Chess Classics for iPhone review

For £5.99, you might wonder what you get with Gameloft’s Chess Classics that you don’t with other, less expensive iPhone games. In fact, you get quite a lot. Chess Classics doesn’t just give you chess, but it also provides a fun backgammon game. You also get loads of capabilities and options, mini-games and challenges. Unfortunately, the interface doesn’t work that well, and the graphics leave something to be desired, too.

The ancient board games of chess and backgammon are well-represented here, both with 2D and 3D graphics options and several themes to choose from (themes change the colour and composition of the board and pieces). When you’ve turned on the 3D graphics, you can also adjust camera views to spin or rotate the board and change the angle. This effect shows off the iPhone’s graphics capabilities, but it really doesn’t benefit you at all.

Gameloft bills the game as suitable for beginners or experts. Certainly the game’s AI scales a bit, but tutorials only tell you where pieces can go. There’s a quiz mode to help you learn some rules and tricks, but there’s nothing comparable to a Chessmaster-like tutor that might give you a more advanced lesson on chess strategy.
You can compete against a friend (on the same iPhone or iPod touch) in a two-player mode, and play tournament games in a Classic mode.

Backgammon is a great diversion, and it increases the value of Chess Classics dramatically with extras including a two-player mode and challenges to test your skill.

OUR VERDICT

Chess Classics makes good use of the multi-touch interface, but we found that we often had to repeatedly drag pieces to where we wanted them to go. You can magnify the board a bit in 3D mode, but close up the graphics are weak. However, as a chess game it’s great, and you get backgammon, too.

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