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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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