I have memories as far back at the early 90’s of sitting in the back of the family station wagon, playing Monopoly on an old-school brick GameBoy. Even back then, I tried to exploit the AI in order to make trades and purchases in my favor. Of course, playing against computers never gave you that same smug sense of satisfaction that stomping human players did. Fast-forward almost two decades later, and only the presentation has changed in EA’s rendition of the world’s best-selling board game.
If you’ve played one Monopoly, you’ve played them all. Roll the dice, travel around the board, collect properties, and eventually bankrupt all of your opponents. It’s a tried-and-true formula that has only changed in aesthetics over the years. The iPhone version copies the game board of the newest Monopoly outing, Here and Now: The World Edition. Using the updated monetary system of thousands and millions of dollars, players will travel from Tokyo to Montreal, and everywhere in between, snatching up as many similar properties as possible.
Noticeably the nicest aspect of the iPhone outing is the graphical presentation. Not only are the game board and all of the pieces represented in high-detail 3D models, but the entire game sits on a table in a small virtual furnished room, just to maintain that feel of truly playing a board game. Using standard iPhone swipe techniques, you can zoom all around the board, viewing every space individually. Even the top of the screen shows a pull-down log of everything that has happened in the game, making it easy to keep track of the turn-based action.
As mentioned before, the core gameplay is the same as it always has been. Free Parking collection, double salary when landing on GO and many other various house rules can be changed at your will, fulfilling all types of Monopoly players. Perhaps the nicest addition to this iPhone version is the ability to auto-sell/auto-mortgage property when in a hurry. Hitting this button will intelligently decide what your more useless properties are and automatically mortgage them when you’re in a bind. Not only does this save a tremendous amount of time, but it can help shape you into a more efficient player when switching to a real game board.
In the end, though, it’s Monopoly, and you already know whether or not you like it. The game comes with its own small package of annoyances, like animations that last just a bit too long and watered down (yet mathematically smart) AI. Playing even just a few games by yourself will make you wish you had someone else to challenge. While the title does feature a WiFi mode, it’s only for local gaming, and at that point you might as well just sit down play the real deal. However, if you’re still aching for that mobile Monopoly fix, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more polished version.