Brawl Chess is derivative of the classic Battle Chess. It’s less violent, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also less interesting as a result. It could be one for younger players who will still get a kick out of the cartoony visuals. But I stress could.

Surprisingly, Brawl Chess has no tutorial. No sweat off my back, but pretty thoughtless for a game advertised as kid-friendly. What happens to the kid who is just learning chess? Parts of the board where you can move do light up, but no instruction is given why. If I were a new player, I’d feel a bit let down.

Other than this omission, this is a pretty darn standard version of chess. It’s a smidge bare-bones, with only one overhead view, lessening the impact of the battles. For $9.99, I’d expect more Multiplayer is local only with no online, a tougher sell in these days of stay-at-home. At least five AI difficulty settings can challenge a range of skills; the game loads quickly too.

DLC is available for additional chess piece styles, but this rubs me the wrong way. Suppose you get tired of playing as a Prince or Princess and want to experience the (hopefully more distinct) animations of Barbarians, Dwarfs, or Elfs, to name some. In that case, you’ll need to pay more money. True, 99 cents is cheap, but it would’ve been smarter to include them and simply raise the price. But $9.99 is already pretty high for a spartan release like this. Brawl Chess is light on content.

Brawl Chess is strictly adequate. It’s hard to screw up chess badly, but as a video game, the aspiration in this take (or lack thereof) is pretty average. While targeting kids with a cartoony, less violent take on the Battle Chess formula is noble, overlooking a tutorial is a head-scratcher, to put it mildly. DLC is also highly questionable at best. Think long and hard on this one if it isn’t on sale.

Check out Clumsy Rush instead if you’re interested in a title from RedDeerGames. It scored higher in our PN review.