As I mentioned in just about every Astraware review, it's a company with a long history of coming up with small little games which keep you addicted for hours on end - and Rook's Revenge is no exception. The slight difference with this one is that it comes HiRes-enabled out of the box, which is great news for Sony Clie users.
The premise of the game is rather interesting. Basically, it's chess - but not any kind of chess: it's realtime chess. In Rook's Revenge, you don't have to wait for your opponent to make a move: you just move at your own rhythm (and you better hope it's faster than Palm's rhythm, 'cause else you're going to lose). The only restriction is that you are not allowed to move the same piece twice in a row. For instance, you can't take your queen and just go around taking the enemy's pieces. Besides that, another neat feature is being able to rebuild pieces: so if you lose your rook, you just tap on the square where it should reside, and it will be built within a few seconds. This can be neat since you can end up with three or four queens in a game - but, on the other hand, you generally don't have the time to build so many queens: games aren't very protracted in length, with a game lasting anywhere from about three seconds to maybe 20 or 30, depending on how good you are and how much you/the opponent (depending on who's losing) resist. Generally, I found that I was able to develop a strategy (pawn e2-e4, bishop f1-c4, queen d1-f5, bishop c4-f7+, queen f5-d7!) that virtually guaranteed me quick wins for the first 10-12 levels. After that, though, it gets trickier, and the computer starts thinking a LOT faster, making it quite challenging. Watch out for one thing: if you play to win the game, you must take the enemy king – a simple check is not enough. Also, since the game is realtime and you want to hit the king with your queen from across the board, chances are strong that he might dodge your attack literally as you are moving: just because your piece is moving does not automatically freeze the enemy’s pieces, so he is free to do whatever he wants in the meantime. This can work for you (since you can do that) or against you (since you can have that done to you).
There are three difficulty levels - easy, medium and hard, which affect the speed with which the computer moves and makes decisions. On easy, it's pretty straightforward, and it doesn't take a chess grandmaster - but on level 15 of the hard mode, it's a different story altogether...
The graphics "engine", if it can be called that (I think we're still two-three years away from real "engines" in PDA games) is quite nice in that it supports Sony HiRes devices. It doesn't support the long screen, but it doesn't really need that - what would it do, have three more rows on the chessboard? But in all fairness, Astraware could've included Virtual Graffiti support for something like scores or time, though that's not really necessary. Besides the standard figures, you have a choice of two other figurine designs, and a total of two additional board looks in addition to the standard board.
In essence, Rook's Revenge is a little game that should keep you busy for some time. Don't think of it as a chess game, though, so much as an arcade game - your Palm is, of course, not Big Blue, but at the same time, when you only have two seconds to think of a move, it turns into a bit of a tapfest, though less of one than Collapse. With the hires graphics, sound and a relatively small footprint (180k), it's a great value, and I certainly recommend you to try it. It might wear off after a while, and honestly, getting past level 16 – 17 on hard is, well, very hard; but it’s kind of worth it at the same time.