Puzzle out the music in Chime Sharp

In 2010 I had the pleasure of reviewing Chime for the Xbox 360, later released on Steam and the PlayStation 3.  It was a fun block dropping puzzle game that felt like a slight mix between Tetris and Lumines.    
In 2015 one of the original Chime developers started a Kickstarter for a sequel.  The Kickstarter was a success and the result is Chime Sharp.  Is it a worthy successor?  Let’s find out.
Chime Sharp follows the same blueprint of Chime.  A game that is simple to learn, nigh impossible to master.  Your goal is to clear as much of the play grid as possible before the two-minute timer runs out.  The way you do this is by dropping shapes onto the grid to form "Quads."  The minimum size of a quad is 3 x 3, but you can build upon that.  In fact, it's best that you build your quads as big as possible because they bigger they are the more you score.  When you begin building a quad it starts filling with color.  Every time you increase the size the color will restart filling.  If the quad fills with color it will be locked down and you will not be able to add more to it.  You can extend the time a bit by making perfect quads.  Perfect quads are quads that do not leave behind any fragments.  As the beatline moves across completed quads it takes them off the grid. 

"Once I get on a puzzle, I can't get off." - Richard P. Feynman
In addition to the Standard mode, there are four other modes.  Practice mode gives players a simple grid with no time limit.  In Sharp mode you play without a timer, but you have ten "lives."  You lose a life each time a fragment is lost off the grid, but you can regain a life by making a perfect grid.  Strike mode is when things speed up.  Your time is now at ninety seconds and beatline moves across the grid faster.  The last mode is Challenge; here you are given the grid with a limited piece set to complete it.
Sharp, Strike, and Challenge modes are not unlocked at the start of the game.  It's not completely difficult to unlock them.  Sharp is unlocked if you complete sixty percent of a Standard grid and Strike is unlocked after completing sixty percent of a Sharp grid.  Challenge mode unlocks only after completing a grid in Standard mode.
The grids come in different shapes and each has its own set of seven pentominoes.  Each grid is named for the song that plays in the background.  At the start, a very basic track is playing.  As you create quads it adds sounds and layers to the song.  If you get ninety percent of the grid cleared before time runs out you complete the song and thus complete that level.
I loved Chime.  The combination of music being created as you played really connected with me.  I was excited to find out they were creating a sequel.  Chime Sharp is a worthy successor, in some ways it surpasses the original.  The grids and shapes have been upgraded from flat 2D to a slightly tilted 3D.  This really sets them off and gives them a nice depth.  The new modes give you good challenges, although I had hoped Sharp and Strike were unlocked from the start. 
One thing that I do wish Chime Sharp had is the Free mode from the original Chime.  Free mode lets you play a song grid in unlimited time.  Here you could not only eventually finish a grid, but you could also "create" music by continually making quads.  Maybe in a future update, if we are lucky.
I enjoyed Chime Sharp.  Much like the original Chime, it is a game that I can easily lose time in.  Start playing it and the next thing I know hours have flown by.  I highly recommend it if you love good puzzle games.  I give Chime Sharp a 5 out of 5.
For more information see the official website for Chime Sharp.


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