Avatar Chess

Avatar Chess is chess with avatars.  Yea.  I’m really not sure what else to say about it. It’s functional, and it features online play.  There’s multiple viewing options, including one where every piece is represented by various random avatars in a way that is im-fucking-possible to use.  I mean just look at it.

I'm actually not sure if this is Avatar Chess or a local production of West Side Story.

Even with the little icons over their heads, it’s annoying.  To make this in any way good, the game would need some specialized avatar suits.  Otherwise, what’s the point?  Plus, my avatar was the King.  The fucking KING!  My vagina has never been so insulted.

As far as the actual gameplay, it’s chess.  How good of chess is it?  So good that it’s bad, or awful, whatever the case may be.  The AI is fierce, even on easy mode.  I’ve never claimed to be a grandmaster, and that’s a good thing because easy mode ate me up and shit me out multiple times.  It always seems to make the best possible move.  Frustrating for me, but downright soul-crushing if you’re a chess novice like Brian or Bryce.  I figured something was up, so I tried the game on hard mode, and the AI did pretty much the same strategy, only it took longer to move.  Since it was doing the same moves, I figured the extra pause was in there just to mock me.

Once you go online, things are slightly better.  It’s still just chess.  It’s free all over the internet, but here you can play it with your Xbox avatar, along with some nifty added drawbacks.  Once a match ends, you’re dumped back to the main menu, without being given the option for a rematch.  So you have to go through the process of sending out an invite all over again.  That’s kind of annoying.  The game also doesn’t have any display telling you if a move is legal or not, so if you’re a newb the only way to find out is to hear an annoying gameshow-like buzzer go off.  Avatar Chess is basically the least newb-friendly video chess I’ve ever played.  Granted, I don’t play a lot, so maybe there are worst out there.  Overall, chess is a game you can play for free anywhere.  If you’re absolutely desperate to know what it’s like to play it with your Xbox avatar, I suppose this is the way to go.  If that’s you, say hello to my imaginary childhood friend Mr. Cumberdink because I suspect you might be a figment of someone’s imagination as well.

Avatar Chess was developed by Turkey Based Games

80 Microsoft Points suspect Bobby Fischer is being made to watch Fiddler on the Roof while being force-fed kasha varnishkas at this very moment, in hell, in the making of this review.

A review copy of Avatar Chess was provided by Turkey Based Games to IndieGamerChick.com in this review.  The copy played by the Chick was purchased by her with her own Microsoft Points.  The review copy was given to a friend with the sole purpose of helping the Chick test online multiplayer.  That person had no feedback in this article.  For more information on this policy, please read the Developer Support page here

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Indie game reviews and editorials.

7 Responses to Avatar Chess

  1. I open Queen’s Gambit Declined on white, Sicilian Dragon on black. How about you?

  2. I usually move whichever piece looks like it needs the exercise. ‘Erratic’ is a compliment in chess, right?…

  3. I picked this up yesterday. I played quite a bit when I was younger, but am severely out of practice. There didn’t seem to be many options for chess on xbox. The interface might have been stronger if you could change the view of the board, as in moving it left and right to see the scope of the board. However, you are absolutely right about the A.I. It is downright vicious, as you alluded to. I don’t consider myself to be a novice, nor grandmaster. All I can say is my ego is a bit bruised. After multiple changes in strategy, I have yet to beat it once.Wish I had read your review before I bought it.

  4. I just got back into chess, and bought Avatar Chess to play and test the computer strength as I am interested in playing chess and coding chess engines. I have coded AI engines before (Reversi/Othello). My brother, Jason Doucette, has coded a chess and checker engine and I know the details of his programs well.

    I beat Avatar Chess in easy, moderate, and hard. It is not strong compare to world-class chess engines such as Fritz, as expected I might add. I cannot beat Fritz and I like to play chess engines I have a chance at beating.

    Avatar Chess (Computov) tends to be overly aggressive, bringing out its Queen too quickly without protecting it. I put pressure on the Queen and used this to beat it in all modes:

    – In Easy I could win the Queen as if it did not know how to protect it.
    – In Moderate I could win the Queen by trapping it.
    – In Hard I could somewhat trap the Queen and force a series of exchanges where Computov would have to sacrifice main pieces to save its Queen (such as trade a Rook for a Knight) or trade its Queen for significant but lesser material on my end (such as trade a Queen for a Knight and Bishop). It was enough material to win the game.

    The engine is stronger in each increasing level of difficulty, but when you give it a position that can be exploited within a move or two (when you make an error) then all modes will find the best play and move the same.

    I consider myself to be a novice — average on internet chess sites — but maybe with some potential to play stronger. I do not know opening moves, but I know of concepts as controlling the center and pressuring the king (and queen when its out of place).

  5. Kairi, put Avatar Chess into Hard mode, play as white, and try these moves:

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Qf6 3. Nc3 Qf4 (this move is too aggressive with its Queen; pressure it until you win it) 4. d4 Qg4 5. h3 Qe6 6. Nxe5 Bb4 7. Bc4 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 d5 9. Bxd5 Qf6 10. Nxf7 Qxf7 (loses its Queen) 11. Bxf7+ Kxf7 (King is drawn out; game is over; pressure it until you checkmate) 12. Qh5+ Ke7 13. Ba3+ Kf6 14. e5+ Ke6 15. Qe8+ Kd5 16. c4+ Kxd4 17. O-O-O+ Ke4 18. Rhe1+ Kf5 19. g4+ Kg5 20. Qh5+ Kf4 21. Rd4+ Kf3 22. Re3+ Kxf2 23. Rdd3 Be6 24. Qh4+ Kg1 25. Qg3+ Kh1…

    And Rd1 or Re1 is checkmate! Or have more fun with the game:

    26. Qf3+ Kg1 27. Qxb7 Bxc4 28. Rd2 Nc6 29. Qxc6 Be2 30. Qxa8 c6 31. Qxa7 Kf2 32. Rdxe2+ Kg1 33. Qxg7 Nh6 34. Qxh8 Nf7 35. Qxh7 Nxe5 36. Rxe5 Kf1 37. Qf7+ Kg1 38. Rf5 Kh1 39. g5 Kg1 40. g6 Kh1 41. g7 c5 42. g8=Q c4 43. Qg3 c3 44. Qxc3 Kg1 45. Qa1 Kh1 46. Qb3 Kg1 47. Qbb1 Kh1 48. h4 Kg1 49. h5 Kh1 50. h6 Kg1 51. h7 Kh1 52. h8=Q+ Kg1 53. Qhb2 Kh1 54. Rff2 Kg1 55. c4 Kh1 56. c5 Kg1 57. c6 Kh1 58. c7 Kg1 59. c8=Q Kh1 60. Qcc2 Kg1 61. Bb4 Kh1 62. a4 Kg1 63. a5 Kh1 64. a6 Kg1 65. a7 Kh1 66. a8=Q+ Kg1 67. Q8a2 Kh1 68. Rh2+ Kg1 69. Reg2+ Kf1 70. Ba3 Ke1 71. Qd2+ Kf1 72. Kc2#

    Disclaimer: Moves 4..9 is Fritz playing. I constructed this game to show how Computov brings out its Queen too early to its own detriment, especially in the “1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Qf6 3. Nc3 Qf4” opening. Once Fritz took over and wins the Queen, the rest is me again.

    P.S. I can show an honest game of me versus Computov if you would like to see me win the game on my own.

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