PlayMesh has staked its claim in the upper echelons of iPhone game development with its massively popular text based iPhone MMO RPGs. Starting with iMafia and iRacing it later expanded to many more titles in three generation, culminating in more recent titles like iMafia III, Heroes III, and iRobots. These free iPhone games hit the highest level of popularity in months back, yet the only place that they made money was through the sale of their PlayMesh Points. These PlayMesh Points were purchased for real money from the iTunes' App Store and then used to cheat in their text based iPhone MMO RPGs. In an effort to branch out their financial success from purely the sale of PlayMesh Points they began releasing updated versions of classic games like Roshambo and Link4. These versions followed the same PlayMesh account logic that linked together the other PlayMesh titles and coaxed players into starting up with more than one title. Even now PlayMesh's text based iPhone MMO RPGs hold advertisements to these new classic gaming titles with offers of free PlayMesh Points if you download the free versions.
More recently PlayMesh released Chess Online, which again tries to bring this established gaming model under the PlayMesh umbrella. Chess Online from Playmesh will not stand out as the best chess game on the iPhone, yet for those who have already established themselves to the PlayMesh structure may want to stick with it anyway.
Chess Online, just like the other titles in the PlayMesh classic gaming series. gives you a digital identity to then play against other players online. You begin in a chat room with other Chess Online players where you can hit the Play Chess button. It will then search for another player that is looking for a match and you will be paired up. Since chess takes longer than most the other classic games it may take a little longer to pair you up. You then enter into the actual game arena where a chess game occurs. The graphics are very limited in Chess Online and you may find a little resistance to the movement of pieces along the board. These are relatively minor complaints as it tends to work fine most of the time. From inside gameplay you have a number of options ranging from My Settings to checking the information about your actual account. Along with this is the general ability to resign or request a draw, which main be handy since gameplay can become time consuming.
As is standard with PlayMesh you can check your own player statistics and even add friends. If you have a general PlayMesh account, which can be managed with the PlayMesh account free iPhone application that affects all your PlayMesh game accounts, you can use this in the PlayMesh tab from inside of the game.
You really have a choice between Chess Online and Chess Online Premium, which costs $4.99. There is nothing practically different between the two in terms of actual gameplay. What you really succeed with in the premium vresion is a lack of ads, and there is an extensive amount in the free version. Chess Online Premium is not worth the extra money, especially since the ads really only affect the aspects of the application that are not directly related to the chess competition between characters.
Over all there is nothing unique in Chess Online to the actual gaming mechanisms. The only thing that is specific to Chess Online is all the peripheral "community building" that PlayMesh attempts to do with its players. These are cheap ploys to create brand loyalty to PlayMesh, but if you already are involved in a number of their games and account connections then it would make sense that you stick with PlayMesh for your online chess needs. Chess Online is never going to win any awards, but it still can bring a little casual fun to your touch screen.
Three out of five stars.