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PlayStation Vita  header logo

Pure Chess

For: PS Vita   Also on: 3DS


Product: Pure Chess | Developer: VooFoo Studios | Publisher: Ripstone | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Card/ board game | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Pure Chess PS Vita, thumbnail 1
With asynchronous multiplayer gameplay on the rise, it stands to reason that developers will apply the technology to the classics.

Pure Chess for the PS Vita does just this, offering an asynchronous approach to the old-as-the-fathers-of-the-hills boardgame in which two Vita players can challenge each other and watch a game play out over the course of days, weeks, or even months.

If you've played Chess, you'll know what to expect. You're presented with a board loaded with assorted pieces and your goal is to trap your opponent's king and force a checkmate.

If you haven't played Chess before there are handy tutorials that do a perfectly adequate job of explaining the ins and outs of the game, as well as some of the finer tactical points.

The game features the official Elo rating system, which will please lovers of the game. As you play your Elo rating will rise and fall, showing you exactly how good you are.

There are also some excellent mini-games, which set up a board and ask you to checkmate your opponent in just a few moves. 

Pure? Chess and no

The single-player component of Pure Chess is solid, though there are peripheral niggles. The touch controls are a little bit fiddly, and we found ourselves accidentally moving pieces to the wrong squares and having to tap options several times to make them work. Moving the camera is also a bit of a hassle with the touchscreen.

Fortunately, you can also use the buttons to make moves and shuffle the camera, so the poor touchscreen optimisation won't kill the game for you. 

What might kill it is the multiplayer. There's no standard local or online mode, so you're forced to play asynchronously in the Play By Mail mode.

This involves making your move and then sending it to your opponent via a PSN message. While it sounds like it should work on paper, it suffers from three major flaws.

Firstly, PSN is too slow, meaning that grabbing your opponent's latest move is a real hassle. Then there's the fact that you can only play against friends, limiting your pool of opponents to almost nobody.

Finally, and most notably, it turns out that Chess really isn't suited to asynchronous play. Chess is all about thinking a few steps ahead, and so if you have to keep going back to a game after a break it's difficult to keep track of what you're actually doing.

Real-time multiplayer options would have made Pure Chess a must-have download, but as it is you should only really grab it if you're an extreme Chess enthusiast.
Pure Chess
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 27 April 2012
Pure Chess attempts to bring asynchronous play to a classic and fails, but the single-player is still worth the entry fee
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Aug 2011
Post count:
Aces High | 13:43 - 2 July 2012
Yes, I too must concur with the Axe Man. Chess is the quintessential asynchronous game of choice.

Heck, has no one ever watched (the admittedly awful) Revolver?! Jake (played by one J Statham Esq.) played chess while doing solitary bird for gawd sake. He swapped moves with fellow inmates via scribbles in library books.

There, proved - lock, stock and... Hang on, shall I draw you a picture?!!

Jun 2012
Post count:
Amacmac | 05:35 - 16 June 2012
It's worth pointing out the review has a mistake in stating that there is no local pass and play mode, **there is indeed local multiplayer**. You can play local multiplayer by changing the opponent to "human" in the exhibition mode settings.
May 2012
Post count:
ElPrezAU | 03:31 - 8 May 2012
Thank you Axe99, I too raised my eyebrow a significant distance upon reading that particular line.

'Thinking moves ahead' is one of the biggest misunderstandings about chess that laymen to the game have. The more chess you play the more you realise the truth of this.

Good review (as per usual from this site) but yeah, chess heads are all going to take issue with that line.

As Axe99 pointed out, chess is the ultimate asynchronous game and has been played in scenarios where months have passed between exchanges of moves for many many many years.
Feb 2012
Post count:
Axe99 | 23:11 - 4 May 2012
"Finally, and most notably, it turns out that Chess really isn't suited to asynchronous play. Chess is all about thinking a few steps ahead, and so if you have to keep going back to a game after a break it's difficult to keep track of what you're actually doing."


I'm sorry Mike, but you've clearly got no experience with Chess - Chess is one of the most asynchronously played games, if not _the_ most asynchronously played game in the history of our species! And it's worked well for many, many years (people played chess by mail prior to playing by email/internet).

I fully agree that they should have had a live play option as well - very silly that they didn't - but your statement, above, just doesn't hold water. If you're thinking about the game at the depth required, then unless you've got cognitive memory issues, you'll have no trouble remembering where you were at (and the game shows you the last couple of moves when you load up the PBEM game). And if you're not thinking that deeply, then it probably doesn't matter ;).

And, of course, each of the situations in chess is independent from move-to-move. If a rook is on a6, then it doesn't matter that the turn before it came from a5 - it only matters where it is on any particular turn. Unless someone wants to be a victim of their own rigid strategy, they should be able to still see weaknesses in their opponent's position, and strength in theirs, and the best way forward, regardless of how many moves they remember.

Good review other than that, but it sounds like you need to play a game or two more of Chess ;).
Apr 2012
Post count:
Elron | 20:39 - 30 April 2012
I will be picking this game up this week for sure!
Apr 2012
Post count:
jan-link | 13:21 - 28 April 2012
I'm a single-player only and I have downloaded the game on ps vita
this week and I think it's a beautifull game for very little money.
It's made by the same people as hustle king and it shows: very high
production values. 8