Setup & Timing
Everything in Chessmaster: The Art Of Learning (to be known just as "Chessmaster" for the rest of this review) is in a place where it can easily be found. Single-Card Play is right on the main menu. The opening credits are unskipable, but short. Download time is respectable.
Menus & Navigation
The arrows work well for navigating, as do the different directions on the direction pad. There is also the ability to jump to specific (albeit unlabeled) choices, but the tappable areas are miniscule and sometimes hard to tap accurately.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Understandably, the board is a little small (which it has to be to fit everything properly). It's not a knock on the game itself, but a zoom in feature would have been nice. Other than that, the game is as simple as can be: pick up the piece (and place it where you want it) or just drag it to its destination. Doesn't get much simpler than that.
Category Score: 12.5 / 15
The graphics are extremely simple, but they really don't need to be complex in a chess game, as long as everything is accurate. The sound is equally unimportant in a chess game, but the sound effects aren't obtrusive and smack talk is welcome at the forefront. The features are one of the games's highlights. Besides the Vs play Chess games (of which, there are six different ones), there are two mini games. The inappropriately-titled "Fork My Fruit" and "Chain Reaction" are not only single-player demo mini games that last for twenty (20) levels each, but THEY'RE CHESS-RELATED mini games!!! That's right, all you developers and publishers out there - you can make your mini games related to your main theme without taking away from it! Take note!!!
A lot can be said about Chess games. Some people don't have the mental capacity to excel (I'm NOT talking about anyone specific). Some people just plain don't like chess. Other people make millions off of playing chess where their image gets adopted into the biggest selling chess franchise of all time. Lastly, there are the casual chess players, who may play for fun (non-competitively), but don't do so all the time. Casual chess players are going to be the target audience here. People that can improve over time, and who have an interest in strategy and thinking. The mini games are BOTH excellent. The six different Chess games really are different. The only glaring omission is a single-player downloadable demo of Chess (preferrably Classic Chess or Los Alamos Chess). Granted, Chessmaster Chess games have a much more intelligent AI than most other chess games and a downloaded demo version wouldn't be quite as smart to play against, but it would still be fun. I can guarantee that my copy will be seeing the light of day several more times.
Increase the size of the direct-access colored squares.
Offer the ability to zoom in and out of the chess board.
Make a 3D view available for the Chess games for the option of a real-world perspective.
Include a single-player downloadable demo of Classic Chess or Los Alamos Chess.
Make chess playable via Wi-Fi. (Not a Single-Card Download-related request.)
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 88 / 100 (a.k.a. 44/50)
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