The first thing that came to my mind when playing Chime Super Deluxe was the striking similarity to PSP/XBLA puzzler Lumines. Both titles share the symbiotic relationship between gameplay and music, as well as the concept of the “clear line”. The two resemble one another like siblings, but Chime Super Deluxe has one major advantage over Lumines, and that is four player co-op.
Gameplay in Chime Super Deluxe is fairly simple. Tetris-like pieces in various shapes and configurations are placed on a grid. A line moves across the grid from left to right as you play. When a three by three or bigger square (known as a quad) is made, and the line passes over it, the quad fades away. This scores you points, and paints the grid behind the cleared quad in a different color to show that it is considered covered. The goal is to cover the whole board, score lots of points, and earn time extensions from big combos.
The system is quite intuitive and easy to grasp for casual gamers, yet it’s deep enough to satisfy toughened puzzle veterans. My nine year old son and my non-gamer wife both picked up on the basic concepts quickly. The game is quite enjoyable even at the simplest level where you just concentrate on making as many quads as possible. But the real strategy comes in chaining together pieces to form growing quads as fast as you can before the clear line swings by. This can be a challenge even for folks who dream of Tetris pieces at night. Accessibility and depth are two areas in which Chime Super Deluxe is quite strong.
Unlike many puzzle games, Chime Super Deluxe’s music is a key part of the experience. Each level has a unique track associated with it. When you begin to play a level, the music is soft, subdued, and slow, but as you progress, more and more elements are added to the mix. It’s a bit like hearing an orchestra warm up, starting with just a few scattered instruments here and there, then swelling as entire sections join in. When you are really in a groove with the puzzle, the music crescendos to full strength. You have to really stretch your piece-pushing skills to keep the tunes going at such a level, without faltering, in order to hear the songs in all their glory. This integration of music is compelling, and you constantly feel pushed to do better and better by the audio cues.