|Publisher: GameHouse Genre: Board & Card|
|Min OS X: 10.4|
Monopoly, the board game with so many versions, is back in yet another incarnation. Have you ever noticed how no matter what the theme of the game is, you could buy property for a few hundred dollars? This was perfect for when the game was originally invented in the 1930s. Now I don’t know about you, but to me the prices seem a bit low by today’s standards. This new version of Monopoly, called Monopoly: Here and Now,published by GameHouse, ups the ante with properties that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Don’t worry though, your salary has increased as well. It’s no longer “pass go and collect $200” but “pass go and collect $2,000,000”. Finally, there is a feeling that you are not only actually spending money but more importantly that you are gaining a lot of money.
GameplayMonopoly is a simple game at its core. You roll two dice and move your piece clockwise around the board. You can buy whatever property you land on unless it already belongs to another player. If you own a set of properties, distinguished by color, you can build houses and hotels to raise the rent of your properties. If a player is unfortunate enough to land on a fully upgraded property that has a hotel that he does not own, it could mean defeat unless he has a lot of money to spare. You can trade with other players to try to gain an advantage. If you run out of money you can mortgage your property to gain some but to get rent from them you have to pay off the mortgage to the bank. The last one with property and/or money wins.
The game has every feature you’d expect from a digital Monopoly game. The designers based this game on the Monopoly board game of the same name. It is a straight port from board game to computer game and yet is a smooth transition without major problems. They've used places from the United States such as Hollywood, the Golden Gate Bridge and Times Square amongst others. "Luxury Tax" is now "Interest on Credit Card." "Cell Phone" and "Internet Provider" replace "Electric Company" and "Waterworks." All these changes aim at making Monopoly a more modern game. Otherwise this game is just another Monopoly game, albeit a well ported one.
Past Monopoly video games have suffered slowdowns but this one doesn't. The AI is not the best when it comes to trades. Sometimes they refuse acceptable trades for them that would give them a property they need. Other times they readily accept to give you a property you need for almost nothing. Other than these trading quirks, the AI is decent, although predictable. It will always buy houses/hotels if it can, often to the point of not having enough money in case he lands on your property, which leads him to mortgage his cheapest property. This means if he lands on your high rent property, he could lose two or three properties that you can trade for cheap. Even though the AI is predictable, it can surprise you sometimes with its decisions. There is no online multiplayer, but there is a hot-seat mode where you can play with people sitting around your computer, keeping with the social feeling of board games. Overall a very good Monopoly game that could keep you entertained for a while.
GraphicsThe graphics are not flashy, but it is a board game, so graphics are not a top priority. That being said the tokens that you use are very well animated. There is even a police van that comes to pick up your token if you get sent to jail. A good feature is that most animations can be skipped by clicking on the left mouse button, which significantly speeds up gameplay. The graphics are great without adding anything too flashy that could detract from the game.
SoundThe music is catchy and fits well with the game but can get annoying very quickly as it repeats one track the entire game. I recommend turning off the in-game music and listening to something else after a while. The other sounds are all right, although the police siren can get annoying very quickly. Thankfully you can skip it.
SummaryOverall Monopoly: Here and Now Edition is a good game that you can enjoy for a while, as long as you do not keep the in-game music on. I play it every now and then when I feel like playing Monopoly as it is a good substitute for the board game when you have no one to play with. For multiplayer the board game is better but this is a close second.
Pros• Gameplay very close to the board game
• Animation is very smooth
Cons• Only one track of music during the game, gets annoying quickly
• Trading AI is not very good