When something gets touted as being for charity, it’s easy for everything else to get lost amid the guilt trip that often accompanies it. Even though games made solely for charity are still a rarity, they can still fall prey to the tendency to take the same approach.
“You like games don’t you? You live in a consumerist society and like buying things? Then why would you not want to buy a game that also helps make the world a better place? What kind of inhuman beast are you?!”
And far be it from us to suggest that sometimes these things hide behind the badge of a good cause because they aren’t particularly good. Chime is definitely not one of those.
In fact, even if you take out the fact that 60% of the asking price will go to children’s charities, you should still pay attention to Chime because it’s a very entertaining title in its own right. A mixture somewhere between those titans of the puzzle genre, Tetris and Lumines, the player must create quads of blocks to score points and fill up the gameplay grid. The time bar sweeps over the grid in time with the music and removes each completed set of quds, while incomplete blocks are gradually removed. Fill up the stage before the timer runs out and there’s a hefty bonus as your reward.
The mechanics may be simple but, like most of the great puzzle games, that’s the subtle art of crafting an absorbing title. The creators, Zoe Mode, have nailed this in seemingly effortless fashion and the end result is something which is easy to get into, but difficult to master. Despite only having five levels, the varying shapes of the blocks and the stages themselves, along with the true mastery being in keeping the score multiplier going, means there’s more than enough to get to grips with. Thanks to the online leaderboards there’s also that constant push to keep trying to better yourself.
In the post-Lumines era, it isn’t enough for a puzzle title to just play well, it has to look good and sound good too. Given that Chime takes some major inspiration from Lumines, it’s no surprise to find that it has both of those facets nailed down tight. Bright visuals are accompanied by some excellent tracks by artists such as Orbital, Phillip Glass, Moby and Lemon Jelly’s Fred Deakin, with these haunting chillout tracks changing as the player creates quads or covers more the stage.
Currently priced at just 400 Microsoft Points, Chime is an entertaining bargain of a title. Yes, more than half of your money does go to a good cause and you can rally behind that if you want to feel that you’re making the world a little bit brighter for someone. But the fact remains that Chime is a solid and entertaining game in its own right, making it very deserving of your attention without the charity tag.