Game Name: Absolute Chess
Platforms: Nintendo DSiWare Download Service
Genre(s): Board Games, Strategy
Release Date: August 9th, 2010
Price: 200 Wii Points ($2.00 USD)
Absolute Chess is a easy to play game of chess with a DS Download multi-player as well as a Challenge Mode and Free Play.
Absolute Chess doesn’t really have or need a story. It is simply chess with a few upgrades to it. One thing that does give the game a small bit of personality though is the 8 characters the player can select in Free Play or multi-player. Each character has a nice anime charm that I found welcome in my experience with the game, I would love to actually learn more about this small cast of characters but honestly there isn’t much need as the heart of the game lies on the chess board.
The title of the game is what you get all-around with this one. Absolute Chess is a standard chess game with a few tweaks to the experience that add a bit more challenge and replay with each game. The game moves smoothly and is controlled by the Nintendo DS touch screen or the D-Pad control layout. I found this to be a nice touch as I am constantly forgetting my stylus and having the option for standard control worked well for me on a couple occasions.
As far as the challenge mode goes, there is plenty of challenges to complete, 3 in each of the 5 tiers that the difficulty progresses on. The game will have you go up against a certain character at a certain level and play chess until a winner is decided. This is a very simple formula that works well. The AI is very smart most of the time although I did notice a trend on some games with some of the same moves being made many times. That being said, the AI did switch it up quite a bit and proved to bring worthy opponents in. One feature I also like was that as I was winning matches, a puzzle was being revealed up at the top of the screen. Seeing that puzzle made me want to keep going to unlock the full picture at the end.
There is also a Free-Play mode which is just for a quick, casual game of chess. The mode that stood out the most was the DS Download Play option, allowing players without the game (and yes, even without a DSi as this works on a DS Lite or DS Original unit) to join in and pick a character to battle in the classic board game. All of the same features were applied from the main game in this multi-player mode as well.
The game will keep track of all moves on the right side of the bottom screen throughout the game. There is also a wait function which pretty much is your undo button for a move you might have botched the first time around. Use this function wisely as you only get so many a round though. I think any chess fan will be happy with how well this game really performs compared to some of the lacking entries on handhelds in the past.
The graphics in Absolute Chess are 2-D and pretty standard. The chess board looks as it should and the pieces are detailed well enough to tell one from another. The characters are more of an anime-style that looked great and truly gave a feeling that I was actually playing against someone new when I was doing each challenge. Characters also can have a change in their mood based on the status of the match which can change their main picture on the top screen to fit the situation.
The music was pleasant and simple. I did not find it too memorable, but chess is a thinking game and I wasn’t really concentrating on any tunes playing in the background so it is another add-on to the game that really isn’t much of a factor.
Absolute Chess is a simple, fun chess simulator that can keep you playing for hours if you let it. The controls worked great and the game had a bit of personality added to the classic favorite. There was a few extra features that were not really needed, yet gave the game a little bit of room to stand out among other chess games that have been releasing for the Nintendo DS. The multi-player was a brilliant addition that added even more value to the title in the longrun. Overall, I think at just 200 points, if you even just slightly enjoy the game of chess and want a new experience of the age old board game, Absolute Chess is the the choice for what is in my opinion the best chess experience in the DSiShop.
I Give Absolute Chess: