There comes a point with some games where your mastery has gone so far beyond conventional thought and hand-eye coordination that you’re like Neo in The Matrix – only able to see things in cascading green code and responding by instinct rather than anything you could describe as an actual intention. Being good at Chime is like that, but with great music by Phillip Glass and Orbital, rather than rubbish music by Rob Zombie.
In Chime, the background track is ‘built’ by placing tiles on a grid. Build a four by four ‘quad’ and the shape locks down, activating the Lumines-style sweep bar as it passes over, filling in pieces of the song. Where Lumines and Tetris are all about clearing space, Chime is about filling it and achieving as much coverage as you possibly can – completing the soundtrack and racking up a huge score along the way. It’s a beautiful, perfect concept at a pint-of-fancy-beer price.
If you’re being super-critical it’s easy to question the plain look of proceedings – Lumines has proven that it’s possible to make squares and grids pretty – but function trumps form and Chime is proving to be just as fun on our hundredth play as it was on our very first.
Like a melodious Rubik’s Cube, it’s something to toy with even when you’ve seen it, played it and finished it again and again and again.
Feb 3, 2010