[Guest reviewer Colin Brown profiles each game in the Oktoberfest Bundle running on IndieGames' co-created site, Indie Royale.]

I find there is a bit of a lack of new ideas in the arcade puzzle genre, which is a real shame. It seems like Tetris and Bejeweled are the real dominating milestones in the genre and while there are many games with good riffs on the basics of those two cultural giants, it's rare to find something altogether different. What I'm getting at here is that Chime is actually something unique, offering up some relaxing time based block building gameplay in a totally new framework. You can definitely feel a bit of influence from the games that came before, but Chime still feels like a fresh experience.

Here's the basics. In Chime, you have a large playing field where you can rotate and place various pentominos. It helps to intertwine them, as creating a solid rectangle of more than 3 by 3 tiles will start a countdown. Adding further tiles to each side of the rectangle resets the timer, and the bigger the shape when the timer ends, the better the score. Once the timer runs out, the shape will disappear after a continuously passing wave reaches it, freeing up the space for new shapes. But score is not your only goal, as clearing a tile will mark it, and marking every tile ends the level and begins additional, higher scoring rounds. It's difficult to gather from screenshots alone, and even trickier to explain, but the relative freedom of placement allows room for more creative strategies, while the various timers add the required degree of urgency.



But where would Tetris be without that one song? Gameplay is only one facet of the presentation, and Chime is more musically influenced than most. Each game begins after you choose a song and time limit, with a handful of very well done remixes to pick from. The aforementioned shape removing wave is directly connected to the music, as it moves to the beat and plays extra notes for every shape and combo on the board. The result is a uniquely catchy symphony based on your skill at creating combos or your coverage of the board, with new songs to unlock based on your relative performance, each of which introduce trickier shapes, more challenging boards and faster beats. The modified music tracks are all excellent, mostly coming from recognized remix artists with one fan-service appearance from everybody's favourite Aperture AI.

There's a handful of elements one needs to make a terrific arcade puzzle game, and Chime has a big checkmark next to every one of them. It has fun, cognitive gameplay as well as terrific presentation through the downright beautiful sound design. If that Tetris app on your phone simply isn't cutting it anymore, this is a fantastic time to give Chime a spin.

[Chime, The Adventures of Shuggy and four other games are available in the current Oktoberfest Bundle on Indie Royale.]