Gameplay: 4 / 10
Graphics: 7 / 10
Replay Value: 7 / 10
Sound and Music: 7 / 10
TopWare Interactive brings us a highly challenging and imaginative chess game. If you are one of the people who whiled the hours away playing Battle Chess in the yesteryears then you definitely want to pick up this one but please don’t expect the same kind of unique animated chess piece action, despite touching on it they simply didn’t push the envelope far enough. With 10 different difficulty levels Battle vs Chess has a little something for everyone, chess dabbler or a chess master alike. Furthermore Battle vs Chess doesn’t just give you the traditional chess setting but decided to shake things up with a variety of placement options which break away from the traditional chess game namely – tactical, recruit, madness and madness recruit. These options allow you to have different amounts of certain pieces and placements to what you would have in a traditional game.
Battle Mode is a form of fantasy gameplay will transfer your board into one of 8 virtual battle grounds which gives the game a combative twist by incorporating mini-games. Something else which was not that impressive was the inclusion of these mini-game and action modes such as duel and slasher, i.e. when one piece would have traditionally taken another you now have to battle it out in order to see who wins. This addition may be fun for some but might not be something a more skilled chess player would enjoy as it eliminates the need for strategy as you can effectively finish the game with a single piece and a series of clicking. Thankfully you don’t have to make use of all of these innovative (and
sometimes annoying) features. It is however something that amateur chess players may enjoy as they could get a little frustrated trying to beat the highly evolved and continuously adapting AI, fortunately the game offers helpful hints to the inexperienced player where needed.
The graphics are also a treat. White pieces have been themed for Order and Black for Chaos. The entire game supports this theme and the distinctions were beautifully incorporated. And while they did perhaps not venture wholly into the fun animated style of the popular Battle Chess, having only two possible ways of executing an attack and one of dying per piece, they certainly did pay a great deal of care to the overall aesthetics. As far as opponents are concerned you are in no way limited to engaging the AI. You have the option of seeking opponents via Internet or LAN and can even have a multi-player game with both opponents playing on the same computer. Using the ELO ranking system the game will keep track of your scores and place your skills globally so you can look to learn and improve.
While Battle vs Chess is a fun little game with which you can pass away many hours, you should be warned that chess purists probably won’t like the additions and should probably stick to the traditional variety but if you simply like having a nice animated version of chess on your computer then you’ll get a lot out of this one. Though the mini-games and puzzles in the game can be fun for a while don’t expect too much gameplay from it, they are just a small addition to the game.
In summation Battle vs Chess is a fun and graphically pleasing adaptation and whilst it won’t be able to hold a candle to the high end games on the market it succeeds in breathing life into an old game without completely abandoning the traditional format. When judged solely for what it is – a nice desktop time killer or way of honing and improving your chess skills – then they surely succeeded in what they set out to do. With more modes and levels than you’ll have time to know what to do with Battle vs Chess will keep you amused indefinitely.