War Chess

June 30, 2005

I recently received an e-mail from Kozmo Games letting me know they had a new game released. I typically get quite a few e-mails notifying me of similar game releases by smaller studios that specialize in small Popcap-style computer games. On occasion, a game will interest me, and being a budget-conscious gamer, I feel it is my duty to inform the gaming public when there is a neat game out that may only run you $10 or $15.

Kozmo Games’ newest release is called War Chess, and it is exactly like it sounds: a game of chess with the added flair of your pieces destroying your opponent’s, and vice versa, when a move is made. I vaguely remember a commercial for the U.S. Armed Forces from my childhood that displayed a similar concept, and while I am a total chess “noob,” I always thought the idea would be great. Kozmo has turned that dream, if you will, into a reality.

Being that it’s from a very small studio, I didn’t expect some topnotch Ubisoft-style game, but in the end, I was happy with all aspects of the final product. War Chess is a standard chess game based in a 3D environment which allows you to rotate the game board, zoom in, and control your overhead angle from bird’s eye all the way to ground level. The controls are similar to those of the fantastic RTS Ground Control in terms of controlling the environment.

My favorite part of War Chess was the fact that when it was my move I could select any of my pieces and the squares on the board that I was able to move to were highlighted. This made learning the game much easier. There is also a mini view of the board that shows the layout and current piece locations using their standard pieces since it may be hard to remember which character on the board is your rook or pawn.

I did manage to crash War Chess during my time with it, which was a little frustrating. The bonus to that is that I was able to forward my game log to the game’s creator and a patch was issued the next day that fixed my problem. That kind of support and quick acting gives small development studios the upper hand.

In the end, War Chess is a decent chess game that caters more to very casual chess players. Hardcore players may find the added fantasy aspects of the game unnecessary and annoying. I will probably enjoy the occasional game of War Chess when I am feeling strategic, but the beauty of PC games is that there are demos available. I suggest you head on over and give the demo a try and make up your own mind about War Chess.