In the good old days when the only computers were bulky desktops, built-in games were king. The number one played game on Windows? Solitaire. On OS X? Probably Chess. Now we’re moving into Apple’s post-PC, iOS-centric world, built-in games are becoming less of a thing. Instead, inexpensive apps crafted by developers are the new breed — casual games being one of the most popular type.
Pacific Helm is a visual design studio from Louie Mantia, Brad Ellis and Jessie Char.
Dubbed as being “checkers the way it was meant to be played”, there are no computerised AI opponents in Checkers for iPad. In fact, there are barely any restrictions or imposed rules implemented by the software. Put simply, Checkers is a box of checkers to carry with you on your iPad. Because two people are required to play the game, restrictions on where pieces can be moved are unneccesary — it will be obvious if one player is trying to cheat. This makes the app simpler to use and strengthens the concept of it simply being a box of checkers pieces.
You are free to move each piece wherever you desire — “kinging” a piece is achieved by a simple double tap.
Lead designer Louie Mantia has (naturally) worked his pixel magic with Checkers: the individual pieces are exquisitely crafted, coloured and the texture of the board on a Retina display iPad is just gorgeous. He didn’t stop there, though. There are eight different coloured pieces to choose from and four board designs. You simply have to click on the screenshots above and below to fully appreciate the detail which has been put into this app. Exquisite. This attention to detail is only to be expected when the app costs $4.99, however.
Whilst Checkers isn’t the most immersive iOS game by a long shot, it isn’t meant to be, either. The role this game is playing is one of lighthearted, two-person, relaxed gaming. In a couple of weeks, I’m going on holiday to Spain with my family. When there, Checkers will be the perfect app to play with my relatives. No need to explain rules, no learning how to play: just pick up and have some fun whilst sipping sangria. I can’t wait.
The attention to detail of both design and development by Pacific Helm doesn’t stop with the app, however. Pacific Helm’s Checkers website has an extremely novel feature: slide to download. I adore this for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is being able to see the app icon right away, before even visiting the App Store from my browser. I hope more developers feature the icon prominently in the future.
If simple iPad games are your thing, or you’ve been longing for a beautifully crafted game to play with less tech-savvy family or friends, your wait is over. Checkers can be picked up for $4.99 over at the App Store. Or, if you’d rather slide to download, visit the Checkers website.