Official Website: Chains
One of the first things I noticed about Chains is that there was no tutorial; that’s fine, I could probably figure this out. When the first level, Trident, loads there is a clear message on the screen “Clear 100”. After a moment the level loads and the balls begin to fill in the empty spaces. I sat and watched them fill it, waiting for some kind of direction as to exactly how to clear these multi-coloured balls that had filled in the level and after a short time a box came up and with instructions. This was going to be a lot of fun, no more mind numbing word games, just a brightly coloured and interesting version of connect the dots!
On to the next level! Clear 200 without losing any, and the balls start falling down into this little trapped area with a gate held closed by a counterweight. This was the first time I actually lost a level; sad probably since the first went by so well. My second biggest complaint with the game was that the helpful hints would take enough time to read that by the time I was back to the game the number of balls piled up caused me to fail the level. This happened a couple times before I learned that the game auto pauses when it loses focus. Awesome idea, I really liked this. Now when the hints would come up I would alt tab to some other program and move it out of the way so that I could take my time to read over the hints.
The music throughout the game was very pleasant and I ended up turning off my own music to listen to it. On the fourth level the music really seemed to fit and I didn’t want to leave the level, because it was too much fun.
Gravity was one of the most unique levels I managed to play, aside from
perhaps Coathanger. It was also the first level on which the background
caused my brain to say “ow.” Playing at 800×600 on a 1280×1024 screen the
backgrounds hadn’t really gotten to me before, but the bright pink really
screamed. Many of the levels have very bright or neon colours that make
the hint boxes hard to read and occasionally hurt the eyes after a time.
In the end this was the only thing that kept me from playing longer;
bright colours in a dark room strain the eyes quite a bit.
Many of the levels are not timed per se but you must keep things in balance. Other levels have one, two or even three timers that must be kept track of. At the end of each level you are prompted as to whether you want to continue playing the same level or advance to the next one; either way the level saves as soon as you quit playing it. There are no bonus levels, power ups or rewards that I uncovered, besides the obvious reward of moving from level to level.
By the end of the first day playing the game I had played all the way to the 12th level of 20 and I’m sure if the pizza delivery guy hadn’t shown up I would still be playing instead of doing the review. Over all Chains was a very entertaining game, the levels are each unique, and after the first couple of levels the difficulty scales up very well.