The first game I ever played on my PSP was Lumines. It surprised me just how much what was essentially a Tetris clone could be enhanced with some upbeat tunes.
Chime Super Deluxe is an update to last year's Xbox Live and PC music-based puzzler Chime, and manages to keep the game simple and fun, like Lumines, while adding some interesting features that increase the overall value and longevity of ZoÃ« Mode's puzzle game.
ZoÃ« Mode is the development company behind many popular console simulation games such as SingStar and EyeToy: Play. Their previous foray into the puzzle genre resulted in Crush, which received its fair share of praise, but failed to reach the sales numbers the developer had hoped. Chime, on the other hand, managed to do well enough on the PC and Xbox 360 to warrant the upgrade.
The main objective of Chime is simple - make blocks of at least 3 x 3 dimension grids, called quads, with a series of different shapes. Once a quad has been made, you have a short time to add onto the quad to increase its size, which adds to the amount of points you will receive from the shape. The bigger your glowing quad gets, the shorter the amount of time you have to add more blocks to it, creating some very tense moments throughout the game's 10 songs.
Each level is based around a different song, and each quad that you create clears a small area of the level. You must clear over 50% of the level to unlock its successor, which seems easy at first, but the difficulty begins to ramp up the further you are into the campaign. The more area you clear, the more of the song you hear. This little twist creates extra incentive to start clearing as quickly as possible so that the tune will increase in complexity.
Fan of variety? Well ZoÃ« Mode managed to sneak some of that into the game too. Each level on the game's main feature, Timed Mode, comes in 3 different flavors: 3 minutes, 6 minutes, and 9 minutes. Depending on whether or not you love a certain song (or cannot bare it), you can spend as much or as little time as you please on that specific song. Plus, the next sequential song unlocks all the time levels, so there's no need to play it again...unless you really want to. The Free Mode strips away any bothersome time limits or combo meters and lets you enjoy some alone time with the songs you've unlocked. It's a bare bones version of Chime Super Deluxe, but a great addition nonetheless.
If you're feeling competitive, there's a mode for that too, with two of its own unique modes. The first is Co-op, which allows you and up to three other players attempt to clear the board in the least amount of time. If you would rather prove to your friends that you are better at musical Tetris than them, the Versus mode allows you to do just that. If you are interested in Chime, the newly minted Versus mode of Super Deluxe is worth the price of admission alone. Hectic and fun without any frustration; the perfect casual competitive multiplayer. Even my most vile of friends couldn't help but enjoy the ting of a completed block.
It is also worth mentioning the crisp and clean graphics. Chime was an attractive game to begin with, but ZoÃ« Mode has stepped it up a notch with the shiny yet simplistic pallet they have chose for Super Deluxe. It is surprisingly easy on the eyes, which is important when you realize you've been staring at it for three hours without a break.
If you're looking for an addictive, fun, and casual title on the PSN that has nothing to do with perturbed birds, I highly recommend checking out Chime Super Deluxe. There's enough content here for dozens of playthroughs, with or without your friends.
Chime Super Deluxe is available now on the PSN for $9.99.