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Rooks Keep (Preview)

April 10th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

There’s nothing like a good game of “Chess” to stimulate the mind, but sometimes you just want more.  More as in, pick up a sword (simulated, of course) and run your enemies through until they beg for mercy.  “Rooks Keep” is an upcoming action-strategy game that let you do both of those things.  It’s a cross between “Unreal Tournament”, “Chivalry: Medieval Warfare”, “Archon”, and “Chess” rolled up into one neat package.  Before we take a quick look at what this game has to offer, I’d like to thank Arn Richert from Runestorm for providing me with a free preview copy.  It’s important to stress that the game is not done yet, meaning that the below content is subject to change.

Rooks Keep

Rooks Keep (PC)

“Rooks Keep” features a number of different play modes.  Deathmatch pits the player against everyone else in an “Unreal Tournament-esque” fashion, putting strategy on the back-burner while you hack and slash your way to victory.  Team Deathmatch is the same way, except that you’ll have friends by your side looking out for you (hopefully).  Conversion involves killing enemies to bring them over to your side, which is a unique twist on an arena-oriented system.  Last Man Standing and Last Team Standing tasks players in being the last one alive, similar to a gladiator mode.  Combat Chess plays similarly to “Archon” in that the attacking and defending pieces are thrown into an arena where they’ll have to battle to the death.  If you’re looking for a calmer experience however, you can try your hand in the regular Chess mode.

As you may have expected, the game is playable both online and offline.  Up to thirty-two players (AI & human) can participate in modes not involving a Chess board, which makes for some pretty messy matches.  What’s more, the pieces have their own unique way of playing, so you’ll have to adjust your strategy on the battlefield depending on what piece you’re playing with at the time.  On top of the medieval / human looking set of Chess pieces (called the Kingdom), players will have access to another faction that is made of up of some pretty nasty looking beasts (called the Darkspawn).  They too, have their own style and attacks.

Rooks Keep

Pass and play is available, if you have a friend sitting nearby.

My experience with the preview was an overall positive one, despite some frustrating moments.  I liked the fact that I could simply play regular Chess or jump into chaos on a whim, depending on my mood.  “Check vs Mate” did something similar to “Rooks Keep”, so I’ll be interested in seeing how the two compare in the end.  The Combat Chess mode was frustrating as I found the arenas to be too darn small.  As soon as the match started, the AI walloped on me even on the easiest difficulty level.  There’s definitely room for the game to improve before launch in terms of difficulty and balance.  Be on the lookout for a full review in the next couple of weeks as the game is expected to be released by then.

In the meantime, feel free to watch me experience the preview build via the video below:

You can learn more about “Rooks Keep” by visiting the following websites:



You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:


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