Thursday, February 04, 2010

Video game number thirty four: "Chime"

Game review number thirty four in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Chime".

Chime was released this week on Xbox Live Arcade and is the first game that I know of on the service that was released as a charity project. All the descriptions I have found online say that this game will donate 60% of the royalties towards a couple of children's charities. It's only 400 points to begin with (about 5 bucks), so the actual cost becomes almost negligible.

Every year, my favorite charity Child's Play proves that gamers are a charitable bunch and are willing to spend their hard earned cash to help kids. Occasionally, there will be a Rock Band song you can purchase that will donate proceeds to charity, but this is the first game I've ever seen on a console that was launched right out of the gate as a charity project. I hope it's a success and I think it's worth buying just to ensure that it is.

It's a good concept, but is it a good game? I suppose that's the million dollar question here. The answer is...yeah. Chime is an interesting mix of Tetris and Lumines, a horizontal puzzle game where you arrange "following" blocks to create music as a "beat bar" scrolls by.

I never really understood Lumines at more than a basic level. I bought the game because it was "the" killer app for the PSP when it came out and I never really progressed into the advanced stages of the game. Whenever I break out the PSP, it's still one of the games I have packed along with me, but I've never gotten any better at it. I have always been pretty good at Tetris, but Chime is just a little more like Lumines than it is like Tetris...which means it may take me awhile to learn.

The blocks fall from the right side of the screen instead of the top. You stack them against the left, top and bottom of the screen....and when you get big enough stacks (at least 3 wide and 3 tall), they form a "quad" that flashes. You can add to these flashing quads for a certain amount of time, then they become a permanent fixture on the screen. The music changes based on the number of quads on the screen, very much like Lumines.

That's the game in a nut shell. I haven't mastered Chimes, but I think it was worth picking up, especially because it was for charity.

Overall score: 7/10. I like puzzle games a lot, and I think my eventual final rating on this one would depend on whether or not I ever get better at this one. Right now, it's fun...but I certainly don't exceed at it the way I do at Tetris. I think it will take some time to get better at this one...and the good news is, I think it'll be worth it to try every once in awhile.

Achievements? Yeah...I got a few...including a 50 point achievement they give you just for buying the full game. For 5 bucks, most of which goes to children's can you resist those 50 points?

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