Play the timeless strategy game
Free Chess is a downloadable simulator of the classic board game, chess. Play alone against the computer, or go head to head with a local friend. Whether you're a novice to the game or a returning chess master, Free Chess is lightweight, downloads quickly, and provides players with the chance to brush up on the oldest strategy game around.
Master the game of kings
Free Chess is an adaptation of the famed board game, and offers little more than what it says on the tin. Some might criticize Free Chess for offering scant features and added nuance, while others will appreciate the product for not taking away the seriousness of the game by adding unneeded glitz. There are other chess variants available if you're looking for a more feature-heavy experience.
Free chess lacks the picturesque backgrounds and attack animations of WJChess 3D which is a more cartoon approach. Rather the features of Free Chess pertain to the core of the game. The only altered aesthetic of Free Chess is an option to switch the default 3D for a simplistic 2D. This makes the game more reminiscent of older digital chess games like BabaChess.
Less distraction, more chess
Free Chess is not devoid of any added features, however; they just won't add anything in the way of customization or flashy visuals. It's even ad-free, unlike competitor 3D Chess. For more beginner players Free Chess also has the option to undo your previous move, as well as a hint button which recommends the next move you can make.
As soon as you start a game in Free Chess there's a display on the left (that can be toggled off) that lists the moves since the game start. Players can choose to copy this transcription at any time during the game, storing it as a text document on their computer. Use this to pinpoint where you went right (or wrong!) in your strategy.
Play any way you want
As soon as you start a new game, Free Chess lets you choose one of ten difficulty levels ranging from Beginner to Impossible. Most players probably won't notice much difference in the top three or four tiers of difficulty, however; even the Easy setting can put up a decent fight. Complete beginners to the game will still be out of luck, unfortunately, as there is no tutorial mode.
In addition to selecting the level of difficulty, the starting screen for Free Chess also lets players choose which side they want to play (white or black). You can also set the computer to battle itself if you just want to spectate and watch sparks fly. Lastly you can set the game for player vs player instead of involving the AI at all.
Unlike BabaChess, Free Chess does not support online multiplayer. Electing to play human vs human simply allows the user local control over both the white and black pieces. While it's disappointing that Free Chess has no online component this human vs human mode can suffice when two people don't have a physical board handy, or if they want to demonstrate a strategy without playing.
The sound effects in Free Chess are grating and distracting, sounding more like the ugly alarm tones for a cell phone. Luckily you can turn them off via the game options menu. Here you'll also have a selection of four different languages (English, Spanish, Catalan, and Basque), though there could easily have been more; this is a chess simulator after all; there's not much text involved.
The options menu also allows for users to toggle in-game music on or off. The readme file included with Free Chess links to a free catalogue of classical music that would go nicely with a soothing game of chess. At the time of writing this review, however, the music does not appear to play. It's easy enough to cue up music to play in the background, though, so this isn't too big of a detriment.
Perfect your tactics with this free app
Free Chess is an simple and straightforward chess experience, downloadable in seconds and completely free of charge. Sadly the game is only available on Windows, unlike Chess Free! which is supported on both Windows and Android. If you're looking for a chess game to play on your iPhone, try something like iChess; it's free as well.
Continue your game later
One of the biggest improvements in Free Chess is the new function to save your game. At any time during the match you can click the floppy disk logo and your progress will be saved. The next time you open up Free Chess just click 'load' and you can pick up right where you left off. The caveat, however, is that only one game can be saved at a time, so the next time you hit 'save' your previous save will be overwritten.