A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
In addition to the general idea that brainy, challenging games can be a lot of fun, Learn Chess also repeatedly enforces the "practice makes perfect" lesson.
Positive Role Models
The ghost who serves as the game's chess tutor is generally likable and mostly a postive, constructive teacher. It would be better, however, if he didn't occasionally veer into negative criticism and use words like "stupid."
Ease of Play
Despite having three difficulty levels, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) opponents are quite challenging on even the easiest of those levels. This is no Mickey Mouse chess course -- the game wants you to get really good.
Though the chess tutor is mostly constructive, he occasionally uses negative words like "stupid" to describe a chess move. He will sometimes mock a move with a quip like, "That was a banana move." Also, there is one unnecessarily low-brow joke told by a parrot, which equates a pirate's going to the bathroom to his ship being bombed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this instructional chess software covers pretty much every teachable aspect of the game. Learn Chess is a very demanding course of study, despite its fun, cartoony environments. Kids will need a lot of patience and a long attention span, but they can learn a lot about the game of chess if they do. Two players can compete against one another wirelessly, but only with two DS units and two copies of the game.
Is It Any Good?
Learn Chess seems about as thorough as any instructional chess game aimed at children can be. The colorful and playful environments offer a much welcomed break from the instensely cerebral chess lessons. Learn Chess is only appropriate, though, for kids who have the patience to really absorb the lessons and learn the strategies involved in playing chess. The ghostly tutor won't even allow you to attempt a shot at beating the pirate captain until he thinks you're ready. You've got to beat him first -- and that could take a while.
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Our Editors Recommend
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