It looks beautiful, it sounds even better, and it's as addictive as Cadbury's buttons mixed with cheese and onion crisps.
It doesn't take many minutes to fall in love with Zoe Mode's super-stylish audio puzzler, Chime Super Deluxe. An updated version of last year's XBOX Live Arcade charity release, Chime Super Deluxe brings new music, stages and multiplayer to the PlayStation Network.
Like most puzzle games, Chime is deviously simplistic. You use Tetris-esque shapes to create quads — rectangular groups of at least three-by-three — that are destroyed by a looping metronome that runs across different shaped boards. As you clear quads, you'll start to fill in the board that the action takes place upon, unlocking new songs with partial coverage, and new boards with full coverage. The new boards really up the challenge, as it becomes more and more difficult to maintain control over your quads, and therein lies the challenge. It won't take you long to unlock the game's roster of ten songs, but mastering the additional boards and conquering the leaderboards is the crux of Chime's longevity.
It doesn't sound much on its own, but it's the way Chime Super Deluxe incorporates a stellar soundtrack that make it such a memorable and easy-to-recommend downloadable release. With a soundtrack ranging from chip-tune to glossy chill-out, the game spans an eclectic range of genres and fuses them into the gameplay with sublime attention to detail. Perhaps most appealing is the way Chime incorporates your actions into the audio, rewarding each individual block you place with new sound effects and tones that add to the mix. You don't need to know anything about music theory to enjoy Chime, just by playing the game you'll feel creative and involved, and that epitomises the game's underlying magic. A "Free" mode pulls you from the shackles of Chime's score and time restrictions, allowing you to simply have fun with the audio sandbox that the gameplay implores.
The only real disappointment is that there's not more of it. Sometimes a game is so well crafted that you can only criticise its inevitable conclusion. Additional songs are certainly possible through DLC — and we'll be keeping our fingers crossed for that. Local versus and co-operative modes add to the available play options, and leaderboards help you to compare your progress against friends — though admittedly we had an issue accessing the scoreboards while putting together this review. We'll put that down to launch window server demand and assume Zoe Mode's got a fix in the works.
As far as puzzles games go though, Chime Super Deluxe is honestly scarily close to perfection. Individual music tastes may render the package less attractive, but we're going to assume you're tone-deaf if the soaring tunes on offer don't appeal to you. This is a lovingly crafted and wonderfully composed package that deserves to be part of your collection.