Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: Chess Light for iPhone and iPad

Chess Light's elegant icon caught my eye while I was browsing the new releases. When I saw that it was developed by Pyrosphere, the makers of the excellent Lazors, I immediately bought it.
I'm a freak for games with elegant user interfaces. I loved B├ęzier, which looks like a physics textbook, but Chess Light might be even better. Everything from the font to the subtle color palette makes you think of a serious chess book.

The interesting idea behind Chess Light is to draw some shapes over the checkerboard, and require to light them up using a number of chess pieces.
Note that the pieces work like their chess counterparts, but they don't light up the square that they are placed on: you need to use another piece to attack that one. This is an important mechanic to make the puzzles more interesting.
The shapes to cover sometimes are symmetrical, like in the puzzle above, other times look completely random, like in this one.
The puzzles can be intriguingly challenging, even with a small number of pieces. As far as I can tell, the solution is always unique. Imagining the attack patterns of the pieces overlaid on the odd shapes can be difficult, so be prepared for a good amount of tinkering. You can use some logic to guide you towards the solution, but for me it was mostly trial and error.

In some puzzles there are also unmovable black pieces. When a white piece is attacked by a black piece, it doesn't light any square, so you'll usually want to avoid that. But if the black piece is e.g. a rook, you might want to put one of your pieces in front of it to protect another piece.
The game contains 140 puzzles, rated on 6 difficulty levels from Beginner to Grandmaster. Some of the puzzles are quite elegant.
The user interface is fine, but the pieces are a bit small when playing on an iPhone; I sometimes failed to pick them up on the first attempt, and while you drag them around it's difficult to see what's going on below your finger.

If you get stuck on a puzzle, you can use hints to reveal the position of one piece. You earn some hints by solving the puzzles, and can buy more with in-app purchases.

The game can surely be recommended, whether or not you like chess. It has simple mechanics, but solving all the puzzles will require some serious effort.


Summary

Nontrivialness★★★★☆
Logical Reasoning★★★☆☆
User Interface★★★☆☆
Presentation★★★★☆
Loading Time★★★★★
Saves Partial Progress
Status Bar

©2014 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and nontrivialgames.blogspot.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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