When Punk began to recite the rules of Draughts to me upon hearing we were to review Pure Chess, I took it upon myself to handle the oldest board game in history. Having previously been released on PSN in 2012, VooFoo Studios now unleash their Next Gen version of Pure Chess onto Playstation 4 and Holy Moly are the first words that come to mind. Why? Because Pure Chess looks knockout stunning and dare I say a masterpiece. Each perfectly formed chess piece glistens in their different environments, showing off layers and textures with the finest of detail. Stone, marble, crystal, wood and metal statues all shimmer on a handcrafted walnut and maple board kept in mint condition. It even comes complete with a Pledge finish. With no lost pieces in this set, let’s hope VooFoo and Ripstone have given chess players and newcomers alike the definitive chess package.
Luckily for me I learnt to play this ultimate mind game years ago, but if you have never played Chess before don’t be hesitant to learn as the game is relatively easy to pick up and very rewarding to play. Winning however may be a different story. Pure Chess caters to the complete novice but also to the seasoned chess grand master with ten different settings. Chess is all about strategy and is similar to Snooker in the way that player’s must always be planning many moves ahead. If like me you have not played for a good few years then the aptly named ‘Monkey’ level is your starting block. When progressing to Apprentice, Thinker and Challenger levels things do get harder and the immortal words ‘Check Mate’ appear often, ending your defensive stance all too quickly.
The tutorials in Pure Chess are explained thoroughly and thankfully don’t throw a wall of text at you. Each type of piece moves in a distinct way and has its own value but don’t worry – every move and rule is explained in a manner you can take on board. After these short texts you’ll then perform the required move. The game allows for a good amount of customisation also – choosing whether to undo moves, playing to a timer or even highlighting legal moves can all be chosen at the start of each game.
There’s not just computer AI to challenge, you can invite friends to play against online, and mini games are also included making this a full package. The ‘Win in one Move’ mini game is a great way to see if you really have been listening to the tutorials and understanding each piece’s movements. Having the oppunitity to save games (six in total) comes in handy too as the better you get the longer each game can be.
Using the anolog sticks enables you to move the camera around the table and analyse play from different viewpoints. This preferred view can then be locked or you can simply revert back to the default view. Museum, Penthouse and Library are your different playing areas and all give off a luxurious back drop. These are also coupled with an easy listening soundtrack that peters away unobtrusively in the background.
VooFoo tell us they locked their artist away in a darkened room with only PS4 developer kits and Pot Noodles to achieve this high degree of graphical beauty. Other developers best start looking for that kettle. If there is one time in your life you wanted to learn the game of Chess, then VooFoo Studios and Ripstone have given you all you need. Pure Chess is pure brilliance wrapped up in a class bundle of immense gleaming beauty. It’s finally time to act your age for once. Pure Chess, Check Mate.
Lizard rating 9/10