Date: November 14, 2010
App type: Game, Xbox LIVE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release date: October 16, 2010
Requirements: Access to your data connection, sensors, media library, Xbox LIVE, phone identity
Monopoly is a surprisingly addictive game that is, perhaps, maybe a bit too close to the original board game. In fact, in my first outing against the onboard AI, I was getting routinely trounced courtesy of a number of strategies involving trades, auctions and mortgages that my family growing up either avoided on purpose or just didn't know existed. Once I figured out what was going on, and consulted the actual rules, I was all set. This is a seriously faithful reproduction of the age-old board game.
What's interesting about this game is that Monopoly breaks with a number of the establish norms for good mobile gaming: It's not a quick game and it's not necessarily the type of thing you can play well little chunks at a time. And yet, it works so well with the touch screen-based mobile form factor of Windows Phone, and you can speed some things up by removing unnecessarily bits (like shaking the screen to roll the dice, which is cute at first but gets old). I usually have an in-progress game waiting for me that I can return to again and again.
Monopoly is also a great game to look at, and it's quite engaging. But it's a hard game. Even after getting re-acclimated to the monopoly world, I had to tune down the AI to put up a respectable fight. I admit this may be a limitation of the reviewer. You can play with up to four players, a mix of humans and AI, but there's no online multiplayer, so you'd have to huddle around the phone. It's unclear how fun that could be: Just get the real game.
As a more intelligent diversion than the usual mobile game, Monopoly is quite successful and good fun. And if you're an achievement whore--go on, admit it--this one coughs up achievements like a Pez dispenser.
Because Monopoly is an Xbox LIVE title, it offers the following Achievements:
Deal Of The Century
Form a monopoly as a result of trading.
Everybody Starts Somewhere
Buy a property.
Land on every property on the board.
Moving On Up
Build your first set of houses.
Be responsible for the bankruptcy of another player.
Now You're On Your Way
Own a monopoly.
Rolled To Freedom
Rolled a double to get out of jail.
Rolled To Jail
Roll three doubles in a row and get sent to jail.
Own every property, including any ports and utilities, down one whole side of the board
The View From The Top
Build your first set of hotels.
Own the monopoly on the transport properties.
You've Got The Power
Own the monopoly on the utilities