By Duncan Voice
I did a nice thing today. I purchased a great little game and donated to charity by doing so. Chime by Zoë Mode is a production for OneBigGame, an industry wide charity initiative, and over 60% of the purchase price (a meagre 400 MS points which equates to less than a fiver) is donated to OneBigGame’s charity partners Save the Children and Starlight Children’s foundation. And it’s bloomin’ lovely too.
It plays a bit like an amalgamation of old PS2 rhythm action faves Amplitude and Frequency with a healthy dose of good old Tetris. A delightful soundtrack plays over the top as you arrange pieces into quads. A quad is an arrangement of pieces of 3×3 or more on the playing grid. As a beatline moves across the screen and over the quads, samples are added into the mix and your score increases. You find yourself frugally arranging the pieces within the 3, 6 or 9 minute time limit so as to hear the full track playing as soon as possible.
The soundtrack, whilst not for everyone and looking fairly svelte, is perfect for the atmosphere. A vastly different flavour to REZ’s dirty electro sounds, Chime is a chilled-out trance affair featuring Moby and Fred Deaking from Lemon Jelly. My favourite song of the listing is the sublime For Silence by Paul Hartnoll (Orbital). Zoë Mode has done a terrific job of giving each track tremendous depth during the gameplay: the timing and choice of each sample is perfect.
There are five levels and once each track has been completed it opens up a free mode so you can just play and chill out to your heart’s content. Not that the game is stressful at any point, mind you. It feels like it was designed with the whole ‘zen-gaming’ phrase being banged about a few years ago in mind. Global leaderboards add to the challenge if that’s what tickles your fancy, but it’s refreshing to play a game that is miles away from the anarchic competition, like trying to shave .001 of a second off a Trials HD time in order to leap 500 places up the leaderboard. This is a far more laid back affair.
You can’t help but admire the message that Zoë Mode and OneBigGame is trying to put across. Upon downloading you automatically unlock a ‘Fairy Godmother’ achievement "for doing a great thing and making the world a better place". The website even encourages you to promote goodwill on the global leaderboard. Zoë Mode have constructed a wonderful little game out of nowhere, and with OneBigGame reportedly having up to 15 titles currently in development you can’t help but become excited to see what their next offering will be.
Buy it, even if only to donate to charity, but remember you will be getting a great game in the process. It’s a win-win situation.
8 OUT OF 10
You can find out more about Chime here: http://www.chimegame.com/