Picture Tetris. Now, instead of the pieces falling down and you making lines – imagine, if you would, that you have full control over where the pieces go on a flat grid. While you're at it, add a few new pieces and a much more varied soundtrack. Also, instead of making lines, you're making squares and rectangles in an attempt to fill up that grid, and you're on a timer. That's Chime. The original by Zoë Mode was innovative and well-received, and Chime Sharp is its even more challenging follow-up.
Story? What Story? Chime Sharp, like its predecessor, doesn’t have any story to speak of, but being an abstract puzzle game, it’s not like we’re going to hold it against them, either.
What it does have is a fairly large assortment of pieces to place, though you only get a specific subset for each level/“song” (the game shows them to you before you begin the level). More and more parts of each song get revealed as you cover more of the area in valid blocks. Get enough coverage, and you'll unlock additional modes and songs within the game – the songlist stands at fifteen as of this writing, and another is planned for the next patch.
As for controls, Chime Sharp supports mouse, Xbox One controllers, and “standard”/generic Windows controllers – pad/mouse to move, one button to rotate, the other to place. That's it, and really, that's all you need. Everything works just fine, which you’d expect if you played the first Chime.
Audio-VisualThe bulk of Chime Sharp’s visuals are made up of colored grids and blocks over unobtrusive backgrounds. In some levels, the blocks you’ve placed will fade in and out, or even change colors – which is a neat trick, but they sometimes fade a bit too much, adding some artificial difficulty to the game. Placing the blocks becomes a bit tricky when you can't easily distinguish them from the backdrop. Hopefully, an option to alter this behavior will show up in a future patch.
The music is an eclectic array of electronica/EDM tunes, well integrated into the gameplay. The way this works is that as you gain more coverage in a level, this brings in more instruments and tracks, allowing you to hear more of the song as you go. As for variety – while there are several different songs to choose from, they do tend to run together after a while. A wider variety would have been nice – but again, the game keeps getting updated and patched, so who knows?