The market for board games on the iPad has really taken off lately, and one of the latest contenders is Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition. The move, though one that may cause some to raise their eyebrows, is one that I think is rather brilliant, even if only for the added exposure to world class titles like Carcassone and Ticket to Ride.
While a lot of these board game titles are great Apps, and wonderfully blur the line between “screening” and “not screening”… if you follow me, the new Monopoly title raises the bar even further, and raises serious questions about the future existence of “real” board games.
It’s the classic everyone knows and loves, but brought to the next level in just about every conceivable way. With a slick presentation, house rules, and a variety of ways to play multi-player (single-player vs AI Monopoly is a concept that eludes me actually, but it’s obviously an option), the arguments for owning the traditional version are hard to imagine.
The iPhone version of the game has been out for quite a while, but this is an entirely new beast, and the App savvy should not think of this as simply zapping an App game that is a couple of years old to the new platform.
For those unfamiliar, the general gameplay is the same, but this edition features cities from around the world. Instead of Boardwalk and Marvin Gardens, you’ll be buying up Montreal, Paris, London, New York, and a random assortment of others. Also, the monetary denominations have several extra zeros at the end, so passing Go now nets you $2 million, and the prices of properties are adjusted accordingly.
Going through the motions of Monopoly hardly seems relevant, except that in this case it actually is. Sure, you have the game down pat, but there are more complexities than there seem to be, and how they are handled matters. Auctions, mortgages, trades, and how you’re going to handle Free Parking, are the sort of things that come up, and they are all given to you through a fantastic interface that makes everything as simple as can be. It’s extremely customizable, even offering up the potential for a strange cheating option presented as “Sleight of Hand,” which I’d never heard of before, and you even get some trivia popping up once in a while.
Roll the dice, and move forward. Buy a property, or kick off an auction. Or, turn auctions off. Your properties are marked with your color, money is handled automatically, and you can start up a trade at any time. The AI even initiates trades, and for the most part, they are actually sensible ones.
It looks great, and runs very smoothly. I’ve heard some complaints in the form of performance on iPads vs iPad2s, but I didn’t notice any problems with it, other than perhaps that it took a little bit to load initially.
All the fanciness you get, and it really is impressive, still only adds up to something along the lines of, “Woohoo, I can play Monopoly on my iPad.” There’s a varying degree of oomph behind that Woohoo, depending on who you are, but, it is what it is.
The real keys to the purchase, including the fairly hefty AppStore price tag of $9.99, comes down to the tabletop mode, and the customization. There are options App Game regulars will be familiar with when it comes to playing against real people, like a Bluetooth option so that everyone can play using their own device, but in tabletop mode, you just sit your iPad down, and there’s the board. Everyone sits around, just as you would really play, only with the game handling all the money, property cards, and other things that normally slow you down. You can even pause the game overnight without leaving any mess around the table besides the iPad! Just remember to keep your iPad out of window sight overnight and install a home security camera alarm system, if you don’t you risk thieves spotting it and trying to take it for themselves!
I’ve already gone over the customization a bit, but the amount of freedom available here can’t be given too much credit. Choosing what you get for Free Parking, whether or not there are auctions, whether or not there are unlimited houses to buy, even how many houses are required for a hotel, and many others, are things that change the game, and make Monopoly unique to everyone.
The cute animations, and options like being able to play your own music during the game, add a bit of fun, but the focus on making sure the game itself is all it can be makes this one a no-brainer, even for those who generally can’t get past such a price tag. It’s as solid an App Game as I’ve seen, and one that will get a lot of use, legitimately taking over for your “real” Monopoly game.
The wait is over –MONOPOLY® HERE & NOW™: The World Edition has finally arrived on the iPad! Enjoy a truly HD and interactive experience with enhanced graphics, amazing animations, and customizable house rules. It’s ‘GO’ time!
FOUR PLAY MODES!
· Play Now – Play a game against the AI or your friends, with 4 levels of difficulty and a variety of House Rules
· Tabletop Mode – Play against up to 3 of your friends in the immersive digital equivalent of the classic board game experience
· Teacher Mode – Play a single player game against a new more realistic AI, and learn the basics of MONOPOLY through helpful hints and tips that appear throughout the game.
· Local Network Play – Play your friends with over WiFi or Bluetooth, up to 4 players total. Yes, it’s backwards compatible with iPhone/iPod touch!
NEW DICE STATS CHART
See how often each number is rolled, in an individual game or over life of play on your device.
Completely redesigned for iPad, with Elegant UI and Menu System, and Stunning HD Graphics!
ROCK YOUR iPAD
Listen & control your iTunes® Library while with friends and family.
ROLL WITH NEW MOVERS
Travel the world with international movers like the Nesting Doll or the Sumo Wrestler, or keep it green and
“GO” with the new Toyota Prius mover!
PLAY WITH OTHER iOS FRIENDS
Jump into a local multiplayer game with other iOS friends who have MONOPOLY® HERE & NOW™: The World Edition-
play from your iPad and connect with friends who have the iPhone or iPod Touch versions of the game.
MONOPOLIZE FRIENDS & FAMILY IN TABLETOP MODE – AN iPAD EXCLUSIVE!
Play up to 3 other players in an immersive interactive equivalent of the classic board game. For example, the
board stays put while the interface automatically rotates to face the current player – and that’s just for starters!