A mix between Tetris and Lumines, Chime Sharp is music-based puzzle game that is a direct sequel to 2009’s Chime. With simple to learn but difficult to master gameplay, Chime Sharp has plenty of replay value despite having a high difficult level.
From a visual standpoint, it might seem like there is a lot going on with Chime Sharp’s gameplay but is actually rather simple and the entire product contains a minimalist design. So much so that the tutorial screen is only a few words long as the developers waste no time throwing you right into the gameplay. It is actually refreshing to see a game placing the player immediately into the action without long tutorials and complicated gameplay despite being a puzzle game with a unique rule set.
Below is my Let’s Play of Chime Sharp where I explain some of the features the game has to offer:
Set to an artistic musical soundtrack, the player is tasked with dropping Tetris-like puzzle pieces on a screen-wide grid. The goal is to place these pieces in the well to form sets/boxes, or Quads as the game calls them. Once these Quads are big enough, they start to fill in the background once the music reaches certain points. A higher score is earned for creating a bigger Quad while more of the background gets filled in. Each stage is only set with a couple minutes of game time but there are plenty of opportunity to keep the timer going with quality performance. If the player is skilled enough to clear a certain percentage of the board without losing, additional modes are unlocked. However, this is much easier said than done as Chime Sharp is quite difficult. Although reaching these milestones will take a high level of skill, I kept coming back for more as I slowly increased my score with practice.
Just like the original Chime, the soundtrack is a major component to this title’s success. But even though the player will constantly play the same stages set to the same soundtrack, growing tired of hearing the same tunes shouldn’t be a concern thanks to the addicting “just one more, I know I can do better next time” gameplay.
With skill, the player will unlock a few new modes: Sharp, Strike and Challenge. Sharp mode removes the limitation of the timer but requires use of a certain pieces. The goal is to think ahead to make clear Quads, boxes with no awkward left over pieces, in order to clear the board. Unlike the main mode, this mode goes in the opposite direction but letting the player slow down to think ahead instead of frantically laying pieces down.
Strike mode is almost the opposite of this as the player only has 90 seconds to fill the board as much as possible. This mode is basically just like the Normal mode only with a shorter time limit and is really design for pro players. Finally, Challenge mode is like Normal mode only with specific challenges in place.
One of my complaints with this Xbox One version of the use of the analog stick and d-pad to place pieces on the gameboard. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get pixel perfect especially when rushing before time runs out. It is more common to overshoot or land short of exactly where you wanted to stage your piece using the analog stick; it is just a little too loose. The d-pad, although a little more reliable, still isn’t perfect option either even when using an Elite controller. You start to get used to it after a while but there were still many times I dropped pieces in the wrong position from the wobbly play control.
Other than some control issues, it is difficult to ignore the high difficult found in each and every stage. I couldn’t even unlock the extra modes in several the stages even after many attempts. The good news is, I kept coming back for more but worried that this high threshold will deter some players. And each stage’s gameboard is so large it seems like not having a co-op feature is a missed opportunity.
While Chime Sharp doesn’t reinvent its own wheel, it is still worthy of a look-see simply from the fact of being different; even its visual style is simplistic but yet artist with creative color schemes and presentation. The stellar soundtrack should not be overlooked and puzzle fans should appreciate its addictive gameplay.
Not As Good As: Tetris Party (WiiWare)
On Par With: the original Chime
Wait For It: Tetris Puyo Puyo
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com