Chess Elite is a chess game by 99Games. $3.99
After reviewing Chess Lite and Chess Pro from the same developer back in January or February I was pretty satisfied with a good game to play chess on. Chess Lite was for more of the casual gamer and the Premium version had more graphics and a bit more to play around with. I thought Chess Elite would have added onto what Pro offered, but it has seemed to have taken a different route and removed features. Pro offered multiple game modes and 3D play as such, but Elite has the one game mode with limited modifications, but online play. Chess Elite is aimed more at the casual gamer, while the more serious chess players will like the challenge of versing people other than their friends.
This game has the potential to be a great game but probably isn't at the stage yet. There isn't much you can do to a chess game but it isn't there yet. With the online mode you can send challenges to anyone who is online or offline, and you will have to find both of you online to play. You should only have the option of challenging people who are online otherwise its dead annoying. Also the way that they have taken out all the customization and different game modes is quite annoying and it just doesn't feel as full as Chess Pro.
Chess Elite is pretty basic in the way of graphics, but they are all that is needed to work as a chess game. What makes 99Games' chess versions so good is the graphics are pretty basic so there is no lag or slowness in the game. Gameloft's chess game has great graphics but I believe this would cause the game to lag slightly, and be more for a very casual audience. The game is very simple with little outlines of every piece so they can be distinguished on the board. Not much to relly say about this part of the game, as there is nothing to do to a game like this unless you want fireworks to explode everytime you take out a knight.
The controls are fine for this game but I found a bit tricky to use successfully to start off with. To move your pieces you must tap on the required piece and then again on the desired spot. When you have selected a piece a small circle appears around them but sometimes when tapping on a piece I couldn't get it to appear. This may be my fault but it seemed to not work sometimes and took a few attempts to happen. Apart from this slight hiccup it worked reasonable well and was quick to react to any moves I made.
Well what can I really say about a game like this? It is chess, no special moves or skills, just chess. What makes this game stand out from the rest of the many chess games is the online mode. While boasting one of the strongest chess engines and the first chess game with push notifications, I found that the only reason you would get this instead of Chess Lite or Chess Pro is the online mode. As I said before I don't believe the mode has been perfected yet, but has the stepping stones to be very strong.
Basically online mode lets you verse anyone from around the world with this game. It shows all online and offline people which isn't a great of people as the game hasn't taken off. Once you accept or receive a challenge the game will play kind of like Electronic Art's Scrabble game where it can takes weeks and weeks to complete games. Luckily you can have multiple going as well as playing the other modes. This game really needs to be more successful before a mode like this will really take off I'm afraid. Games like Baseball Slugger show how a popular game can thrive on an online environment.
The other online game mode focuses on playing online also but against someone who is connected to the same WiFi. You can also play a pass n play mode with your buddies using the same iPhone or iPod Touch, but if you have two of them its alot easier to use the online play.
For those not feeling like playing against friends the other half of the game is centered around playing the computer. 99Games has stated that the computer has a good chess brain and is very flexible in the difficulty of the game. You can customize your game alot when playing the computer from how smart it is to what colour your chess piece is. While there are quite a few options if you are looking for a more advanced CPU game I would recommend Chess Pro as it has many more options. You can get help from the computer by showing you one of the available moves to you by pressing a button on the bottom of the screen. I am not sure if it is the best move available though. You can also replay the game to see how you performed and how you can make better decisions for the next time around.
Chess Elite is a pretty good game, although the lack of success means that it isnt as strong as it should be. What makes this game arguably better than Chess Pro is the online mode, but with not many participants in the mode it doesn't seem like a good game. This game is for those who like playing either other people around the world or their friends, and those who would like a bit more than the Chess Lite version. Those wanting more customized games should however pick up Chess Pro instead.