Chime Super Deluxe Review

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Chime Super Deluxe Publisher: Zoe Mode Entertainment
Developer: Kuju Entertainment

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Reviewed on PlayStation 3

Chime was originally released more than a year ago on the PC, and it reached Xbox Live Arcade later last year. It may have taken a while for Chime to find its way to the PlayStation 3, but the version that is now downloadable from the PlayStation Network is more polished, more detailed and has even more content than the versions originally released on other platforms.

Kyle Ackerman

Chime Super Deluxe is one of very few games that can truly be described as meditative. There is certainly software that bills itself as meditation, and many gamers have claimed to reach a trance-like state while playing Tetris (which Chime superficially resembles) but whereas I've never found myself approaching a deep state of relaxation playing those, I did find Chime both enormously engaging and profoundly relaxing. At its core, Chime is that perfect puzzle game – easy to grasp. But excelling at it requires tremendous concentration and spatial skills. What transforms Chime from simple to sublime is that the puzzle elements are perfectly polished and designed so that every move both is driven by and contributes to the music.

Each set of levels is based around a different tune. The levels have specific borders and their own set of shapes that are used to fill them. You use shapes made of groups of squares to construct solid shapes of at least three-by-three blocks (called a "quad"). That's where the music comes in. A line passes across the play area in time with the beat, and when the line reaches the right group of blocks, that quad becomes solid. When the beat line passes a second time, the quad is removed and that part of the play area is covered. When the entire play area is covered, players move onto the next play space.

The tunes are compelling and range from Philip Glass to Moby and Sabrepulse. What's so tremendous is that the play is perfectly in sync with the music. The music works its way under your skin, turning play into an entirely different listening experience. Then, shapes and quads in the play area make their own sounds, so that the clutter of your play becomes part of the musical piece itself. It's a genuinely deep way to enjoy music, while also playing a brilliant puzzle game. The different pieces of music (along with the available shapes) make each tune a unique experience, even though the style of puzzle is fundamentally the same.

Unless you are playing with the goal of ruling the leaderboards, there are multiple difficulty modes that let you play as you choose. You can start out with three-, six- or nine- minutes (or an unscored "Free" mode) with which to cover the play area (hopefully several times). This makes it, roughly, as difficult as you want it to be. There are also both cooperative and competitive modes, so you can work with other players to cover the grid, or compete for coverage.

The only thing I didn't find meditative about Chime Super Deluxe was the trophy system. The trophies are somewhat hardcore, but if you can divest yourself of the competitive urge to go after the more difficult trophies, it's possible to make Chime Super Deluxe into a relaxing and deeply fulfilling musical experience.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on April 9, 2011 4:23 PM.

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