Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chime in for Charity

Zoë Mode, the creators of Chime, want you to flex your altruistic muscles while enjoying their new block placing puzzle game. With the recent influx of fundraising due to the devastation in Haiti, why not keep your wallets and purses out to pick up Chime? Developer Zoë Mode is taking over 60% of the profits made from Chime and will be donating it to Save the Children and the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Chime is a modern musically charged remix to the classic game Tetris. In Chime, you’re given similarly odd shaped blocks at random and a grid where you’re trying to make any kind of quadrilateral, or “quads” as the game calls them, whether they’re squares or rectangles. There is a timeline that is constantly scanning the screen and finding all the “quads” you’ve created and yields points as well as musical notes. The points and notes created all depend on how large your “quad” is before it’s scanned. The bigger it is the better. The goal is to net as many points as possible within the time limit or fill up the entire grid with scanned “quads.”

As you keep playing, you’ll notice the music becomes richer as more of the grid is filled up. The key component which sets Chime apart is its combination of gameplay and music. The brunt of this magical experience involves the timeline scanning the grid while you frantically place blocks to make large “quads” before they’re popped. The tunes that ring out mix perfectly with the music of the various electronica artists such as Moby and Philip Glass.

The interface of Chime is clean and streamlined. The menu twinkles musically while scrolling through each option. Each stage has its own neon color palette and color scheme. All the stages have a solid white grid on a dark background with different colors for shapes and completed “quads.” When the “quads” are created and the timeline runs across a completed “quad”, it bursts into a flowery flash with different designs depending on the stage. There are 5 stages in total with 5 different songs accompanying each stage. This gives the game a bit of variety, but its lack of stages and songs can hurt its longevity.

Ultimately though, the longevity depends on the player. There is high replay-ability with the included leaderboard for every person that owns the game. This harkens back to the old school days of the arcades where half the addiction was trying to improve your score and oust the highest scoring person. Other than that, its replay-ability depends on how many times you can still play a game of Tetris or the latent music remixing.

Downloading Chime off the Xbox Live marketplace was quick and seamless. Chime costs 400 Microsoft space bucks, which is equivalent to 5 dollars. All you need to do is enter your credit card number and the game gets downloaded and stored on your Xbox hard drive. You can do it from the comfort of your couch. There’s no need to leave your house, visit the store, or stand in line.

Chime is a decent game. It borrows from old ideas and spins them enough to make a unique experience and game type for its players. I wished there was a bit more to it, but for 5 dollars, it’s easy to recommend this game. And besides, it’s going to charity anyway.

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