Absolute Chess (DSiWare)

Game Review

Absolute Chess Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Absolutely Chess, but with annoying extras

It’s hard to imagine that there’s a wrong was to make a video game based on a board game that has been around for thousands of years, but Tasuke manages to find some ways to mess with the classic formula. While Absolute Chess is simply a video game in which you play chess, it also contains with a few unnecessary features that actually detract from the chess playing experience. The strangest feature that this game has to offer is the inclusion of completely unnecessary anime-style characters that you choose to play as. With no trace of a back-story, their inclusion makes little to no sense, and actually adds confusion to what should be a very straightforward title.

Absolute Chess offers two types of play modes for single players. The first of the two is Free Play, in which you can choose a character and the opponent that you would like to play against. Different opponents have different difficulty levels, but these can all be customised, if for some reason you’d like to play against an Advanced character on Beginner difficulty. You then change aspects of the match by selecting character order, and other minor graphical tweaks such as background colour and piece design. Though these changes are available, they don’t actually do anything very noticeable.

The other single player mode is challenge mode, containing five levels with three missions in each. The missions all include winning a game of chess, but with an additional rule, such as winning in a limited amount of time or a certain amount of moves. The challenge mode is not very long, but the ridiculous difficulty curve might make it almost impossible for some players to get past level three. If you are planning on sticking to the free play mode, however, Absolute Chess can be a lot of fun and offer limitless amounts of replayability.

One very interesting and appreciated feature in Absolute Chess is the inclusion of multiplayer Download Play. While the game does not include an online multiplayer feature, or one that allows two people who own the game to play locally, with the Download Play feature you can challenge your friends to a game of chess even if they don’t own the DSiWare title.

While the graphics in Absolute Chess are nothing special, they absolutely get their job done. The bottom screen features the game board, with your pieces on the bottom and your opponents on the top. The board is simply a plain flat chess board, and the pieces are the same, but fortunately the pieces are designed differently enough that they are easily distinguishable from one another, so you’ll never have to worry about mistaking a bishop for your ever-coveted queen. The top screen features the names and faces of the anime-style players that you and your opponent have selected as well as showing which pieces you and your opponent have collected from one another.

Two different control options are available, but both are sufficiently simplistic. The first is to use the D-Pad to navigate, then select your piece with A, and press A again on the space in which you would like it to move. The other control option is to use the stylus to choose your piece, then to simply click on the space you want to move it too. While both controls work well, there can be a bit of confusion with the touch controls if you do not choose your piece or square exactly.

The audio doesn't actually sound bad, but there is such a lack of variation that it is almost better to play on mute. Different chimes and clashing sounds are made when pieces are moved or taken, but the soundtrack is the game's most lacking feature. Containing about three different songs that all sound like default ringtones that came with your old cell phone, they're unimaginative and repetitive, but will certainly get stuck in your head and have you annoyed before long.

The only genuinely new feature in Absolute Chess is the inclusion of a wait option. Waiting is basically a chance for you to redo your last move after you see how your opponent is going to react. The number of Waits that you can use is limited by the character you select, or you can just set the number to either “No Limit” or “None” in the options menu. Also included is a menu filled with chess rules that range from basic to explaining advanced techniques, and are an excellent inclusion for newcomers to the game. Besides these, there is nothing too out of the ordinary in this game. With an unfortunate lack of back-story to the characters or unlockable features, the game offers little to no depth, but this might not actually be a problem if you’re a player who is simply looking to play chess.


If you’re desperate to play chess while on the go, then Absolute Chess is not a bad purchase for 200 Points. If you’re looking for a good chess experience with adaptive difficulty that will keep you entertained for hours on end, then you might want to wait for the next iteration of the classic game. It’s not necessarily that Absolute Chess is a bad game, but it is severely lacking the key features that would allow it to be considered good. If you are simply looking for a game of chess that can easily picked up, Absolute Chess can be pretty fun once you find a difficulty level that best suits your skills.

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User Comments (13)



jdkipfer said:

This is at the top of my list of Dsiware games I want.
(I based that on another review)



LordJumpMad said:

IGN love this game.

Well it dose look better then that other Chess Game for the DSiware



cheapogamer4life said:

i was looking to learn how to play the game of chess so i took a chance on this title and instant downloaded it. To my surprise im really having fun with this one. The rules are really easy to understand and the featue that shows you all the legal moves you can make with each chess piece is nice. With dl and play included I would recommend this game for anybody who is curious about chess.



grumblegrumble said:

There is a typo (was) in the first sentence of this review. The old editor in me is sorry for that. LOL. Otherwise, I agree totally with the review here. If they would just cut out all the crap and just have a good chess game for 200 points then it would have scored higher. Sucks that when companies try to "be different" all they get sometimes is a mediocre release. Not a real tutorial to speak of, either. Most ppl I know don't play chess because its too complicated to understand, and a nice working tutorial (instead of all the nonsense provided with the characters in the game, etc) would have been a great addition. Help files and text screens don't do it for me, sorry. So, I'll pass, until something better comes along in this genre and format.



Sylverstone said:

Yep... another DSiWare phase.

First it was Sudoku, then Solitaire then Chess.

I'll gladly pass, since I have Clubhouse Games.



EdEN said:

Well, for 200 points I liked the game. Played it for an hour yesterday and had no problems at all.



YoshiSage said:

I'd love to go on a long-winded tirade about the potential of DSiWare and the piles of manure that are shoveled into it, but I'll just say that I expected better.



Karakato said:

I'm one of those people who are bad at chess yet I find this game decent. It is not by any means a shovelware game, but it's not great either. It does what it's supposed to do and does the job adequtely,(the anime portraits aren't and music that bad). for 200 points, its a must have for the chess players but still decent for others since it's cheap and supports download play. A 6 out of 10 for me.



ramstrong said:

"The challenge mode is not very long, but the ridiculous difficulty curve might make it almost impossible for some players to get past level three."

I guess it may be just me, but I do not find the challenges to be hard. If you play a defensive game, the computer WILL make a mistake that you can capitalize on. Also, since pawns count as "pieces", that makes it easy. I laugh at the comment mistaking bishop for a queen, but I understand the motivation. It is THAT one other chess program.

Yes, the lack of timers does make it annoying. But this chess program isn't built for long sittings. It's for blitzkrieg players. Chess as an action game, so to speak.

For those interested in more details, I did an entry Aug 17, on my ramstrong blogspot. There's a sample game in there.

And if it's not asking too much, the next time you review a chess program, please indicate the strength of the chess engine. Actually, a discussion of AI on all applicable reviews will be appreciated. I am interested in GAMES instead of pretty pictures.



Kyloctopus said:

I don't get it the Absolute Series should get dramaticly higher reviews. The idea of an anime theme sounds awesome, there were barely any flaws you mentioned. You are also forgeting about the small price tag of 200 points. And the download play feature surely at least an 8/10
I hope Absolute Reversi does any better.



Ron_DelVillano said:

My problem with the anime theme is that it does absolutely nothing for the game. It would have been really cool if there was back-story for the characters, or if they had different traits, or anything at all, but all of that was completely missing.

And you're right, the price is excellent, but that has nothing to do with the actual game itself. It could have been free, but the features would still be the same. I completely understand that you get what you pay for, but at the same time it should be clear that my job was to review the game itself, not how its price point compares to others.

And I did mention the download play feature being there, and being really impressive, but again, you can't base an entire review on one feature.



JuneBelle said:

So, if they had left off the anime characters and just made it a straight forward level progression of competing against the faceless, nameless computer AI, it would have gotten a higher score?
That doesn't make any sense. How does taking something away make it better?

In my opinion, backstory or not, the anime characters give the AI a more human and homey feel. It makes you feel less like you are just battling the computer; and it gives you an avatar. It just....feels less clinical as some of the other ones feel.

Heck the fact that that was pretty much all you could find at fault with this one was what made me get it, especially since I liked the idea of avatars. Every criticism that came sounded like a plus to me. So I got it, especially at that price; and I love it.

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