Disclaimer: This game was provided to me by a PR company for the purposes of a review. This will not affect my review in any way, and is being explained for the purposes of transparency with our audience.
I had never heard of Chime Sharp prior to this review. Chime Sharp is the improved version of 2010 puzzle game Chime. Chime Sharp features new music, modes and new visuals compared to 2010 game. It hit PC as an Early Access game back in July of 2016, and has now come to console and PC as a full release. However what does Chime Sharp have to offer for the new player? And is it worth grabbing?
Chime Sharp’s gameplay is very very simple. The idea of the game is to cover as much of the board as possible. It’s very much like Tetris. The player is given a shape, with the next few shapes shown above the board. Players create “quads” by making a 3×3 (or 4×4) square, and then have the chance to create a bonus by creating more quads by the first initial quad. The more shapes the player can create the higher the multiplier goes, and so the more points the player receives when the multiplier is applied. There is a beat line that moves along the board. As it hits the quads the player has created a note is played. It’s a very minimal addition but one that really adds to the experience of the game.
When you start the game you have a handful of songs to choose from but only 2 of the modes. After you pick a song, the player gets to choose either Practice or Standard. The Practice mode isn’t one that I found myself playing; I always found myself just going for the Standard mode (which follows the mechanics listed above). If you have covered 60% of the board once the level is over you open new tracks, and a new mode for that track; Sharp mode. The Standard mode can feel very rushed, and you will find yourself thinking (at first at least) that there isn’t enough time to cover all of the board. The more you play the game you less you feel this way. I also want to note that when I was looking at the game on Steam many users were unhappy with the 90% needed to unlock the next track. This has been changed to 60% so kudos to the developers for that.
Sharp mode doesn’t feature a time limit which is a nice twist on the Chime Sharp gameplay. For those who want to chill with no time limits and just play the game at your own pace, Sharp mode is for you. This mode tasks player with covering the board but this time, any fragments that you lose from Quads cause the player to lose a life. These lives can be replenished by forming Perfect Quads (shapes making exactly 4×4). You start with 10 lives but I have yet to keep these for a long time. My highest score is 29% coverage, mainly because I am so used to the fast paced gameplay of Standard mode and haven’t got used to slowing down and thinking about what I’m placing where.
It’s nice to see though that, once you unlock it, there are two ways to play the game; either fast paced panic puzzle, or chill puzzle game. I haven’t gotten around to trying out the Strike mode or the Challenge that each track has, however I feel that with just the Standard and Sharp mode I have a good understanding of what Chime Sharp is all about. It’s meant to be a challenging puzzle game and that is something that the game does achieve.
Seeing as Chime Sharp is a musical puzzle game, let’s do the smaller section first; graphics. The game’s graphics are nothing to write home about. At the same time though they don’t have to be. There is enough colour in there so it doesn’t blind the player, yet it is still colourful to match the game’s music. The graphics are very simple but in a game where you are frantically forming shapes to a time limit, this works. Anything else happening on screen would’ve simply confused the player and taken away from the experience. However this doesn’t stop Chime Sharp being very boring to look at.
In a game like Chime Sharp audio is everything. After all a musical puzzle game can’t have boring music. The game delivers well with the music, offering a selection of upbeats tracks from multiple artists. The only downside to the music is that, being instrumental, it does become very repetitive. It can become boring attempting the same level repeatedly in an attempt to unlock the next mode or another song. This isn’t a massive downside as you can just change track, but it can make being stuck on that one track very tedious.
For graphics and audio I suggest watching the trailer to get an idea of what Chime Sharp offers in these areas.
I personally am not a puzzle fan, and while yes I did spend hours in a trance playing this game it was merely just to progress to the next modes for the purposes of this review. If you enjoy puzzle games I highly recommend this game. It seems like the type of game that would appeal to those of you who are fans of the genre. If however you are not a puzzle fan I wouldn’t suggest this game. It didn’t convert me into a puzzle fan, but do feel free to try it for yourself and see. You may well enjoy it.
Chime Sharp is a game that features graphics and audio that does it job, but failed to pull me into the game and actually enjoy it. The gameplay is challenging, but wasn’t enough to convert me to become a fan of puzzle games. If you enjoy puzzle games I do suggest it, it seems like it may tick the boxes for fans of that genre. However if you are looking to get into puzzle games, Chime Sharp is not the game to do so.