Morph Chess 3D, an iPhone app by Time Assassin Apps, is an incredibly detailed 3D adaptation of a timeless classic, complete with smooth movement animations, great character design, and brilliant battle shots. Combined with the multiple game modes the app has to offer, as well as fantastic multiplayer capability, Morph Chess 3D is a steal for any chess-head with an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.
The basic game mechanics of Morph Chess 3D are exactly what you’d expect: Chess like. The app doesn’t mess with the fundamentals of the game, but rather gives it a facelift, providing a 3D interface for the player to use in their conquests. The game offers two vantage-points on the board, making it very easy to select and move units. Likewise, a scrolling panel at the top lets the player set the difficulty of the computer opponent—assuming the opponent is a computer, that is. What impressed me most about Morph Chess 3D’s gameplay are the several, quality multiplayer options. Classic multiplayer, in which the players simply hand off the iDevice to make moves, is ever-present, as well as online play and local Bluetooth combat. This lends itself to a lot of pick-up style chess matches, which would work very well on long road-trips, short commutes, or extended outings with internet players. Aside from that, Time Assassin Apps has opted to leave a good thing alone, and has not touched the rules.
If you’re unfamiliar with chess, there is no in-game documentation to break the ice for you, but a handy check-box at the top of the board will activate the Move Assist function, showing you where each unit can be moved to on the board.
Graphics and Sound
The real attraction of Morph Chess 3D is its animations. When a unit is selected, it transforms from the classic bishop, pawn, rook, queen, king, and knight it was, and becomes a new, fully-animated entity. Bishops become wizards, rooks a troll-like hulk, pawns an army of ninjas, etc. It’s a wonderful gimmick, and it adds a whole new depth to chess. Watching your pieces move across the board and physically assault the enemy’s pieces is very gratifying. The sound of battle, as well, adds to the engaging experience.
However, the animations are also my main gripe with an otherwise fantastic remake. As I played, I found myself wishing the battle animations were shorter. Having to wait out a conflict between units is sometimes tedious, especially when attacking, as there’s no element of surprise to who wins. A quick speed setting in preferences would fix this nicely, and it’s really the only downside. Time Assassins has created a great reboot of a classic game, and at $2.49 in the App Store, Morph Chess 3D is a cheap, endlessly challenging addition to any chess player’s iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.
Morph Chess 3D iPhone app [ iTunes Link ] requires iOS 3.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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