Monopoly in Review – Back to Basics, just the way it should be!

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I have not seen our family’s Monopoly set in ages, but I have fond memories of the game as a child. I can still recall the feeling of anticipation when rolling the dice, the thrill of counting out money, and the satisfaction of smartly placing little green houses on my little real estate kingdom of no more than three squares. Even at a young age, the objective of Monopoly was easy enough to grasp – be the wealthiest player in the game by gaining a monopoly over properties and using it to one’s advantage.

It is interesting to know that for many of us in the world, Monopoly has been part of our lives since 1935, spanning generations with more than half a billion players since its release and a variety of spin-offs and add-ons to the game in a number of platforms.

Monopoly for the iPhone focuses on keeping one’s experience of it as close as possible to the original game, throwing in some bonuses to sweeten the deal.

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The developers at EA took care to make a seamless transition from the board game to our mobile device – having accomplished this in the previously released Here and Now edition. As a matter of personal preference, however, I prefer the clean and crisp look of the Monopoly classic edition over its more stylized counterpart.

Some features are useful without being intrusive. The event log is a nice touch – it helps you keep track of other players movements and trades which is quite difficult to do in real life. There are several customizable options as well. You can choose from a variety of room environments, play your own music, adjust the game rules for different challenges, wirelessly over WiFi or bluetooth or even pit your wits against the highly skilled AI players!

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The highly polished 3D graphics enhanced by animation and nice sound effects recreate the look and feel of the original. Thanks to a well-designed and intuitive user interface, it’s easy to find your way around the game – whether you are seasoned player or newcomer to the game. With a few simple swipes and taps complemented by a detailed tutorial, overall gameplay remains simple and easy albeit in more sophisticated trappings.

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I have some quibbles though – these echo the concerns already raised by other players in the Here and Now edition yet still remain unresolved. The basic menu controls are a bit too squeezed in together, at times making it difficult to tap on the right button. Most of the time, I end up clicking “trade” when I meant to click “end turn” or “roll.” It’s also tedious and cumbersome to swipe one’s way around the board to build/remove houses and mortgage/redeem properties. What usually happens as a result is landing on someone else’s property, tapping cancel, and then back to the board without accomplishing anything. You have to do it again and it’s counterproductive swiping through the board, avoiding other players‘ properties until you get to your own.

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Finally, while I enjoy the option of playing by myself or with a friend against AI players, it is quite frustrating, however, the die is often cast in the AI players’ favour – to a ridiculous extent, even. Calibrating the controls to be more responsive, and adjusting the programming to level the playing field between humans and AI players should be addressed in updates to this version.

In sum, what I appreciate most about this edition is that it doesn’t diminish one’s enjoyment of the original board game and even makes it fresh and exciting. Monopoly is true to its roots and proves that in whatever form, it still leads the pack.

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App Summary
Title:MonopolyDeveloper:Electronic Arts
Reviewed Ver:1.1.13Min OS Req:2.2.1
Price:$2.99App Size:26.9 MB
  • great user interface
  • a variety of customisable options
  • faithful to the look and feel of the original
  • some awkward controls that interfere with gameplay
  • unfair advantage of AI players – too darn lucky

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