It's been a long road for charity-focused games publisher OneBigGame: when I first talked to founder Martin de Ronde in 2007, its goal was to raise funds by soliciting mini-game designs by some of the industry's top developers, and find a studio to bring them all to life in one retail kit, a playable form of fundraising form of 80's supergroup org Band Aid.
Flash forward three years -- a lightyear away from the landscape then, with the rise of dedicated digital-download portals across every gaming platform -- and priorities have changed, for the better, with Broken Sword designer Charles Cecil, Parappa creator Masaya Matsuura (and a stellar handful of unannounced devs) now on board to create their own fully formed games for a variety of devices, with proceeds going to benefit charities like Save the Children and Starlight.
The bar for those designers has already been set incredibly high, though, as UK studio Zoë Mode lets loose the first game under the OneBigGame label with music puzzler Chime, just released via Xbox Live Arcade.
report this ad
Genre aficionados will recognize the precedent here, and Zoë Mode wears its influences proudly on its sleeve: take the sweeping 'beatline' of Q Entertainment's PSP-launching Lumines and swap out the falling blocks for an open, free-form arrangement more akin to cult board game Blokus.
Fitting together the pieces into 3x3 or higher solid 'quads' clears them off the board, with chains and multipliers that reward you for creating multiple concurrent quads, or for rapidly expanding the quad before its own meter runs out (which it does more quickly on the more difficult levels) and it's cleared off the board. More importantly, the game rewards covering each square of the board's grid before your timer runs through.
And how it does that is directly related to the real star here: its musical integration, and the artist list Zoë Mode managed to bring together, a diverse and A-list team including Moby, Orbital's Paul Hartnoll, and no less than composer Philip Glass.
Each submitted master versions of their songs, giving the developer the opportunity to tightly integrate the song with your gameplay: each placed block, well, chimes, as the beatline sweeps across it (in almost a faux Tenori-On fashion) with minute bits of the song, a base on top of which each formed quad rewards you with its own samples, and the amount of the board you've covered brings background ambiance to a bold crescendo.
It's that even tighter and more direct interplay between the brick laying and the music that sets it far apart even from its Lumines inspiration: it's as truly hypnotic and zone-inducing (particularly, and not surprisingly, on Glass's level) as puzzlers come, and a fantastic start to what is hopefully OneBigGame's long-running campaign for a greater good.
Chime has been added to Boing Boing's ongoing list of Games To Get, covering the best in independent and retail games.
Help is just a prototype, but it’s already nearly perfect: in the American west of 1869, hunt down the bandits who’ve kidnapped your wife, then return her safely home. The controls are simple (walk around with WASD and point and click with the mouse to shoot) and the aesthetic and gameplay add up to an […]
Josh Jacobson is a Nintendo cartridge hacker who makes homebrew cartridges for games that were never released for NES/SNES, complete with label art and colored plastic cases that makes them look like they came from an alternate universe where (for example), there was a Nintendo version of Sonic the Hedgehog.
The Humble Freedom Bundle will take $30 or more and in return give you more than 50 games, ebooks audiobooks and comics, including two never-before-heard audiobook titles from me: a newly mastered edition of the audiobook of my book on copyright, the internet and artistic integrity, Information Doesn’t Want to be Free, featuring both Neil […]
Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French […]
Not all hackers are malicious information thieves—white-hat ethical hackers work with technology companies to ensure the security of their computer systems and user data. With all of today’s high-profile data breaches, ethical hackers are in considerable demand. To learn these critical skills and break into the high-paying cyber security field, try taking the courses in this […]
Making people aware of goods and services in the digital age requires an array of new strategies from social media and email to number-crunching tools like Google Analytics. To get a handle on the techniques used to capture attention and convert traffic into dollars in a crowded online environment, the Full-Stack Marketer Bundle offers 22 hours of training to get […]