(DSiWare)

Academy: Checkers (DSiWare)

Game Review

Academy: Checkers Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

A smart move

Gamelion's proved itself adept in the DSiWare space, creating portable versions of board or pen and paper games — Extreme Hangmen and Academy: Tic-Tac-Toe are examples — and its latest effort is Academy: Checkers.

Checkers — or draughts to some of you — is a game most people know how to play already, removing the need for a tutorial mode, though there is in-game help if you're not sure. Pleasingly there are two sets of rules — International and English — and while there are only subtle differences between the two it's good to see both audiences catered for.

You can elect to play standard one-off matches against the CPU or another player in hot seat mode, though sadly there's no wireless multiplayer or Download Play on offer. There's also a timed match, where you and your opponent must play a game within a strict time limit, but that's pretty much all of your options. There are multiple profiles for single matches that track win/loss figures, while there are also a range of achievements to unlock.

The game does offer a league mode where you match up against CPU players displaying a wide range of artificial intelligence levels: some will best you in minutes while others display a reckless disregard for their own pieces. The AI is generally challenging without being crushing, with multiple difficulty options available depending on your skill level, though one thing they all have in common is a tendency to stay in holding patterns in the closing stages. Draws are only declared when both players are down to one piece and a stalemate is inevitable, but some games can go on for ages before getting to this point: only the patient need apply.

Graphically you're not going to get anything world-beating out of this package, and the school-inspired presentation is passable without really adding much to the title’s atmosphere. Music is similarly bland but can at least be turned off.

Conclusion

While Academy: Tic-Tac-Toe proved a lacklustre effort, the extra level of strategy here — particularly with two different versions of the rules included — justify the 500 Point price tag. An enjoyable representation of checkers that entertains without excelling, it's worth a look if you're after a portable version of the classic board game.

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User Comments (10)

Supremeist

#3

Supremeist said:

Imagine if this had online play? Then I would get it, but it looks to me I'll be sticking with playing RuneLink on RuneScape.

BulbasaurusRex

#4

BulbasaurusRex said:

So, what are the differences between the English and International rules? Do both players need to buy the game to play against each other?

Anyway, this sounds good and will be added to my Wishlist.

James

#5

James said:

@BulbasaurusRex International Draughts is played on a 10 x 10 board and Kings can move as many spaces as they want. In English Checkers it's 8 x 8 and Kings can only move one space at a time.

As the review says the only multiplayer is hotseat on a single console — there's no wireless or Download Play.

slidecage

#6

slidecage said:

Never knew single checkers can move backwards in a jump... also is there a way to adjust the diff. level in Tourament mode cause i cant figure out a way to...

I didnt think Tic tac toe was that bad (ai was stupid though)
AI on this game is harder even on school level (first stage of 5) im like 10 wins and 20 losses (then again maybe i suck at checkers)

its really worth the 5 bucks since you do get 5 different stages to play in but if im this bad on school level i hate to see how hard the game is on super star (stage 5)

also the game has more stats on this then on tic tac doe...

Love to see them use this sort of game engine on GIN or Hearts or another card game would buy it in a second even at 800 pts

also those wonder i think in tour mode there are 5 stages after you play so many matches TOP 3 move on to the Next stage BOTTOM 3 move down a stage

Stage 1 school I think 31 matches
Stage 2 city i think 15 matches
stage 3 state i think 15 matches
stage 4 world i think 15 matches
stage 5 super stars i think 15 matches

so your looking at least 91 matches before you become checkers champ also there are 13 goals you can aim to get

only down side is like to see a forefit button since some drag out way too long or OFFER DRAW button

Squid

#7

Squid said:

"...though sadly there's no wireless multiplayer or Download Play on offer."
(Close tab)

James

#9

James said:

@slidecage You can change the difficulty in single matches but don't think you can in the league mode. Might be in options somewhere, but I don't think it is.

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