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British game publisher Ripstone announced during the Summer that TIGA Awards finalist Chess Ultra will be arriving on the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2017. The company - known for previously publishing the likes of Ironcast, Extreme Exorcism and Pure Chess for the Wii U and 3DS - are looking to replicate previous success, after the game garnered a strong fan base with 2.5 million players enjoying the age-old game.

Speaking to Hollie Pattison (Community Manager for Ripstone Games) at EGX, we were told the company is looking at “making Chess sexy”. More of a humourous in-joke by Ripstone, perhaps, but you can see what it means with the game's detailed ornaments and lavish arenas. We go from sophisticated classical lounges to the fiery pits of hell, giving the classic game a big overhaul in terms of look whilst keeping the core strategy untouched. This is one of the key goals for Ripstone and appears to be appreciated by the Chess community itself, if previous statistics are anything to go by.

What will be most interesting is that on the Switch, Chess Ultra will become a great way for players to be introduced into the world whilst giving experienced fans a reason to jump in. Ripstone confirmed to us that basically no issues were experienced porting to the console, and it’s great to hear more developers finding the software much easier to work with when compared to Nintendo’s previous hardware.

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We gave it a try; the controls are integral and work well with the Joy-Con (they do work with the Pro-Controller, however we were unable to test) allowing for each player to hold one and still make all the necessary moves. A nice touch is the ability to move the camera angle down to the chess piece level or any 180 degree angle, so nothing is overlooked.

Extra detail has also gone into tutorial mode to try and ensure that even the most seasoned of players will learn a thing or two, along with some enjoyable puzzles to mull over outside of the main game.

We were also reminded of PR details previously release, outlining more of what we can expect when it arrives on Switch.

  • Stunning environments and beautiful chess sets, including a ‘Fire and Brimstone’ chess set that literally burns
  • 10 Grandmaster approved AI levels
  • Comprehensive time controls, including Classical, Blitz and Marathon, all available online
  • Intuitive local and online multiplayer with ELO ranking system
  • Over 80 chess puzzles
  • Re-write the past by winning the biggest historic matches
  • In-depth tutorials

Earlier this Summer the game released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and VR, with new DLC dropping in the form of the “Patheon Game Pack”; this will also be available to buy on Switch. In this new content a Roman environment set in the Pantheon Temple is available along with an Imperial themed set that uses Roman soldiers as Chess pieces.

Chess Ultra is expected to release for around the £9.99 mark (TBC) as per its Steam counterpart on the sometime in the remainder of 2017. Is it on your wishlist?