Puzzle games exist in a lot of forms, from first person shooters like Halo to dramatic trial settings like the Ace Attorney series. Chessaria: The Tactical Adventure presents them in their purest form. It’s the game of chess, remastered and expanded. Chessaria is an innovative way to introduce the game to a new audience and challenge existing players.
Each chess piece has been converted into a person, and each has their own role to play on the board. Each piece also has a unique voice and battle movement, whether they’re sliding across the board or defeating another piece. I found them entertaining. But if you’d rather just get the move over with, you have the option to turn the animation feature off. The graphics are attractive — nothing too intricate — but clean and stylized.
You can also adjust the difficulty of the game. This allows for brand new players to enter the board without feeling as intimidated by it as they might otherwise. For more experienced players, they can amp up the challenge, and the computer player is no chump.
What really sets Chessaria: The Tactical Adventure apart is its motivators. Quite frankly, it’s easy to get bored playing computer-based board games. Once you beat the computer a few times, you don’t really have anything left to accomplish. It can be difficult to generate motivation in your player audience to get them to continue to play.
And that’s where Chessaria excels. You have numerous options for how you can set up your game. But there’s also an adventure mode that gives you access to more boards and player types.
The adventure mode turns your chess board into a story, walking you through literally 100 different puzzles and chess-related fights. You learn that you exist in an elven city known as Silveran that is currently being attacked by a dragon. The High Elves of the city set out to find out how to stop the attack. It’s through this mode that you gain additional options in your quick game mode. You can even level yourself throughout.
The quick game mode is a PVP/PVE interface that gives you access to what seems like a standard chess board. As previously mentioned, you can change out your board types and other options by use of the adventure feature. You can also change the type of chess you’re playing.
Bored with your standard capture the king mode? Try Horde or Barricade mode. A Marvel fan might try the cheekily named Thanos mode where the goal is to eliminate half of your enemy’s pieces. The modes add a lot of needed depth to the game and make it a lot more interesting than your standard chess board.
While the game can be fun enough to play on its own, it also offers a multiplayer mode to liven it up a bit. Playing against a computer can get a little boring, and since the game is on Steam and has access to their expansive list of available players, there’s almost always someone waiting in a queue to team up.
If you’re still learning chess, the way the game is set up makes it easy to learn. When you select your character, the board immediately highlights your move options. When you successfully get a pawn across the board, you’re given a list of several types of upgrades you can make to it.
While there’s no real walkthrough provided on how to play chess, Chessaria gives you the necessary introduction to the board and its pieces to allow you to discover your own strategy.
Once you’ve won or lost, the provided screen also helps you improve. You are given additional information about how many pieces you captured and how many your opponent captured from you. Each round, you can try to reduce the number of pieces you have to sacrifice for your victory, making you a better player in the end.
As a tactics-driven puzzle game, Chessaria sends you on numerous adventures and forces you to reimagine the way you see chess. It brings back memories of the classic game Battle Chess, one of the first introductions to playing chess on a living board with pieces who were much more than pieces.
Chessaria: The Tactical Adventure continues that legacy while also managing to be both soothing and invigorating. You’ll find yourself replaying scenarios to see if you can beat your own score, but without the sense of frustration that might normally come with defeat. Whether you’re playing as the High Elves, Dark Elves, or Orcs, you find yourself motivated to win.