Netflix The Queen's Gambit Chess review - "The fictional road to Grandmaster"
| The Queen's Gambit

Netflix has been taking its journey into gaming quite seriously and it has quite the library of originals to work from for adaptations. An interesting move was to try out this process with one of their top-rated series to create The Queen's Gambit Chess.

This is a 3D competitive puzzle game that has you playing a series of chess games as you learn the basic and advanced techniques to take you through parts of the show. Whether you're a fan of the show or a fan of chess, it's clear that Netflix wants this game to be something that any type of person can play.

What's The Queen's Gambit Chess?

Queen's Gambit chess

A common mistake with adaptations to games is trying to capture the series or film exactly as is when it should try to stand apart. The Queen's Gambit Chess does that to a degree while acknowledging the IP. You play as someone taking their first steps into the world of chess, following the end of the main character Beth's story in the series. By following the same journey, you'll come across a lot of the friends and opponents from the story. The goal is to learn everything you can about chess as you try to become a grandmaster yourself, able to challenge the top AI and human players out there.

The Queen's Gambit Chess classic

3 gold stars for a perfect score

Chess is one of the oldest games out there and it's becoming harder to transform it and keep it relevant to an ever-changing world. The Queen's Gambit Chess takes a great stride to achieve this end. It's a chess game that captures in essence what chess is: A game that looks simple on the surface but is more complex than you can imagine. Even if you're familiar with the rules, going through the introduction and tutorial shines a new light on the pieces and their basics. It makes you feel like you're learning and growing with every new fact that you learn.

There's also solo play in the form of puzzles. While the meat of the game is being able to play games of chess against characters and online players, you can also challenge your mind with the various chess puzzles at each location. The setup is that the pieces have been arranged on the board in a particular way. The puzzle is to use your pieces to capture the opposing pieces in as few moves as possible while avoiding being captured yourself. It's an intuitive and creative way to get the strategic juices flowing while getting you to practice the mechanics.

As a nice touch, there's a nod to the series that lets you use Beth's ability to foresee possible moves in order to help with your decisions.

The Queen's Gambit Chess basic

You can find plenty of dramatic and competitive stories around chess and once you take that away, you're left with the game. The Queen's Gambit Chess is exactly what it says and that works just fine. The problem is the reason why people will want to play this particular chess game more than others: Because it's based on a show they like. Unfortunately, the relation to the show ends with the setting and characters. Most of the game takes place from a zoomed-out perspective of a map of your current "world", serving as more of a menu than an environment.

You'd think this would be balanced with interactions with the characters. Well, not only do they not have voices, their text speech is uncharacteristic of them. The most you get to see of them is as small avatars will limited animation as they appear in the corner of the screen to spout some technical stuff at you or words of encouragement. This changes up slightly when you're playing games, but not enough to appease fans of the show. Even non-fans may find themselves disappointed with the lack of characterisation in characters from a series that was amazing due to the characters.

The Queen's Gambit Chess Gambit

The Queen's Gambit Chess is a 3D chess puzzle game based in the world of the critically acclaimed Netflix series. It captures the feel and technicality of chess well while making every move you learn, and make, and every puzzle you solve feel like you're growing and getting better at a complex game. The actual elements of the show seem to be there solely as an appealing aesthetic in hopes of drawing people in and they aren't executed well. Moving past that, learning and playing chess through this game could be a worthy gambit.

Netflix The Queen's Gambit Chess review - "The fictional road to Grandmaster"

A solid and intriguing representation of chess and all of its layers while wearing the coat of well-known television series.
Will Quick
Will Quick
Will Quick is a travelling writer currently dedicating his time to writing about the games he spends his free time playing. He's always on the lookout for the smaller and stranger of the bunch so he can shine a light on them.