Jan 22, 2017 Last Updated 1:11 PM, Jan 21, 2017
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Chess. Whether you love the game or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s one of the best games-if, not the best ever created.

Personally, I love playing chess.

It’s simplistic but allows for almost limitless strategy and ingenuity. But because of its long history and many variations released digitally, a game developer must add unique elements to their version of the game in order to make it stand out amongst the competition, and unfortunately, 3D Chess, does not.

3D Chess was developed by bumblebee. and published by rokapublish. Its gameplay includes classic chess, which can be played against a computer, or player vs. player on one computer. There are several other single player game modes as well, such as chess puzzles to help practice players achieve a certain objective (putting the opponent’s king check, avoiding check yourself, and checkmating the opponent’s king) and a “chaos” mode, which seems to make the computer move randomly. This game mode is better suited for beginners to learn the mechanics of chess. You can even create your own chess puzzles and share them to an online community and play other people’s puzzles, which is a fun idea. The lack of online compatibility with chess, however, is disappointing, since arguably the best part about chess is going up against another human mind and trying to figure out their strategy while making your own. Playing against a computer is useful for improving your skills, but it isn’t the same as playing against a human, and if you have a friend over and want to play chess, buying a physical chess set to play with would be much more comfortable than huddling around a computer screen. Even playing against the computer isn’t very challenging, as there are only minor differences between each of the three difficulty settings: easy, normal, and hard. It’s difficult to even notice these differences at times since, occasionally, the computer makes very bad moves on normal and hard.

Although somewhat lacking in gameplay, 3D Chess looks excellent.

Its 3D rendered pieces and environments add some visual flair to an otherwise plain game, and you’re able to select between various camera angles, as well as a 2D mode, in order to view the board whichever way suits you best. The graphics, however, must be adjusted when you first start the game up, and the only way to change them is to exit the game and reopen it. There is no way to change the graphics in the game’s menus. Also, although the 3D environments look nice and add style to the game, there are only 4 to select from, and even then they’re somewhat basic. There’s just not a lot to look at, which would otherwise be fine, but the lack of audio makes the visuals’ flaws very apparent. Each environment, except for a traditional wooden tabletop, has sound effects, but no music. For example, the volcanic environment has lava bubbling, the Ancient Greek (or is it Roman? It’s difficult to tell) environment has fire crackling, and the graveyard environment has some spooky sounds playing in the background. Ironically, the trailer for the game on Steam has some amazing music playing during it, but the game does not at all. Despite the environments looking nice, playing with them can get annoying, as the sound effects have no variety. The same sound loops over and over again, which lead me to just mute the sound altogether.

Controls are done nicely and work well, but then again, controls for chess are fairly simple. I encountered several bugs while playing, though. Some of the puzzles would not allow me to move a certain piece for some reason and ended in an automatic failure of that puzzle. I, therefore, had to retry until I found out which piece I had to move first to progress through the rest of the puzzle, which is frustrating because many of these puzzles should have multiple solutions to them. Also, there is an option to go back a move when playing against the computer, which sometimes makes it so that your pieces return to their original squares but the computer’s does not, leaving them wide open to be captured.


The Verdict

Overall, 3D Chess has some cool ideas and nice visuals, but the lack of audio, online compatibility, and difficulty settings prevent it from standing out and making it a chess game to return to, over and over again. I give 3D Chess a 6 out of 10.

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Matthew White

Matthew is originally from Savannah, Georgia and currently studying Theatre and Performance Studies. Besides playing video games, Matthew also enjoys acting, writing, and reading Spiderman comics. His favorite games are RPGs, especially The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, and aspires to perform in film or television.

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