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Chime - Does it hit all the right notes a second time?

Can Zoe Mode recreate the magic of the under appreciated original?

Chime Super Deluxe brings Zoe Mode's XBLA and PC exclusive rhythm puzzle game to the PlayStation 3. Upon its original release Chime garnered a lot of wide-spread attention for both its addictive puzzle mechanics and for donating proceeds from the game sales to charity.

Without the charitable affiliations it may be tempting to dismiss Chime Super Deluxe as just a simple port to cash in on an untapped market but Zoe Mode seems to have done its due diligence in re-creating the game for the PS3.

It's taken every opportunity to describe the game as the 'definitive' version of the game, and there certainly looks to be truth to the statement. While its XBLA counterpart was developed using Microsoft's XNA technology, with Super Deluxe the Brighton based studio has graduated to its own new multi-platform engine and totally rewritten the original game.

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ENCORE
For the unfamiliar, Chime's gameplay involves placing blocks on a grid to rack up high scores, the immediate driving goal is to build 3x3 (or more) squares known as 'Quads'. When placed on the grid each individual block plays a single note while Quads play a small sample that varies depending on how big the overall Quad is and where on the grid it is placed.

In a similar fashion to Q Entertainment's Lumines, a bar sweeps the puzzle grid from left to right triggering a wave of notes to play over the backing track and also embedding any placed blocks into the grid. The player's long-term aim is to gain as much coverage as possible and rack up score multipliers by building multiple Quads.

Over the course of a session fragments of other pieces are left behind. These pesky rogue blocks have a limited lifetime and must be used in a Quad before it fades away and kills any active multipliers. As with all good puzzle games Chime's addictive quality lies in its simple gameplay mechanics.

For fans of the original it might not seem much has changed at a glance but Zoe Mode has made a number subtle tweaks to the gameplay for the PS3 release. Casual players may not notice the differences beyond the obvious scoring and time parameter changes but seasoned Chimers will quickly pick up on the changes.

Super Deluxe introduces multiple grids which the game rotates through when 100% coverage is reached. Naturally, each new grid is a little more challenging to keep players on their toes and will require quicker fingers and better shape management as time goes on.

It also places a heavier emphasis on dropping notes horizontally, rewarding players for spreading out their placements instead of bottlenecking them vertically in a Tetris-like fashion with more points. Another change made is the introduction of scoring bonuses for 'perfect quads', which are blocks without any left over notes.

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BEATS AND BREAKS
Music is a core element of the game and Chime has an instantly enchanting soundtrack that spans an eclectic mix of genres. Super Deluxe features a number of new custom made tracks, our favourite having been crafted by acclaimed underground chiptune artist Sabrepulse, whose music fits the gameplay of Chime perfectly to create a mesmerizing, euphoric experience.

But it's not all block dropping friendly deep bass and frantic trance music: Zoe Mode has gone to great lengths to include non-traditional compositions that - on paper - would seem wholly out of place in a rhythm based music game. Tracks such as Sympathy, a moving orchestral piece by Joe Hogan, or Looping Song by well-known beatboxer Shlomo are just a couple of Super Deluxe's most memorable.

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