Chime Review
Chime box art
System: X360 (XBLA) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Zoë Mode 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 3, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

As you progress through the game, the block shapes get weirder and harder to fit together, and the grids themselves become oddly shaped as well. The plus-sign-shaped blocks in particular can turn your carefully organized screen into a mess in a hurry, leaving all sorts of gaps you can't fill. Fortunately, if a Quad uses only part of a given five-piece block, the rest of the block disappears if you don't use it within a certain period of time. This opens these gaps up and keeps you from getting completely stuck. If you turn the timer down to three minutes and shoot for 100 percent coverage, the last few levels are remarkably challenging.

Chime screenshot

The game features online leaderboards, but there's no multiplayer. It seems like there are some missed opportunities here. Head-to-head matchups could be fun, and some form of co-op wouldn't have hurt, either. It would be an interesting experience to work together with a partner to place each other's shapes.

Regardless, all in all, Chime will provide most gamers with a few hours of entertainment, and hardcore puzzle addicts with much more. Besides climbing the leaderboards, the truly dedicated can earn twelve achievements. Though you get the first one, Fairy Godmother, just for buying the game, the others can be pretty tough. You have to create a Quad that spans the entire width of the grid on every level, create seven Quads in one pass of the beat line, and get 100 percent coverage on all the levels on the three-minute time setting, among other feats.

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For $5, that's not a bad deal, and at least $3 of that goes to charity anyway. The developer, Zoë Mode, ate its costs and promises to donate all of its proceeds (which amount to at least 60 percent of what you pay). The charity is OneBigGame, which in turn gives at least 80 percent of its money to Save the Children and the Starlight Children's Foundation. It's hard not to recommend a decent game at a low price that helps impoverished kids.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.6
Graphics
The game looks good, but it's far from a graphical powerhouse.
4.8
Control
No real complaints here; rotating and placing blocks couldn't be easier.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The developers got some high-profile artists, including Moby, to contribute tracks, but there are only five songs total.
4.2
Play Value
At least $3 of the $5 you spend will go to charity, and you'll get at least several hours' worth of play time.
4.1
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Intriguing block puzzler: Rotate and place shapes to form quads of 3x3 or more to fill your grid before the time runs out.
  • Music tracks from world-renowned musicians: Chime features music by Moby, Paul Hartnoll (Orbital), and more.
  • Remix music tracks: Fill the grid to alter the track loop, place pieces to play notes, and create quads to trigger a range of song samples.
  • Unlimited replay value: Keep reaching 100 percent and resetting the grid to continue playing and beat your high score.
  • Five unique levels: Each level is made up of its own music, grid, and shape sets.
  • Time mode: Choose between three different levels of difficulty, based on time limit.
  • Free-play mode: Play for the sake of making music with no time pressure.
  • Charitable donation: All Zoë Mode's services are provided at no cost to OneBigGame, and all Zoë Mode's royalties (a minimum of 60 percent of the purchase price) are donated to the OneBigGame charity initiative. OneBigGame always aims to donate a minimum of 80% of all donations to its charity partners Save the Children and Starlight Children's foundation.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Chime screenshot - click to enlarge Chime screenshot - click to enlarge Chime screenshot - click to enlarge Chime screenshot - click to enlarge

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