What it is: Archon Classic is an iPhone app that brings my favorite-ever Mac game to the iPhone — perfectly. It’s basically like extraordinarily Manichean version of chess — the battle between not just white and black pieces, but light and dark forces. And instead of merely taking other pieces as you do in chess or checkers, you must battle for each square you try to claim, with action and heated attacks. Whether you’re a phoenix, a shapeshifter, a golem, or a troll, you need quick reflexes to win.
Why it’s cool: Way back when my family got its first Mac Plus, one of the very first games we installed on it was Battle Chess, a title that had chess pieces actually fight each other instead of claiming their squares. Here’s the problem. It was actually completely lame. It was exactly like chess, except that it had slow-loading and highly repetitive animation sequences. I wanted real battle chess. I wanted to fight for each inch of precious territory. Needless to say, I stopped playing.
My frustrations were quickly remedied when my cousin introduced me to Archon for the NES. It was exactly what I had been looking for but better. We had a fierce, almost bitter rivalry. He was inevitably Light forces, I was Dark. And we would play again and again for hours. Eventually, I found Archon for Mac, and enjoyed it in its keyboard-driven black-and-white glory. Every once in a while when we get together, we still play it.
All of which is why I’m so geeked to play Archon Classic for iPhone. The $4 game has updated graphics sharper than any previous version, an intuitive touch interface, and the smoothest emulated D-Pad I have ever experienced on the platform. I played one game, and it was just like old times. Anyone who has ever enjoyed the original Archon will love this. I haven’t tried the multiplayer over WIFI yet, but I’m looking for challengers, if you’re interested.
Where to get it: You can find the App Store link here.