Play Magnus Chess App Review (Features & Pricing)


The Play Magnus Chess App is one of the most popular chess apps on the market. According to the developers, it teaches you the strategy you need to play chess to turn you into the next grandmaster.

But does it live up to the hype? And can a simple app turn you from a beginner chess player into a world champion?

In this Play Magnus Chess App review, we rate how we think it fairs as a chess app. We look at the app’s features, skill level, interface, and usability in detail.

Play Magnus Chess App (Detailed Review)

play magnus chess app review

General Overview

The Play Magnus Chess App, developed by Magnus Chess, is a mobile app that’s available on both IOS and Android. It was released in January 2014 for IOS and an Android version was released in late 2014. 

The app has a rating of 4.5/5 stars on the Android app store, and a rating of 4.8/5 stars on the IOS app store. 

The Play Magnus app aims to teach newbies how to play chess. It’s designed by grandmasters and chess experts, most notably the world chess champion Magnus Carlsen

The app has both a free version and in-app purchases if you decide to go for the paid version. This might be a turn-off to some, but the free version offers a wide variety of features. The paid version is affordable at less than $7 if you’d like access to all of the features and content. 

This app is great for users of all skill levels, from beginners to masters. Something we really liked about it is that it allows you to learn at your own pace. It has around 250+ courses and lessons so there’s more than enough content to appease chess enthusiasts. 

Overall, we found the app incredibly easy to use and beginner-friendly. The advanced chess lessons are great if you want to improve your skill. 

Interface and Usability 

The first thing that struck us when opening the app is how clean, fresh, and modern the interface is. It’s incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. Each course comes in a different color based on the skill level of the lessons in that course. 

Key Features

The key features of the Magnus App are clustered according to skill level. The courses and chess games are divided into four different skill levels – basics, easy, medium, and hard. 

In the basics course, beginners can learn the rules of chess. The first lessons teach beginners about the different chess pieces, how they move, and how to use them. 

The easy course goes into a bit more depth and includes lessons and games that demonstrate how to play chess and gives a few basic chess puzzles and tactics to help players learn chess strategies. 

As you progress, the chess games and puzzles become increasingly difficult so that you can improve. For example, in the hard course, you’re able to work through real-life chess matches between world champions and grandmasters. 

We must say, being able to work through matches played by world champions is an exciting feature that we haven’t seen in any other app. The app is entertaining which makes it fun and engaging: a great way to learn. 

There are a ton of mini-games in each course and developers are constantly adding new levels to play. The app is also frequently updated with new content and lessons. 


There are two versions of this app. The free version has slightly less content and features than the paid version. Unfortunately, if you want to unlock the content hidden behind app purchases you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription fee.  

With the paid version, you’ll have immediate access to the 250+ lessons, including infinite lives so you can play chess for as long as you want to. You’ll also get more detailed lessons and a more detailed report of your performance on the app. 

While you do get some details on your performance on the free version, it is quite sparse which is disappointing. 

The monthly subscription fee also includes access to all four of the chess apps offered by Play Magnus AS as well as all the bonus features of these apps. 

The paid subscription is aimed specifically at chess enthusiasts. Casual fans and players will be more than satisfied with the free version content. 

  • Available on both IOS and Android
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Great user interface
  • Tons of courses and lessons available 
  • Content is hidden behind a paywall
  • Monthly subscription fee 

The Play Magnus App Family

There are four apps developed by Play Magnus AS: Knight Runner, Magnus Trainer, Play Magnus, and Tactics Frenzy. All of these apps are essentially free chess games aimed at teaching beginners how to play chess and helping players improve their chess skills and strategies. 

Most of the apps developed by Play Magnus AS are available on both the IOS app store and the Android app store and all of them have free and paid versions. While the paid versions aren’t too expensive, you can get an all-access pass for less than $10 a month. 

With a membership subscription, you gain full access to all the features of the games like video lessons and being able to review any mistakes you’ve made. It also allows you to play across platforms without losing your progress. 

Unless you’re a chess enthusiast, we recommend enjoying the free features instead of paying the monthly subscription fee. 

Here’s a breakdown of the chess apps Magnus offers.

Knight Runner

knight runner chess app

Knight Runner is a chess-puzzle-adventure game with a plethora of chess puzzles and brain-teasers that allows you to train while playing. 

Unlike other chess apps, Knight Runner has a storyline. A peaceful kingdom is attacked and can only be saved by the Knight Runner – you 

As the name suggests, the game focuses on the knight and forces you to use your wits to figure out how to use the piece in various chess strategies. 

Overall, we found the game fun but quite niche. It’s definitely not for everyone but chess enthusiasts will probably get a kick out of it. 

Magnus Trainer

magnus trainer chess app

Magnus Trainer, available on both IOS and Android, is a collection of mini-games aimed at helping you improve your chess skill in a fun and easy way. 

All the activities on this app are designed by world chess champion Magnus Carlsen and a team of grandmasters.

There are various difficulty levels depending on your skill. This makes it great for players of all skill levels while still providing a challenge. 

Overall, this app is fun but it’s similar to the Play Magnus Chess App and isn’t unique enough to stand on its own. 

Tactics Frenzy 

tactics frenzy chess app

Tactics Frenzy is focused on chess strategies and offers a plethora of puzzles that have you figuring your way out of complicated chess games. 

There are different difficulty levels so you can learn and train at a comfortable, challenging pace. 

This was by far our favorite alternative chess game offered by Play Mangus AS. Not only does it help you figure out your own chess strategies, and how to implement others, it really stretches the imagination and tests your skills. 

The only downside is that it isn’t suited toward beginners who’ve never played chess. This game is more for intermediate chess players looking to up their game. 


Play Magnus Chess is a great app for both beginners and expert-level chess players. It’s highly interactive and teaches you everything you need to know about a chessboard and the pieces that make up the game. 

The only downside is the monthly subscription fee, which we found a bit excessive. 

If you’re a chess enthusiast, we recommend you check it out.

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