What is Chime Sharp?
Chime Sharp is a musical puzzle game, and sequel to 2010's Chime, that mixes the block-building of Tetris with minimalist-style music. The idea here is to place blocks down to create "quads" - basically, any four sided shape. In doing so, you'll gradually colour in more of the background, which in turn will add more parts into the song that's playing, until you eventually build up to the full track. With fifteen songs on offer, including popular artists like Chvrches and Kavinsky, and several different modes to try out, all wrapped up in a cheap and cheerful package, there's a fair bit to keep puzzle fans entertained here.
How do you play Chime Sharp?
At its most basic, Chime Sharp is all about fitting various shaped blocks (like Tetris pieces, but made of five) into a grid, tessellating them as best as you can into what the game calls a "quad" - essentially a square or rectangle. With a beat line crossing the grid in time with the music, quads will both earn you points, and start to build up the background music when the beat line passes over and removes them, turning it from a barely-there hum to a much busier electronica tune. The greater the area you cover, the more points you'll get, and the longer you'll be able to keep playing, aiming for 100% coverage of the grid as you go.
Chime Sharp also has a few different modes on offer, to help mix things up a bit. Challenge mode ups the ante a little, giving you a more unusually shaped grid to fill, and less choice of pieces to put down, making things that little bit harder. Sharp (and the more advanced Strike) mode meanwhile challenges you to cover as much of the level as you can, whilst not leaving behind any overhanging 'fragments' - parts that didn't fit neatly into the square, and as such weren't cleared. Essentially, these fragments have a finite number of beat line passes they can take before they disappear, losing you a life in the process - so you need to try and incorporate them into new quads as best as you can, in order to keep playing for as long as you can.
How easy is Chime Sharp to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Chime Sharp is actually a relatively easy game to get to grips with - all you need to do is arrange pieces into squares to score points and build up the background music. In the Standard, Challenge and the essentially endless Practice mode, that's all you're really doing - plonking down pieces to cover as much of the grid as possible, aiming for a high score.
However, striking out into Sharp or Strike mode makes the difficulty ramp up rather quickly - and in order to unlock the latter, you'll need to get at least 60% coverage on the former, which is easier said than done. As both modes ask you to make quads without leaving any fragments behind, it's no easy feat, and an exercise in plate spinning if ever there was one, as you'll need to constantly be keeping an eye on the fragments, trying to work them into new quads before they disappear, with the end result often being you just end up leaving more fragments behind. Things are made even trickier by the fact that some colour schemes have minimal contrast, with little difference in colour between the background, and the decaying pieces you need to try and work into quads before they cost you a life.
As Chime Sharp a Tetris-like puzzle game, there's not really anything untoward here to worry about at all - no violence, no blood and guts and no bad language whatsoever. An all round good egg.