Hands On: Chime Super Deluxe

You might argue, given Chime’s enviable ability to offer up sublime musical puzzling without any fluff or filler, that the Super Deluxe appendage is both unnecessary and – to be honest – was a little bit of a worry when first announced.  The original game, locked last year to the Xbox 360, was an otherwise stunning example of how to create a pure, sophisticated downloadable slice of goodness: surely the only thing it really needed to offer was the option to branch out to other platforms?

Thankfully, in this updated guise, it’s all good.  Brighton-based Zoë Mode have been smart enough to concentrate on the important: securing new music (taking the total number of licensed tracks up to ten), adding in new multiplayer modes that complement the single player variants and tweaking the visuals a little, sprucing them up with a slightly more three-dimensional look.  There’s nothing here that feels unwarranted or out of place, then, and thus any such concerns can be quelled.

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[boxout]So, with standards assured and any buffs to the core mechanics ironed to perfection, this updated, remixed version of Chime lands on PlayStation 3 starting off much like it did on Microsoft’s console, with Philip Glass’ Brazil.  Or, at least, small parts of it.  See, that’s the beauty of Chime: it’s a puzzle game that never feels like one, instead playing out like a block-based sequencer tool that just happens to built from Tetris-eque patterns of squares.  Move them around, plant them down, make sound.

It’s a beguiling, entrancing methodology.  The aim, to cover each grid before the time expires, can only be achieved by creating ‘quads’ – blocks of shapes that link together to form larger squares – and once formed these quads are stamped into the background, adding to your coverage total but also freeing that same area for reuse.  Other elements play into this simple notion, though – the continuous, metronomic beat bar closes off any expanding quads as you build them, for example.

Despite familiar principles (not least of all Lumines, to some degree) Chime manages to at once feel fresh and unique, partly because of the organic way the music slowly builds and partly because, even though the goals are clearly defined, the path to the end result is left up to the player.  Do you go for a massive combo score, chaining quads and growing their size, or do you play safe and construct neat, smaller quads and avoid any leftover elements, netting bonuses for ‘perfect quads’?

It’s also given its own sense of identity by way of the musical choice.  Moby’s ‘Ooh Yeah’ is still the highlight, building programmatically through the various chunks of the track, but the newly instated chip noise of Sabrepulse is a particular delight – each of the ten tracks features a distinctive grid arrangement (getting ever more complex) and its own set of online leaderboards for each of the three time limits available (you can opt to play for three, six or nine minutes).

In short, Chime Super Deluxe is a gem.  The new tweaks push the game beyond the size and scope of the original just enough to warrant a second look, the visual upgrades are lovely and the two new multiplayer modes will grant this version a considerably longer shelf life.  Zoë Mode’s charming downloadable title hits the right spots more frequently than anything else released on the Network in some time, and absolutely deserves your attention when it lands next week.

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10 Comments

  1. “locked last year to the Xbox 360”

    Not quite, since it was on PC as well, which is where I played it… for many, many hours… Looking forward to the Super Deluxe version.

  2. Haven’t played it on any other platforms, but I’m really looking forward to this.

  3. I didn’t really know what I was doing and the music was great. Will revisit this when it hits the PS3.

  4. Really looking forward to getting my paws on this.

  5. Sounds good, i might pick it up.

  6. Really looking forward to this. Pleased it’s finally made the jump to PS3.

  7. Picked this up on PS3 at the weekend, from the link on the FirstPlay demo. It’s very addictive, I lost a lot of hours to it (well, a combination Chime and putting the clocks an hour forward). I don’t really understand workings behind the idea of putting down shapes and how that seems to affect different parts of the music, I just accept that it does, and it makes from a surprisingly immersive experience. A brilliant addition to the PSN catalogue.

  8. Downloading now. Sold enough to skip the trial & go straight for full version. The artist roster alone sold it for me.

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