Wii Chess review

  • Chess itself is great
  • Replay of saved games is nice
  • AI difficulty has good curve
  • Awful elevator music
  • Ugly, personality-free 2D graphics
  • Poor controls

Precious few details about Wii Chess were disclosed to the press prior to its release, but we could just imagine what those fun-wielding maniacs at Nintendo would come up with. The old playing pieces of yore abandoned in favour of Nintendo-themed chess sets, with cute little animations as a bishop-Link slices a Toad-pawn in half, for example. Even accounting for the fact that it comes from the more po-faced ‘Wii Something-Or-Other’ lineage, there’s still scope for charm, with customisable sets drawing from the Mii Channel, letting us move pieces round with the same head-tweezer technique seen in the Mii Plaza.

Wii Chess has none of this. It is, in fact, one of the most soulless Nintendo games you’re ever likely to see. It doesn’t even use the remote to point and click. Instead, you hold the remote vertically, which will give you “the aching of the digits” in no time at all. The chess boards are 2D and ugly to go with it. Although you can choose from multiple skins (and winning games unlocks yet more), they’re all fairly bland. A better looking game of chess comes free with Windows Vista.

Crucially though, this does actually play a decent game of chess. This is to be expected considering it’s running the Loop chess engine, which is ranked third in the world, but what’s especially impressive is how balanced the difficulty curve is.

At the lower level, the Wii takes pawns with reckless abandon, but remains savvy enough to require thought and planning to beat. Meanwhile, the top-end difficulty can flatten experienced players in just a few minutes. However, despite being fundamentally solid, there aren’t enough features here to make Wii Chess a viable buy. There’s no verve or flair, no style or pizazz. It’s a basic, rudimentary game, and we’re pretty sure that if it wasn’t by Nintendo, few would give it a second look. Stick with the real chess board for now.

Jan 22, 2008

More Info

Jan 18 2008 - Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Strategy
Developed by: Nintendo


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