The iPhone as a gaming platform is really interesting as we are getting games from the entire back catalogue of gaming history. Now another oldie enters in a slightly tweaked appearance. George W was not a part of the game when it surfaced on the Mac 25 years ago.
The story is presented in some short passages of text that you scroll through in 30 seconds but still it is really important for the mood and feel of the game. Alice of Wonderland fame falls onto a chessboard and has to conquer all the pieces to go to the next level. It is all slightly bizarre and the combination of the simple chessboard with the ordinary pieces versus Alice with strange music lulls you in and hey presto an hour passed. It is all about winning the chess game but it is not chess at all. The chess part is the basic restraint of movement. The enemies move like they should on a regular chessboard, while Alice moves as one predetermined piece. First levels she moves like the queen, the next four as the rook and so forth. The enemies move faster as you progress through the levels. You don’t have to take turns while playing, which takes this far away from chess into action puzzle territory. You can queue a move as well, which gives you some leverage when attacked by multiple enemy queens.
Another really cool aspect of the game is that you can change theme and that changes everything. The board, pieces and music all change. The four themes are regular, funfair?, political and dj hip-hop theme. All of them are suggestive but I prefer the dj and regular themes myself.
Who will like this game? If you like something unique and strange you might like it. It has some flaws concerning controls at times. You click where you want Alice to go but sometimes the game is really strict if you miss the correct square you often get run over which disturbs the flow of the game at times. Another thing to consider is that you are really only moving around on a chessboard, the story or game play don’t evolve from what you see when you start out on level 1. Granted, I have yet to complete it to level 99, but so far it is just a progression of ever quicker and smarter enemies. Alice X is out now for $1.99.
Presentation and graphics
Really simple and clean, no effects or character animations. Functional and suggestive.
Love it. Simple loops that get you in the mood. Simple sound effects. Able to play your own music and keep both game music and sound effects, which is really cool.
Simple and doesn’t evolve much as it is basically about moving faster and faster over the chess board while conquering the enemy pieces. But hey it isn’t a match three game.
I can see this game staying on my iPhone for quite some time as a pick up while waiting in line or on the bus. The lack of story doesn’t really affect the game life of this kind of action puzzler.