Okay, time for a confession. Certain members of the ONM team like nothing more than a good game of chess. Yes, we know. It's not hip, it's not cool, but we care not; it's everything a game should be. However, it's got to be done the right way. It needs to be played late at night in front of a roaring fire. Players must be wearing tweed, be nursing an enormous glass of brandy and slowly stroking their bearded chins. Silence is mandatory - a suspicious stare and the occasional raised eyebrow are all you'll need.
You see, chess is all about atmosphere, so forgive us if we approached the decidedly vanilla Wii Chess without a great deal of enthusiasm. The presentation is, at best, no frills, at worst, drearily basic. Don't expect chessboards populated by Mario and friends or any oddball mini-games here. But you know what? That's fine. This is chess. It's sacred. You don't mess with it.
While it lacks character, there's no denying it plays a mean game. There are 10 difficulty levels to choose from. We're reasonable players and demolished Level 1 in about four minutes, were beaten by Level 5 after a tense half hour and were reduced to tears by Level 10 after about five moves. Whatever your ability, there's something for you here. Should you be struggling, there's the option for a 'hint' (you're only cheating yourselves people) and after the game you can go back and analyse where you went wrong. Win games and you unlock different boards and themes.
Wii Chess does absolutely nothing wrong. Frankly, however, it's not nearly as fun as playing with a real board. Where it does score points though is with its online mode. The option to boot up WiFi Connection and take on players from around the world is a nice selling point. However, it's worth noting there are countless websites out there that do the same thing for free.
If you're a bone fide chesshead, this is easy to recommended. It's slick, easy to use and boasts extremely well-implemented online play. If you're of the opinion that it's a slow, stuffy, old-fashioned game, however, there's nothing here that'll help change your mind.