Release Date: 11/20/2009
For Fans Of: Monopoly, Board Games, Long Games
Also Available On
The Good: Great visuals, fun animations, very easy to understand interface, excellent menu design, feels just like the board game
The Bad: Wonky dice physics, games can drag on forever, some of the textures look too low-res
Monopoly is probably one of the most failed board game to video game adaptations every made. The board game is a timeless classic, but there have been countless video game versions for almost every system imaginable, and 99% were terrible. They just couldn’t capture the board game feeling due to cheap AI, bad graphics, or poor controls. Monopoly for iPhone is probably one of the best versions I have ever played. The game looks good, feels like the board game, and has a well designed and easy to use interface.
You start by picking your piece (the Prius was added recently) then choose your house rules. Some can be altered like what happens in Free Parking, how much money you get when you pass Go etc. Once you get started the game is just like you remember at home. You shake your device to roll then watch your piece move across the board. The game features a fast forward button which helps make the moving animations go faster. When you receive or lose money there is a nice animation to represent this, but most importantly, there’s a message center at the top of the screen you can pull down and read messages that went by too fast. The bottom of the screen has easy to use icons for rolling, managing your properties, and trading.
When you monopolize a property set you can add houses and hotels easily. Trading is as simple is selecting everything and offering a trade. This is one of the nicest board game interfaces I have seen in a video game so hats off to EA for this. The graphics are decent, but could have been a little sharper and the textures a little more high-res. The only real issue with the game are the same ones that come from the board game. Games can last hours some times, but thankfully there’s a save feature. I also found the dice physics to be a bit wonky so this could have been improved a bit. The AI is fair on normal difficulty, and isn’t much tougher or more predictable than a human, but of course playing with another person is the most fun.
Overall, Monopoly for iPhone is the best rendition of the classic board game in video game format. The game has nice visuals, an excellent menu design, and an interface that makes it simple to play. The games can drag on forever, but any fan of the board game will know this coming in.