E3 2011: Check vs Mate preview – because what chess is really missing is the chance to stab something

You know what chess needs more of? Stabbing. Over the years there have been many video gaming attempts at translating the centuries-old game of chess, but most have been fairly imperfect thanks to the limitations of artificial intelligence (at least, when super computers aren’t involved). Or maybe they just needed more violence. In Check vs Mate (formerly known as Battle vs Chess), you don’t simply get to remove a piece from the board when you capture it. It’s as if the defending rook said to the attacking knight, “why don’t you make me get off the board, punk?” The two pieces then meet face to face with a squad of friends in mortal combat.

The neat thing about this is that pieces can actually fend off attacking players (though a defending player can never capture an attacking one.) Which means your twitch action skills can help you out if you’re deficient at Chess strategy. Defending players are at a large statistical disadvantage though. After the battle is over, if both players survived, they will have a smaller squad corresponding to how many of their squad were lost in the last battle.

This approach seems like a great addition, because it entirely changes the game. It enables pawns to play an even more active role in the game since they can be “sacrificed” with the goal of simply inflicting as much damage as possible on the opponent’s important pieces, eventually whittling the giants down to size.

The only reservation we have about the game is its price. Though it would be a very exciting game were it to be launched on XBLA or PSN for $10-$20, we’re not yet sure a full-price box release is as appealing. That said, given the vast amount of content we’ve seen in previous previews (opens in new tab), there may be more than enough here to justify that price after all.

Jun 17, 2011

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