Chekked from AppEd claims to be a game which combines the best of checkers with the best of chess. With its gameplay mechanic however, it’s probably more accurate to describe it as ‘checkers on steroids’. That said, there’s enough which is different about this title to warrant ‘chekking’ it out (sorry).
Played solo against the AI, a game of Chekked involves you starting off at the left side of a board, laid out almost identically to a game of checkers. The first sign that something is different however is the numbers on each counter. Starting off with ones, the figure denotes how many diagonal squares each piece may move, forwards or back. By stacking your counters on top of each other, you increase their value: and their reach.
You capture opponent’s pieces by landing on them (rather than leaping over them), so increasing your counters’ values can give you a distinct advantage, allowing you to strike deep in the heart of enemy territory (so to speak). Reach the opposite end of the board and your piece is promoted to a ‘king’ – retaining its numeric value, but also giving it the ability to move horizontally or vertically, like a rook in chess.
As you’d expect, the first player to capture all the opponent’s pieces wins, though there are a couple of other additions to the familiar-feeling gameplay to help keep it fresh. Each move is awarded a score, based on how quickly you made it and whether you captured an enemy piece. Additionally, after a set amount of time, each side is awarded an extra counter, which can help restore depleted forces, or cause you to have to chase around another enemy piece just as you thought you were about to win.
Chekked’s implementation is a bit towards the basic side. The board graphics are functional; the cartoon avatars representing the players a bit dated. Sound effects will have you flipping the mute button as soon as they begin, and the whole game feels a bit like a free web game swiftly ported over to the tablet.
Despite its basic feel, however, there is a game well worth spending some time with hiding underneath the rather unattractive surface. Eight different AI opponents can be selected, each with a different style of play (defensive, attacking, etc); and each with three levels of selectable difficulty. The high score table’s there for those who get satisfaction out of such things, and the gameplay is actually different enough to make Chekked be able to stand out.
Chekked won’t be winning any awards for style, but its unique twist on checkers (with, alright, a smidgeon of chess) is quite high on substance.