbreaking title, but it’s a very nice addition to your library for the times when you just have a few minutes to kill and don’t want to get into anything too deep.
Best of all, Chime is only 400 points on Live Arcade, so not only are you getting a great little game but you’re also donating to charity – something the chime fairy will reward you for when you first play… ;)