Price: $7.99    Score: 9/10    Category: Games

Shredder Chess is an iPad app adaptation of chess for the iPad. Everything about this rendition of the game means business, from the app’s puzzles to its ranking screen that keeps track of your progress as a player.

To jump into a regular game you click Play on the main menu. Once you’re in this mode, the board lives on the main part of the iPad screen in both portrait and landscape mode. A small part of the screen is reserved for a move log and a dial that visually reflects which player has the advantage at that point in the game, but the layout is easy to use and very clear.

The other part of the screen consists of a thin toolbar that runs along the top of the screen. The toolbar has a menu button, question mark button that offers hints, an arrows button that lets you switch players at any point during the game, a log of past games, a settings button, a save button, and a button on the far right that lets you start new games, setup positions, offer a draw, resign, enter moves, or start an analysis.

The settings button in the toolbar is the most flexible and impressive in Shredder Chess. This button allows you to manually or automatically adjust the computer’s strength, turn on a coach that warns you of bad moves on or off, change the computer’s playing style (between normal, aggressive, passive, random, solid and more), change your player name, adjust the look and feel of the board pieces, enable coordinates, and much more.

When it comes to actual play, Shredder Chess works exactly as expected. In order to make a move, you tap on the piece you want to move and then drag that piece to the square where you want to move it. You can enable or disable white dots that highlight legal move options, castle, and much more. The game is true to form, easy to use, and all about the game as opposed to fancy design and beautiful aesthetics.

All said and done, Skizzix did a nice job with Shredder Chess. The game is equipped with just about every utilitarian need every chess player could desire. The skills engine adjusts based on your level of play and the computer is made to make human-like errors. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, Shredder plays to you.

The game’s puzzle mode immerses you into the middle of a game in an isolated situation. The grey sidebar gives you a goal (e.g. “Find the best move for black”) and it’s your job to solve the puzzle. Executing the right move in the right amount of time earns points, so thinking too long is detrimental. The puzzles in turn, help you isolate patterns and identify solutions for better gameplay.

The final aspect of Shredder Chess worth noting is the rating page. This page graphs your rank over time as you play more games and solve puzzles in the Shredder Chess app. The graph moves as the app zeros in on your Elo, offering a nice ranking (e.g. Club Player) to go along with your score. This is a great motivating feature and nice addition to the app.

Bottom Line: Shredder Chess is an excellent chess game that focuses on serious functionality as opposed to graphics. A highly recommended chess app for players serious about improving their game.