Reviews

Chess Lite & Chess Pro

Are you looking for the best Chess game on your iPhone? Have you been scouring the internet to decide on that perfect chess iPhone app? When you ask people if they want to play chess, do they always say no? If you answered yes to any of these questions, get a life, then read my review. Actually, reverse that, read my review, then go get a life. :)

Chess Lite & Chess Pro are basically the same, so in this review I will be discussing Chess Pro. Chess Pro is basically Chess Lite with the addition of themes and some different chessboard games, like suicide. To see a complete list of what is in each version you can see the table below:

094068 909567
Chess Lite ($.99)
Chess Pro ($3.99)
- Single player mode – Player vs iPhone, iPhone vs Player

- Compete against friends in 2-player mode

- Move pieces by dragging or with a tap-tap movement

- Complexity- Designed for casual players

- Undo option, last move highlight

- Next move hint and legal moves highlight

- Save/ Load/ Resume options

- Demo game by iPhone vs iPhone to understand the game

- 3 Level complexity: Easy, Medium, Hard

- 3 Variants: Regular, Suicide and Losers

- Undo option, last move highlight

- Next move hint and legal moves highlight

- Save/ Load/ Resume options

- 3D themes

- Single player mode – Player vs iPhone, iPhone vs Player

- Compete against friends in 2-player mode

- Intuitive controls. Move the pieces with your finger tips as in real life

You can play against the computer or another person on the same phone. When playing two player, you make a move, then the board rotates the let the other person make a move.

909567_5The controls are pretty straight forward. You tap a piece to select it, then tap where you want it to go. You can turn an option on or off to show you what legal moves you can make when you have selected a piece. If this option is off and try to move your piece to an “illegal” spot nothing will happen, which can be frustrating. I would have liked to see the game tell you it an illegal move, make a sound, or something.

The computer moves quickly even on hard mode. Playing moves quickly too. Even though the board is small it’s not hard to hit your target every time after a few moves. The game lets you undo indefinitely, which is a nice feature. You can also ask for a hint which will use the AI to suggest a move for your side. There is no limit on hints so you can use them as many times as you like, even use it watch the AI play itself. It’s a neat feature, but  I would have preferred the hints to be limited.

One unique features of Chess Pro is that it comes with two other chess variants, Suicide and Losers. For those bored with normal chess, or find it too difficult these variants can be fun. They can be faster paced and feel very different from normal chess.

The chess engine is the open source GNU Sjeng Chess Engine. The Sjeng engine is used in Mac OS X Chess. This engine is one of the stronger versions, but not one of the best. Still it’s strong enough that unless you can beat Gary Kasparov, the chess engine should provide plenty of challenge.

909567_3There are two things that I would like to see in an iPhone chess game that this game does not have. First I would like to see a board setup option. I play chess in real life, and sometimes have to leave in the middle of a game. I want the option to setup the board on my iPhone to practice with while away. Second, I would like to see online play. Your playing chess on a connected device, give me online play already!

So how does it rate?

Presentation & Graphics
2-stars_sm

The graphics on this game are just okay. Even on Pro where you have several themes they are all pretty blah. Everything seems to have come out of a mediocre Photoshop tutorial. If your looking for something with amazing graphics go with Deep Green instead.

Sound
1-stars_sm

It get’s one star for sound only because I can’t give it zero stars. The game sounds are annoying, I can’t find any redeeming qualities about them.

Gameplay
3-stars_sm

The game plays like you expect. With the sound off it’s easy to play the game for hours on end.

Gamelife
4-stars_sm

Chess fans of all levels can find a lot of great features in Chess Lite & Chess Pro. The variants, hints, and difficulty levels alow this game to have an extremley long gamelife. Heck, it’s chess, it’s allready been around for over 500 years.

Game Rating
3-stars

Chess Lite & Pro have a lot to offer, but fail in the sound and graphics areas. Peronally I would still buy Deep Green over this one, but if the idea of the game variants appeals to you pick up Chess Pro. Don’t even bother with Chess Lite.

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