Developed by Minimol Games and published by QUByte Interactive, Chess Knights: Viking Lands is a small, simple puzzle game based on the movements of pieces in chess. You only need a foundation level of knowledge in chess to understand all the pieces and the way they move. Chess Knights: Viking Lands keeps things very simple in its gameplay but the puzzles themselves are fiendishly tough.
Chess Knights: Viking Lands has about 40 levels across different areas and has a Viking theme woven into them. Lots of snow, water and boats as well as costumes for your chess pieces. For a very simple game, the graphics actually look quite charming. The game also has originally composed soundtracks which although for me were not too memorable are still a nice touch.
The main menu contains a tutorial to get a feel of the mechanics, otherwise, you just start the game and get straight into the puzzles. The objective of each puzzle is to use your chess knight pieces to get to a certain area to rescue your other pieces and get back to the safe zone without being captured by the enemy. Knights move in an L shape pattern, making their movement a bit more tactical to get around other pieces that can only move in straight lines.
The levels increase in complexity as you progress, and there is a sub challenge to not lose any pieces. On some levels, you get to use more than one knight to complete the puzzle. This can be used as a distraction to free up space for the other knight. Alternatively, you can sacrifice one of your knights to take one of the enemy pieces off the board also. This makes the puzzle slightly easier to complete, and on some levels it is a necessity to progress. There is also a sub challenge to try and complete the puzzles without losing any knights which is very tough to achieve. I only made it halfway through the second of the 4 areas before I started to really struggle which makes me very concerned about how tough the rest of the puzzles are going to be. But it means you will get your value for money as isn’t just a game you can just breeze through – unless you have the chess skills of Bobby Fisher or Garry Kasparov. The only issue I had with the game is when you rescue a piece to try and bring it back, the movement controls work backwards and it’s a bit awkward. I am not sure why it changes when you rescue a piece but it just seems unnecessary.
Chess Knights: Viking Lands is a fun and very challenging puzzle game. Not one for achievement hunters unless you find a walkthrough, but that kind of kills the joy of the game. For its price, it is quite an attractive looking game and the Viking theme stops it from looking bland. For those familiar with chess and who enjoy tricky puzzles, this could be one for you.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.