Tencent just dropped their autobattler, Chess Rush, and we are sorry to report there are no surprises. The mechanics, gameplay, art style, and units should be very familiar to anyone who has played any other title in the genre.
Chess Rush gameplay
The game is free to play and available exclusively on mobile. It launched with a 52-unit roster, and almost all of them are Auto Chess staples. In fact, when you hop into your first match, you will immediately be assailed by time-tested opening builds like Scrappy Inventors, which in this case is called Cyborg Engineers. You like Underlords‘ Trolls? Don’t worry, Chess Rush‘s Goblins are the same thing.
There are a few new ideas here and there. Fans of Dota Auto Chess‘s Beast units may enjoy a similar class in Chess Rush. It can summon token Pet units and is called… Beast. There is also a Furry unit class. That’s all I am going to say about that.
Items are a thing in this game too, and they work in a way similar to items in Teamfight Tactics. Units can equip multiple items each, and combining copies of the same one creates a stronger item.
Chess Rush has a Battle Pass and the aggressive monetization tactics typical of mobile releases. Just logging in gifts players with copious amounts of in-game currency, which can be spent on cosmetics.
Fairy tale autobattler
The art style is where Chess Rush shines. While it definitely has the traditional Blizzard-inspired fantasy feel, it puts a noticeable fairy tale twist on it. The unit designs are pretty, and some even show originality. The overall art direction is light-hearted and joyful. If you can think of Chess Rush as a re-skin rather than a new game, it’s actually pretty good.
The Tencent game’s other advantage is the diversity of play modes compared to those of other big name autobattlers. Besides standard matches, players can get in Turbo Mode matches that are more streamlined and fast-paced. Players can also battle in co-op matches with friends, or open custom lobbies and play against bots.
At the end of the day, If you think of Underlords as Auto Chess 2, then Chess Rush is, well, also Auto Chess 2. There just isn’t enough there to make this game feel different from the titles that came before it. And both Dota Auto Chess and Underlords are available on mobile, which makes Chess Rush a very questionable competitor.