Chess Online Pro in Review – Mate in 465!

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If you are a chess fan and an online voyeur, then Chess Online Pro may be for you. It has all the classic-ness of the board game plus a few extras that will make 2.99$ swallowable. Why is G5‘s game worthwhile? Well, other than puzzles, good AI, an easy-to-use interface and… wait, I’m spoiling the review!

Features
G5 make chess a learner-friendly game. They have included simple manuals for each mode of play with large text and buttons thaare easy to see, press and navigate. If you are still ill at ease regarding the game of chess, toggle on ‘legal moves’ and ‘Threat Pieces’ in the options menu. Both options help level the field for players of my calibre — er –experience.

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While there is a great stodgy Chess-engine under the hood, COP takes a lot of liberties with the game. For instance, if you are losing, you can undo moves and, when you cannot beat your opponent, assimilate them! There is also a custom board creator that allows you to add practically any piece to the board as long as you don’t break positioning rules. Handicap allows you to take away opponents’ pieces and restore balance to the board – in effect, there is a virtual toolset of ways to help you cheat learn.

I found that easy and normal were just about my level. While embarrassing to mention now, ten years ago, I was undefeated at my Bible School for a good 2,5 weeks of gruelling matches with international opponents. To add insult to this recent injury, I am reminded of when I taught my sister the mechanics of chess only to lose to her for three straight days. COP covers inept chess players like myself well and adds some great extras for pros.

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The puzzle system is not extensive but has a lot of challenge inside for the adventurous chess player. The modes are:

  • Find Fork: find a fork – a move that uses one piece to attack two of the opponent’s pieces at the same time
  • Take Piece: find unprotected black piece and take it
  • Mate in 1: white is to begin and checkmate in one move
  • Mate in 2: white is to begin and checkmate in two moves

Online play
The most pedalled feature of COP, online play is a great way to introduce some extra competition and non-computer error into the fray. Playing is as simple as finding a WiFi spot or using your iPhone to join the network, selecting ‘multiplayer’, entering your nickname and password and playing. It should be so simple. Chess Online Pro is still a new app – there is not a long list of competitors in the online queue, but those who are waiting may clean your clock. As more players buy this worthy app, the queue should lengthen, but for now, you may have to content yourself by joining online to play the bot. In my neck of the woods (South Korea), there are very few people who are online and ready to beat me when I am up and about, but I welcome the challengers when they show up. This fact makes it great that G5 protect your online games with a save function incase of bad connections. In other words, I can always to back to getting my teeth handed to me!

There is little to complain about. COP is a well-detailed Chess simulator with some great options. Online play, puzzles and cheating – it is great. For those who are not the most hard-core of chess fans, there may be too little ‘bling’ to keep your attention long. G5 have opted for a sombre look. Brown, olive and yellows – welcome to autumn! It would be great to see a some board variation, maybe some different colours and buttons whose design is more inspired than Windows Luna. Saying all of that, however, I have to praise Chess Online Pro.

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Conclusion
It is classy, has adapted modes for the beginner as well as the expert and is easy to pick up. If you are a real chess powerhouse, you will be intrigued by puzzles, but probably complete them rather quickly and hunger for more. Chess Online Pro is a good game, but not the strongest contender in the ‘Grab’ tier of games. Especially as its introductory price of 2.99$ is destined to rise, I hope that we will see some serious updates to the puzzle element, boards and hopefully many, many more online players.

For now, Chess Online Pro manages a soft landing as a Grab from TouchMyApps.

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App Summary
Title:Chess Online Pro (V. 1.0)Developer:G5 Entertainment
Price:$2.99 (Introductory Price)App Size:1.8 MB
  • Loads of options
  • Fun puzzles
  • Online play
  • Great cheating learning possibilities
  • Good AI
  • Needs some graphical spark
  • More puzzles would be great!

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  • GkCHN

    Hmm, an interesting review.
    From what you mentioned, the app does seem to contain plenty options on the game. I think what most casual players look for in a chess program is the ability to practice against different difficulty levels as well as other players. So online play is an important aspect for one that wants to practice and achieve better results.
    Another thing is the ability to analyze games itself.

    I’m not too impressed with what the puzzle modes are though. Simple tactics like forks and mate in 1-2 moves are generally for children learning how to play the game to practice on. Like you say in your review, I hope they do add more features for puzzles, otherwise I’m sure most chess enthusiasts would be willing to spend $10 for the well known Shredder or Fritz programs.
    Graphics look alright in my opinion. As long as it’s easy to tell the pieces apart, there shouldn’t be many complaints in that area.

    The options of “balancing through handicap” is kinda sketchy though. I don’t believe in learning the easy way.

    And online play… I think what most people look for is to be able to play against a variety of levels. For the app store, the market of chess players using iDevices is just to small to actually gain a large enough group of players. The price tag usually drives away people if they think there isn’t enough people on the servers to play.
    For example, the app Cyber Chess Ultimate Online published by Chillingo, connects the player to the ICC server for online play, which is a very large online server of players. This guarantees the player using the app to be able to play against variety.
    So gaining a larger number of online players may not be easy for such an app, considering the many chess apps already in the store.

    To sum it up: for the learner, this app might be just right. For the competitive player, I would choose something else.

    All in all, I’m glad to see a review on a chess program because I usually don’t. :)

  • Gumby

    I bet I could beat Shigzeo!

  • http://www.touchmyapp.com shigzeo

    What a great post my friend. Yes, I agree with what you are saying. However, such an inexpensive option may attract more online players. The game is really ‘brand new’ so it is feeling itself out now in baby steps.

    But a crowded market of chess apps does not help. I hope that online play picks up as it is fun but really needs a kick in the right direction as it is. Like I hinted at, it is teetering on the edge of ‘tap’, but it is better than the average, so it got bumped up a little.

    Puzzles are dismally shallow at the moment. There are only three to choose form in a variety of situations and of course, they are, as you mentioned, elementary. I really did used to play very well, but my sudden loss to a big Norwegian back in 1999 for some reason made such an effect that I have not played since except for a couple of times with friends.

    Yes, for the competitive player, there is not enough in this app to really sustain oneself unless it is the price, the promise of more players and puzzles. The AI is however, decent and I can see more advanced players enjoying even offline play.

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