Chess ultra - list of vr chess games

This is The Best VR Chess Game – Here’s Why:

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After watching Queen’s Gambit, I noticed my curiosity towards chess has grown tenfold.

As a fellow VR’er, I asked myself, what’s the best VR chess game?

It seems I am not the only one whose interest has peaked:

chess popularity over time in google trends

This graph shows the chess trend this past year.

Yes, Covid might have influenced it a bit, as many people are sitting at home bored. But the biggest factor is the Queen’s Gambit TV series.

That show aired on Netflix in October 2020, and yes, many people fell in love with it.

As there is little information on what VR chess games there are, let alone what’s the best one, I feel like it’s my duty to educate on this topic a bit.

Let me start with the list of VR chess games that are out there.

 

List of VR Chess Games

I will introduce you quickly to chess games that are VR supported, and then tell you the winner of them all.

Scroll down right now if you want to know the answer immediately.

 

#1 – Magician’s Gambit

VR support: Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S.

Magician's gambit - list of vr chess games

This one was released in 2017 and is still in Early Access mode. I mean, if I were a betting man, I’d say that the developer has gone to do his own things.

Still, it has its unique touch to the world of chess.

You are battling against a goblin that looks a bit pissed, in a place that looks… actually quite awesome.

It has that comfy tavern feeling where you wouldn’t mind spending hours in. There is a small problem though.

Your only opponent is this goblin that sometimes freezes up the game. Despite the developer’s promises, we still haven’t got the multiplayer option to play against others.

This goblin is powered by Stockfish Chess Engine. It’s an excellent free chess engine that many games use.

Too bad the game isn’t finished.

 

#2 – ChessVR

ChessVR - list of vr chess games

VR support: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index.

I give 10 points to game name creativity.

ChessVR’s selling point, as with the previous Magician’s Gambit, is its fantasy aspect. Contrary to the previous game, however, is that the chess pieces are the ones that draw the most attention, not the opponent.

The chess pieces are animated and actually give life to an otherwise typical chess game.

As with most unfinished chess games, this one has its own share of problems.

For example:

  • Sometimes I don’t see where my opponent moved.
  • My chess pieces make zero sound – which is unfortunate considering how awesome it looks visually.
  • I really start to miss the goblin Magician’s Gambit, as I see no opponent before me.

At least this game I can play with other VR headsets as well.

 

#3 – VR Chess

VR Support: Oculus Quest.

Another 10 points for name creativity.

This one is actually made by a random user in forums after finding out that there is a void in the chess community for Oculus Quest.

He made VR Chess Beta in a few days and released it in Discord or people to try it out and give feedback. Seeing his Youtube channel, I see that he still works on it and posts game updates frequently:

I actually applaud him for doing it in his free time, as the game itself is free for all.

On top of that, it looks much more polished than games that are costing 10 bucks even.

At its core, the game is simple and straight to the point.

You can resize the board to whatever size you want, rotate it around in case you are lying on the sofa, change the difficulty, and ctrl-z your movements in case you need it.

It got bugs but seeing how the developer reacts to those comments, I am sure that they will be exterminated.

I wish it had a multiplayer option as well.

 

#4 – VR Chess Original

VR support: Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S.

VR Chess Original - list of vr chess games

And another one.

Really, I sometimes wonder if these people congratulate themselves over picking such genius names for their game titles.

Someone should tell them there are chess categories and genres.

I am sorry, but this game is all show and no substance. Its only selling point, or advantage over other games, might be its graphics.

I mean, come on – it’s like playing Overwatch for graphics. Not only is it quite primitive in terms of gameplay itself, but it also has bugs that render the experience to being useless.

If I were you, I’d steer clear from this game until they decide to take it seriously with fixing the game.

 

#5 – Chess Ultra

VR support: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, Valve Index

Chess ultra - list of vr chess games

Now, this is what I am talking about.

Chess Ultra developers from RipStone have gone ‘serious mode’, and created a beast that is not only bug-free and clean but brings some eye candy to a normal chess game through surrounding environments and opponents.

It is not perfect, but it does the things that chess players want the right way. It has a multiplayer option, and that is the biggest seller for me, personally.

There are many games that do chess well, but due to the lack of gamers playing the game, they do not offer multiplayer. That’s an unfortunate downside for Indie devs.

This is what Chess Ultra offers on their page:

  • Stunning chess sets and beautiful environments
  • 10 Grandmaster-approved AI levels
  • Intuitive, overhauled local and online multiplayer with ELO ranking system
  • Comprehensive-time controls, including Classical, Blitz, and Marathon, available online
  • Cross-platform online play and leaderboards
  • Spectate and compete in Official Ripstone tournaments
  • Demonstrate your skills in over 80 chess puzzles
  • Re-write the past by winning the biggest historic matches
  • Export portable game notation (PGN) for every game, locally and online
  • Full Twitch integration invites you to play against your community
  • Play in VR and immerse yourself in the Chess Ultra experience
  • In-depth tutorials to help improve your game

At the time of writing, they offer a discount. Check it here:

 

#6 – Masters of Chess

VR support: HTC Vive.

Masters of Chess is a type of game that doesn’t have much up its sleeves.

In fact, the only thing it offers is an ability to feel immersed in a luxury room and drinking a cup of tea, while lifting a pinky finger up in the air after each move in chess.

I do like the design of the game, but at its core, it has little to offer.

Your money is better spent elsewhere.

 

#7 – Immersion Chess

immersion chess - list of vr chess games

VR support: Rift and Rift S, HTC Vive, Valve Index.

Immersion chess suffers from the same problems that many other chess games do.

Lack of players.

Although it has the support for playing against other people, the player base isn’t big enough to take advantage of it.

There are also some bugs that do alter the gameplay. Multiplayer is important, but when the base game is faulty, there is no point building on a shaky foundation.

 

#8 – Chess With Zombies – Pawn of The Dead

Chess With Zombies - list of vr chess games

VR Support: Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S.

This game puts the focus on making regular chess spicier. They did it by swapping the pieces for zombie figurines.

They fight each other with quite a decent animation.

It is a pleasing game, but unfortunately, the developer hasn’t advanced it beyond early access.

The reason is the lack of interest in terms of sales.

I do have to say that despite not getting any updates anymore, it is more polished than 80% of the chess games that I have introduced right now.

If you want to give the developer some support, you can check it out here:

 

#9 – Magic Table Chess

Magic Table Chess - list of vr chess games

VR support: Rift, Rift S.

I do like the random fact that they added on their Steam page:

“Fresh Take on a Classic: Chess has been played for thousands of years, but never like this!”

I knew it has been around for at least since the 1800s, but by doing a random fact check, I was pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, back to the game.

Magic Table Chess doesn’t really have its unique spin other than it is free and tons of people getting it.

It has a small community, but not big enough to support it for a true multiplayer experience.

You can, however, play this game with your friends through the invite function.

 

#10 – Pawnslaught VR Chess

VR support: Mobile VR

Pawnslaught vr chess - list of vr chess games

It’s interesting that they decided to blur the killing moves in the gameplay trailer, just because it was too bloody to show.

If you have a cardboard or a VR device for mobiles, I recommend you to check it out.

Personally, I have some issues that I don’t like. For example, the pieces take way too long to move, which is extremely agitating for more skilled players, and the movement of pieces itself is buggy, to say the least.

However, some of the issues are mentioned by the developer himself, and he offers solutions.

It’s not really one of a kind, but the fact that you can download it from Play Store makes it already unique.

This game is free:

 

#11 – Tabletop Simulator

Tabletop simulator - list of vr chess games

VR support: Valve Index, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive

Tabletop Simulator doesn\t really focus on chess only, but the chess part of the game is fairly well made.

There aren’t many parts that are scripted, and that results in fewer bugs. Although fewer bugs are good, it also means that you have to rely on other people to play fair.

Speaking of fair, if you didn’t like the game you played, you can flip the table to show your displeasure.

If you are interested in a game that has a big player base and is constantly updated, I am more than fine to recommend it to you.

 

The Winner for the best VR Chess game – Chess Ultra

I don’t really like picking winners by popularity alone, but as one of the important components of chess is playing against others, we have to make sure the player base is big enough.

Chess Ultra fills that hole well.

Not only does it have enough users, but it’s also visually pleasing as well.

best vr chess game ultra

Usually, chess doesn’t really need cool items around the chessboard, but as we are talking about VR, things are a bit different.

It has a decent AI system, many difficulty settings, cool environments, and a decent player base, as I mentioned before.

If you want to give VR chess a shot, this game is what I would recommend.

I consider Chess Ultra the best VR chess game as of this day.

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If you have any other suggestions for games or chess, leave the comment down below for others to see.