It's one of the most popular board games around. It has seen numerous versions on the PC and games consoles in the past, and has now found itself on the Nintendo Wii. But can a game from the 20th century really cut it in the 21st century? We get buying hotels to find out.
To cut a long review short, yes, it is what you would expect. EA has rolled out another version of the board game to cash-in on the Christmas season, but should you care?
Graphics are cute, although basic (it is the Wii after all), and the game is played out with the help of Mr Monopoly who bears an uncanny resemblance to Colonel Sanders of KFC fame, but merely in a top hat.
With up to four players, like the original game, you take it in turns to move around the board ... well I am sure you know the rules of Monopoly. Dice are rolled by shaking your Wii Remote (we always seem to roll a 7, shame its not craps) and you can then buy your way through property and hotels.
With no variations on rules allowed, you may find yourself at odds at times with the game - Free Parking doesn't earn you the pot of cash in the middle for example and if you turn down a property it is automatically auctioned.
While the classic game sees you playing just that on a series of different boards (classic, futuristic, different cities), EA has also included three new gaming modes found in an area entitled Richest, in an attempt to flesh out the offering.
Here you get to play shorter variants (between 6 and 12 rounds) of the long, sometimes drawn out, classic. All three lose the cash in favour of swapping properties when you can't pay the bill. "Developer", "Industrialist" and "Tycoon" are all variations on the theme, with the goal to be the richest player at the end of it (see what they've done there?).
Each round begins with a multiplayer mini-game based on a Chance or Community Chest card, after which the game will roll one die for each player, with the winner of the mini-game getting to pick whichever number they want out of the results.
The games are quick and simple involving stuff like running from the police by shaking your Wii Remote, dropping presents in a Christmas stocking or predicting whether the stock market would go up or down (most likely down...).
The games are a bit more approachable over the "it's going to last for hours" classic, however one that comes with a flaw. The secret to winning every time? Make sure you get houses on a set of properties.
As we mentioned cash is banned and property is swapped, however properties with buildings are exempt from the swap pool and therefore if you're out of spare properties and land on an opponent's property you get to stay for nought.
Gaining properties seems to be easy enough. You can either steal them via the help of a community chest card, or trade them with other players (the computers are very stupid at this). It doesn't take long to work out what happens next.
Monopoly on the Wii is cute, the gameplay simple and if you've ever played it, you'll know what you are doing from the off, however as far as computer games go it lacks excitement.
Monopoly is all about stealing from the bank, bartering with friends, and trying to get away with someone not noticing you are on their property before the next person roles the dice. Take that to the Wii and it befalls the same fate of every other computerised version of the game on a computer: automation.
All the above has gone from this computerised version and it's worse off for it we think. Cash-in? For sure. Worth the effort? Not really.