Review: Monopoly - Here and Now Edition


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Jul 5, 2008
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Monopoly is a classic game, and it was just a matter of time until it appeared on the iPhone. I remember playing this in the summers with my sister when we were out of school. We would get games that lasted months as we would finally run out of money in the bank!

So finally Monopoly comes to the iPhone! The game is visually appealing, and is based on the Monopoly: Here and Now version with updated locations, dollars amount, and random cards. There is a lot of animation in the game, including rolling the dice, moving the pieces, and various cut scenes while running the app. That graphics are nicely done, and there was only a little stutter now and then with the animation sequences.

The game can be played over wifi, but internet play is not yet available. You can, however, play with multiplayer on the same iPhone. When creating a new game, you can set various game options, including some standard variations on the rules like landing on Go gives you a double paycheck, or all tax money goes to free parking. You choose a token for yourself (new, updated tokens), the difficulty level, and the number of players, and go ahead and start.

The in-game controls are fairly easy to use, but they can get a little cumbersome. I prefer that the controls are easily laid out, however, instead of being hidden or confusing. It is relatively easy to scan the board, scroll through the various title deeds to see who owns what. You are presented with action "tiles" at the bottom of the screen that enable all your actions - including purchase property, manage properties, buy houses, and trade.

I was pleased to see that setting up a trade is pretty straighforward, as is building houses and hotels. You can also change the house rules during the game if you like.

The AI seemed pretty good, I was mostly testing it at the medium difficulty setting. When you start a game, there is a nice help section that leads you through the game the first few times you try something. I couldn't find any way to turn off the help, so I got the help tutorial each time I played a game. This got a little annoying. It would also be nice to be able to turn off animations in order to speed the game up a little bit.

One thing I wish they had was the ability to choose your game board. With all the variations of Monopoly out there (Simpsons, Star Wars, Classic, etc) it would be nice to have various "skins" that you could apply.

Also, the "auction" rules seem a little odd. You are presented with a turn by turn auction, with each player taking turns to place bids. I don't know why they didn't implement a real auction for unpurchased properties (or even better, have an potential in-house rule to disable the auction).

Pros: Nice customization options with the "house rules", easy to play

Cons: Only one "skin", no ability to turn off help or animation

All in all, this is a nicely designed game, that is pretty straightforward and easy to play. The various options and settings are nice. It's fun to play as well, and is currently on sale for $4.99. I give it four and a half stars out of five.

Rating scale:

* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.

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