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Friday, August 30, 2013

Pure Chess lands on iOS and is the definitive version

The Halloween set is just awesome
As most Digitally Downloaded regulars know, I'm a big fan of Pure Chess. The game combines superb production values, excellent AI, a robust multiplayer experience and, amazingly, DLC chess sets that look so good that I actually paid for them. My favourite is the forest set, by the by.

However, at some point I stopped playing. I'm not really sure why, but when at home sitting in front of my TV I preferred the spectacle of Battle Chess, and Zen Pinball's become my Vita go-to game for when out and about. I think I'll be getting right back into it now though, because the iPad is the perfect platform for a good chess game.

Pure Chess on the iPad is a free-to-download game, but it's a little limited in function without spending some cash. It'll cost a few dollars to unlock the ability to have more than one game running at any one time (an essential feature, it must be said). The default chess sets are boring - the nice ones will cost $0.99 each. It's possible to buy the package to download everything for about $15, which sounds expensive for an iOS game, but it's what I went for, since it does represent value for money.

For that $15 you get everything - including a nice variety of chess sets - as well as 10 different difficulty modes for AI (the highest difficulty should test most chess veterans), as well as the ability to juggle multiple solo and multiplayer games at the same time. This latter point is important because the game is asynchronous and so matches can go on over days or weeks.

The biggest improvement over the PS3/ Vita initial release is that Pure Chess is now cross platform. By signing up a Ripstone account you'll be able to play games on your iPad against people who get the upcoming Wii U version of the game. I haven't checked to see if there's been an update to the PlayStation versions of the game, but I assume it's the same there. This makes the whole experience of playing in multiplayer seamless and easy. Being able to take a turn while on the train, and then check in for another turn in between an evening of console gaming is a big deal that will help me finish matches.

Stat fans will also get a kick out of the comprehensive career statistics that the game keeps, and it uses the ELO system for player overall scores. ELO being the official way to grade chess players and all, this is a nice touch.

(Incidentally I would very much like to get some matches going, so if you're interested in a game please do let me know!)

It's also possible to challenge players via Game Center and the push notifications system is a nice, easy way to let you know when you've got a turn waiting.

Pure Chess is getting bigger and better with time. The team at VooFoo is going a great job of expanding on that original release and adding more small, but important features in as they release the game on more and more platforms. I've been waiting for a chess game on iOS to finally "click" with me - this is that game. 
Pure Chess lands on iOS and is the definitive version
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