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May 17, 2014 / Jett

Khet 2.0 Review

Take chess. Now add lasers and mirrors. This is the underlying premise behind Khet 2.0 from Innovention. Players take turns moving and rotating their pieces on the board in order to blast their opposition from a distance. Doubters may be concerned about how gimmicky it appears on the surface, but it’s actually a neat and solid strategy game.

All of the action takes place on a battlefield sectioned off into squares. Sitting at opposite corners are the Sphinx pieces. With LED laser lights embedded into their chests, they can pivot between two different angles to fire. Unlike the box art, which depicts a solid laser beam, shots are invisible until they reach their target. Within the playing area are an assortment of pyramid, scarab, anubis and pharaoh pieces. Pyramids feature a mirror on the front, but are vulnerable to shots that hit behind them. Scarabs have diagonal mirrors on both sides and they also have the ability to swap places with another piece directly beside it. Anubis pieces can’t reflect shots, but they are impervious to forward-facing shots. The pharaoh is the equivalent of a king in chess. If your pharaoh gets tagged, you lose.

During each turn, a player gets one action, followed by a shot of their laser. Actions including moving any of your pieces once space in any direction or rotating a piece 90 degrees. You cannot blast your laser before you complete your action, so you’ll have to be mindful of your angles before you commit. You can also accidentally shoot one of your own pieces, which will force them off the table.

Khet 2.0Considering how much of this game is built around the concept of chess, it’s no wonder that this game scratches a similar itch. Understanding the spatial relations between pieces is a critical skill to have while playing. Being able to read the board and anticipate your opponent’s next moves while mapping out yours is also a key to success. If those are things you like from chess, you’ll probably like it here too. The new nuances come from the lasers and mirrors. Not only are you trying to manipulate your own pieces to land the ideal shot, but you can also use your opponent’s mirrors against them.

Khet 2.0 may stand on the shoulders of two proven ideas in chess and lasers, but it succeeds by bringing them together in a way that makes sense. It plays to the appeal of chess while providing players with new tools and challenges to face. I’m rarely in the mood nowadays to play chess, but add lasers to that mix and how could I possibly say no?

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