Chess returns in Chess 2 the sequel on Ouya, while that might not sound exactly like a headline, it really is something to take notice of. This introduction on the Ouya brings new army types and skill challenges for captured pieces on the game. The mechanics are so detailed that I would suggest anyone skipping the tutorial to think twice as Ludeme Games packed it full of critical information for your survival.
With Chess 2 we see 5 new armies to the board, each pack their own strengths and abilities that make them dangerous on either side. To spend time learning things properly, many matches ran with the classic army and branched as I saw how the AI used the advantages of the other armies in each match. There are many things to learn, memorize and hone for each class, knowing the rules for a Reaper Queen versus a Nemesis Queen and all power pieces is just a slight example of how it all changed.
From what I’ve experienced, there is a careful balance to these groups, knowing your strategy and seeing far enough ahead are the key points to success just as any regular Chess game. There’s no point where a specific army just sweeps in and goes “game over forever” as each boost has a side effect to balance the power in each match. There are so many more layers in Chess 2 that it’s actually crazy to start thinking about as this doesn’t begin to take into account the duels.
Yes duels are also available, when challenging to take a piece there are options to battle it out to keep your piece or face mutual obliteration for the space. There are a max of 6 stones to play for retention and while it’s possible to replace them, it’s a careful balance of when to play the challenge and when to let it go. Originally I doubled down every chance I had and realized slowly I needed to let go of a complete preservation strategy to survive. The mechanics behind a duel also include provisions for weaker pieces to invest a stone just to challenge a higher ranked piece so there’s not just chaos.
Everything in Chess 2 has a place, the duel balances, the new armies and the general feel. It’s aggressive but it may feel like it when forgetting what the opponents can actually muster up.
Along with that, the musical score and graphical quality are impressive, the models are carefully crafted, solid resolution and smooth. The attention to mechanics is as important as the details in the game. There isn’t a ton to say here, animations are fluid and the focus is on the most important aspect, the game board.
Those looking into some casual matches on their Ouya will find that and more in Chess 2, it’s a good challenge no matter how you play the game. The AI brings challenges and harnesses armies to bring new flavor and player improvement while allowing online opponents to bring their own strategies to the table with reasonable time limits on matches.