I love the concept of Chess Knights Viking Lands. It’s a chess game, but also not a chess game. Think of it as inspired by Chess, and it’s definitely inspired.
In this puzzle game your goal in each level is too rescue a captured piece without getting taken out yourself. A the title suggests you’re playing as a knight, the chess piece.
Between your knight and the captured piece you’re tasked to rescue are one or more guard pieces. These guard pieces generally move back and forth along a set path. If your knight lands on a space that the guard can travel on, that guard will move and take out your knight.
In some of the levels you may have more than one knight. Sometimes there is some strategy in letting one your knights be taken as the guard piece also gets taken out at the same time.
The levels of Chess Knights Viking Lands are beautiful. The levels are themed around a snowy Viking port village. The music is also chill and relaxing.
The controls of the game however aren’t very chill and are downright tough at times.
You can 360 the camera around the board. In order to move your knight you use the left stick to select a space. Rotating the stick moves a cursor arrow which points to the square you want to select. Trouble is that up isn’t always up and seems locked in the knight. In order to make up on the joystick match up on the screen you have to rotate the map. But when you get to the goal and rescue the captured piece, the control flips and up now means down. You have to rotate the map again.
It’s a minor frustration but doesn’t take away from the game. The core gameplay of using chess moves in a non-chess game is refreshing. The game is also now on sale in the Nintendo eShop and there is a sequel freshly released called Chess Knights Shinobi.
Chess Knights Viking Lands is both challenging in the puzzle design and zen in its presentation.