Almost four years ago today, the people who made Pac-Man tried to make Pac-Man better, by giving the game a techno aesthetic and altering – intensifying – its rules of play. Game developer Milan Nikolic’s Knight Defensenow does that for chess.
Nikolic hasn’t made chess better. He’d have to be a genius to do that. But he has twisted it successfully into something catchy, unique and enjoyable, a sort of Chess: Championship Edition. He’s mixed that Pac-Man CE aesthetic with chess and tower defence, setting the player’s bottom-of-the-screen chess pieces against descending hordes of enemy chess pieces (and cats).
Unlike chess, this isn’t a turn-based game. Once a match starts, waves of enemy pawns or rooks and so on begin o appear and descend. The player’s chess pieces automatically strike back in the direction where a chess piece normally could attack. So a player’s pawn will always zap any enemies that try to traverse the squares immediately diagonal to where the pawn stands. The player’s rooks will automatically zap any enemies who step into the squares that are in rows that are at right angles to the rook. The pieces don’t move when they attack, but the player can move them manually, again, bound by the rules of chess-piece movement.
In another deviation from chess, a player gets points for defeating enemies. Oh, and they can upgrade their pieces to make them more powerful. And! They can activate special powers, like a healing blast, which are specific to each type of chess piece.
So… it’s not that much like chess. It’s just built upon chess’ foundations.
The game is divided into levels, each a challenge involving a new arrangement of pieces or a new variation of attacking waves. At first, a player can just mash through the game’s easy levels, with little attention paid to strategy. Later levels require more planning and more fast-fingered manipulation of a full board of chess pieces.
Knight Defense may feel overwhelming at first, but it rewards dedicated play. Try its Lite HD version or just make the $1.19 bet and go for the full thing.
Knight Defense is $1.19 with different versions for iPhone and iPad.