|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.
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.
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.
CCC Freelance Writer