Developer: Ste Curran , Twistplay
Publisher: Chilled Mouse
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Tested on: PlayStation 4
Chime Sharp – Review
It all started in 2011 with the game ‘Chime’ which was developed by Zoë Mode, and was initially only available on Xbox Live Arcade services. It was also the first game to be released by the non-profit game publisher: OneBigGame. With the release getting mostly positive reviews, a sequel was on its way, and in July 2015 a Kickstarter campaign was started for Chime Sharp. It passed the campaign succesfully and thus the game was first created for PC and the PlayStation 4 version followed suit.
The pitch for this game must have been a doozy, as there really isn’t a story to Chime Sharp. It’s not like it’s hidden away in nooks or crannies, or unlocked by being extra good in playing the game, it’s just flat out not there. Nonetheless, music does play an important role in what you could say is the story. Because of this there is more of a personal feel when you drop the blocks into place and hear the effect that the blocks, and where they are placed, have in the grand scheme of the game. The different tunes in the game could have been explained a little, the background and the way the artist views music as a medium. This could be unlocked by getting at least 60% in all the modes of a song, which would keep players playing to get the information.
Simplicity breeds clarity, should be the motto or subtitle of Chime Sharp. The graphics themselves are really clean and sleek. Every board is divided in squares and when you’ve created ‘quads’, the tiles light up showing you just how big the score you get is and how big the multiplier is. Every level or ‘track’ is different in layout and color, which match the vibe of the song. It’s little things that make the game enjoyable and even though it doesn’t boast high fidelity 3D character models or realistic weather patterns, the game looks really pleasing to the eye.
This is where it’s at for Chime Sharp, seeing as the game is mainly focused around music, it stands to reason the developers can’t mess it up. To be fair, they haven’t. There are a total of twelve tracks and every track sounds different, and depending on where you place your blocks, different parts of the track are unveiled and will sound through your speakers. It’s cool to see just how much of the song you can unlock and how different every playthrough sounds whenever you start over.
Chime Sharp is a musical puzzle game. Puzzle games can’t be unclear, yet if in any way shape or form the objective is unclear or if the player can’t judge what he or she is supposed to do then challenge turns to frustration and you have a recipe for disaster. This is where the game trips and has a masterful save before it has a chance to fall straight on its face. You are supposed to link together blocks in ‘quads’ which when completed glow up. That’s when a line rolls from the bottom to the top of the ‘quad’ which is the amount of time you have to add onto it. If you do manage to add onto a side, the cycle repeats and the line restarts up at the bottom of the quad. There’s a text tutorial for those who like to read, but if you skip it, don’t fret. There’s a ‘test’ mode in every level, so even if you do by chance skip the text, you are still safe.
This is stated by the text tutorial. It would be a little lacklustre when it comes to guiding the player if it weren’t for the ‘test’ mode built into every level. You can play the level and test the mechanics, even oversee the playing ground, before sinking your teeth into the real meat of the level. Every mode is unlocked upon gaining at least 60% coverage in the previous mode. Coverage is measured by the amount of the field that has been shifted from the light tone to the darker tone. As mentioned before this is done by making ‘quads’. Making fields of blocks with at least a size of 3×3 is the way to go. Once the bar that runs across the field hits the right side, the ‘quads’ get reset, and you get to make new ones on the open field or try and cover more of the field before the time or your lives are up, as not every mode is timed. The Sharp mode is an example of how you have more breathing room when it comes to time. You start up with five lives and for every quad made, a life is added, when blocks are deleted -blocks that are remnants from uncompleted quads- a life is taken away. It is timed, but makes it so you could in theory play indefinately. Making quads and placing blocks is all fine and dandy, but the goal of the game comes from doing so. With every block added onto the board, a piece of the music is unlocked and you’ll hear different things if you place blocks on different parts of the field. So playing for the highest score also means hearing some pretty cool songs.
Chime Sharp takes some getting used to, but once you know what’s going on, you’ll quickly be adding blocks and stacks onto your quads for massive multipliers and points. The timed mode is fun for just a quick game, while the other modes can really take away quite a big chunk of your time.
Chime Sharp can be a really fun game, with its simplistic graphics and easy to learn, hard to master gameplay. There’s no story, so don’t pick up this game if you like your puzzle games with some sort of narrative to them. Whether it be a quick 2-5 minute game, or a game that can take up quite some more time, Chime Sharp has you covered. It’s great for sharpening your spacial capabilities.