If you, like many, are looking for a decent Chess program on Steam - this is not it. This is actually a poorly-made mess bordering on the parodically bad.
The actual rules and mechanics of chess itself will surely be familiar to anyone likely to read this review, but they aren’t particularly necessary in explaining why this is such a bad product.
Simply Chess comes across as the epitome of a developer foregoing an enjoyable user experience in favour of attempting to monetise a playerbase however they can.
The gameplay itself is a basic chess engine, which, to the devs’ credit does not fatally crash, on average, four times out of five. And assuming the game holds out long enough, will provide a decently challenging-enough experience for most.
Where issues start to pop up, is when, a few matches after having downloaded the program, advertisements begin to appear on-screen between games. And these ads won’t cease no matter how many dozens of times this game session you’ve been shown them, or even if you go out of your way to download the same devs’ game which are being advertised on-screen - at which point I assume the ads only stay because the Simply Chess team’s artist just really wanted to demonstrate their exceptional ability at making intrusive pop-ups.
Speaking of the questionable artistic ability that went into this game, the 3D models on the board in this game look horrendously bad, despite the fact that something as simple as a chess set should not be that hard to model, plenty of people have done so in the past.
Evidently, Simply Chess did get a large enough following on Steam for the developers to be able to include Achievements. To this end, you will see a mediocre roster of “Win X-amount of games” that feels like it was bolted on as an afterthought by devs who just wanted another way to hook the more obsessive types into spending time in this buggy piece of junk.
Perhaps the most egregious Achievement on the list is one called ‘Patron of the Arts’ - which you get for “financially supporting the development of Simply Chess”, which in my view, gives far too much credit to both this game, and the type of person who would ever willingly spend money on it. You can tell the dev team doesn’t really care about the Achievements either, considering you can still see the jpg artifacting in the icons from the MS Paint rushjob they did in making them.
Although there is one another Achievement, an particularity unsubtle nod to the 1983 film Wargames, and I will take a moment to remind people everywhere that merely having a reference just blatantly sitting somewhere in your game is not, and has never been, inherently funny. Although it does give me a easy way to also appropriate the film in noting the only way to win Simply Chess is to not play.
This is a shameful display of a product already on the level of a compsci student’s first-semester uni project, wrapped up in equal parts egotism and greed, that should not be installed or rewarded whatsoever. There are much better chess programs out there, do not feel like you have to tolerate this one.