Chess: Battle of the Elements HD review (iPad)

February 28, 2011

“But it ain’t him to blame,
He’s only a pawn in their game”

All screens are from the "HD" iPad version. Click any image to view the full 1024x768 screen.

10 word description: Single/Multiplayer, 500 chess challenges, 4 board/set graphic styles.  
10 word review: For chess fans only; graphics lack definition; challenges add variety.

Text appears very jagged and 'scaled up' for an iPad game.

You will like this if you enjoy: Chess.

Choosing to play as a particular element is a purely cosmetic option.

The good news: Challenges add a lot of content for the single player. As a straightforward game of chess, the AI is more than capable of offering a good fight.

The bad news: Graphically it could do with being more “HD” than it is. Individual pieces lack detail, appearing almost blurred. I couldn’t tell the queen from the bishops at times.

Classic top-down view is easier to read when playing, which kind of defeats the object of the 3D graphics.

Arcadelife verdict: There are a lot of chess games available for the iPad. Some offer much better graphic definition on the pieces (e.g. tChess Pro), others offer online play (e.g. iChessHD), and some provide a no-frills, classic game of chess and have been around for a while (e.g. Chess Genius). It’s not unfair to mention these games because most people will compare any new chess game with what is already available before deciding what to buy. Chess: Battle of the Elements HD provides a good game of single player chess and also offers a huge amount (500) of chess challenges spread across the 4 different elements (Water, Earth, Fire & Air). Where it falls down slightly is the lack of any kind of online or 2-device multiplayer and the fact that the graphics look like scaled-up iPod graphics – text is jagged, set and board graphics are indistinct and blurry. If the graphics got a proper HD make-over and some form of online multiplayer was added, this would be a massive improvement. The core game is fine and the challenges are a great addition.  

A chess puzzle. One of the easier ones.

iTunes link for Chess: Battle of the Elements HD  

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on an iPad, running OS 4.2.1.


  1. “You will like this if you enjoy: Chess.”


    I’m really liking the review style you’ve developed now. It’s cool that you don’t recycle the screenshots from the appstore too.

    • Thanks! I always (try to) take my own screen shots, unless there’s something specific I want and I can’t get it for aome reason.

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