Chess Ultra Review

There are usually two types of players that play chess. Those that do and play seriously, taking an eternity to make their move. Then you have the players who know how to play, but rarely play but when they do, it’s all just for fun. Chess Ultra aims to bring in both those types of players and even players who’ve never played before, but how does it stack up on console?

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If you’re unfamiliar with the rules of Chess, this title has an expansive tutorial mode which not only explain the rules, but lets you partake allowing you to remember easier. There’s been plenty of chess games over the years that explain the rules but never give you the opportunity to interact with the tutorial. Not only does it explain the basics of the game, but the tutorial goes deep into all the tactics and terminology of chess. It even teaches you the notations of moves, so next time you play with a friend, you can show off your knowledge. Who knew that capturing the pawn after an opponent had moved it two spaces at the start, allowed you to act like it had moved one square – this is called ‘En Passant’.

Moving on from the tutorial, there are a range of modes for you to choose from including single game, tournament and challenges. In tournament mode, you can set up a tournament between you and your friends, or simply join an existing tournament, but what makes this mode unique, is the fact that you can take your turn in your own time meaning. For example, you can take your first go, and whilst you’re waiting for your opponent to take their turn, you could nip out to the shops and come back to take your next turn, providing your opponent has played their move, reminiscent of old school chess via e-mail.

Challenge mode on the other hand, is where this title stands out from other chess games, putting a strain on that noggin of yours. You can re-enact key moves from historic games of chess past that gives you an insight to the minds of the intellectual chess players. The rest of the challenges – of which there are plenty, gives you an opportunity to solve puzzles by ‘check-mating’ in one, two, three or four moves. Check-mate in one move are the simpler challenges (if you could call it simple, that is), but check-mating the other challenges will leave you scratching your head more often than not.

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Another feature that probably makes this a chess first, is the incorporation of 4K. The chess pieces look fantastic, each piece intricately detailed giving you a sense of realism, which makes this the most visually impressive chess game to date.

However, this is a chess game after all, so there’s only so much replayability to be had, although the inclusion of challenge mode will take you a fair few hours to complete whereas the tournament mode offers you the quick 10 minutes to kill scenario, the replayability will vary depending on the player. Overall, this is probably the best chess game you will find on any given console.

Chess Ultra is available from 23rd June and can be downloaded from the Xbox store priced at £9.99.

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