๐Ÿ‘‘ Review: Chess Ultra "Pour a nice glass of Malbec and get that grey matter twitching" ๐Ÿ‘‘

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Game Title: Chess Ultra
Developer: Ripstone
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Rating: Ice Cool

Ripstone have developed a video game that takes the essentials of the game of Chess, refines the various aspects of it and distils it almost perfectly onto the Nintendo Switch.

The last time I played a digital version of Chess, it was the mighty Battle Chess on the Amiga (and before that on the Amstrad CPC), I recall Battle Chess being enjoyable due to its humorous animations but a very sluggish experience. 

As that was back in the early 90s, I was intrigued as to what direction Ripstone would take Chess Ultra in this modern iteration and it turns out that they have focused on the more regal, reserved aspects which suited the game well.

The basics of the game remain untouched but are well-presented. There are several locations and styles of pieces to use (with extra types of pieces available from the store for a quite pricey £7.99 each!) ranging from metal to plastic and ‘blood and cream (which I used because it reminded me of The Witcher 3 DLC) no matter what locale or type of set you choose, you’ll be treated to a lushly-realised and yet calming place with soothing, unobtrusive music in the background.

Chess Ultra has several game modes that can be broken down into single player, local multiplayer and online. Each plays very well, there’s a richness and robustness that suits the elegant tone although trying to find a player online with the same skill level can take some time and players can take a while (if ever) to get back to you, but this isn’t the fault of the game, just the occasional player.  

I tended to play the game mostly in either single player or local multiplayer (old school) and the single player game gives you a variety of viewpoints to choose from as you play whilst the portable multiplayer locks you into a top-down view that I would have liked the ability to change as the pieces can be difficult to make out (although when you hover over them you can see where they can move and so it’s easy enough to work around), it would have been nice to have a button that flicks the view behind the pieces as in single player mode.

Another niggle I had was how choosy the game is with multiple controllers, it seems to have a standard setup depending on the mode that you can’t alter so you just have to deal with, which isn’t a huge issue but worth mentioning.

Chess Ultra is an enjoyable version of the classic game which is perfect for holidays or those working away. It’s not a game I would play regularly (although I’m admittedly not a Chess enthusiast) but I will definitely take away on family holidays and I’m sure that people will find ways that this game will slot nicely into the calmer moments of their everyday lives and although the serene approach that this game takes may not be ‘fun’ enough for everyone, it’s also a great starting place for newbies with the included tutorials and generally accessible approach.

Right, I’m off to watch the awesome movie ‘Computer Chess’, this has got me right in the mood!

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

 Review By Britt

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