Being a big Monopoly fan (read: ‘dork’) I was quick to get this application downloaded. Even the Make Your Own Monopoly couldn’t satiate me. As a Monopoly collector (try not to snort whilst laughing please, it’s rather undignified), you’re always after the next best thing in the property world. Having not been too excited about the games that have been released for the PC, I was a little reluctant to get too excited about the Monopoly iPhone app.
Being a game of more than 10mb, it took a little while to download (I had to do it on my computer as it refused to download on my iPhone without a wi-fi connection), so I occupied myself by making tea. And then another one; although this time I found some biscuits too. The download and the transfer was a bit of a faff, but once I had actually managed to get it onto my iPhone, I started her up and was definitely not disappointed.
The game is set in horizontal mode and you’re able to choose from a variety of crazy pewters to play with – my favourite being the sumo wrestler. There is also a penguin, a mask, Russian dolls, a baseball mitt with a ball, a windmill, a football and the ever-loved car. All the pewters have very cute animated actions that they do on the screen as you play the game and as they move around the board. For example, the sumo wrestler runs around the board after he has rolled, whereas the penguin slides around the board on its belly.
Before starting the game, it’s definitely worth taking the tutorial and learning what the buttons do, as there are quite a few. Mr Monopoly Man will take you through this tutorial and will be a complete gent while he does it. There are five different locations you can play the game in and a number of default settings you can choose for each player before you start (quite similar to those you’d probably have set at home to make the game either go quickly or last longer). So, things like how many properties you start with or whether there’s a limit on the number of houses/hotels you can buy. It seems that everyone who’s ever played this game has also set ‘Free Parking’ and ‘Go’ with alternate options too — as you’re able to set these to give you extra cash or not.
You can play the game with up to four players, of which they can be your friends around you (so you ‘pass and play’ with the phone), with the AI on the iPhone or with others with the game on their iPhones over a wi-fi connection. I quite like these options, as you never really know who’s going to be around for you to try to take properties off, so there’s always an option for you to play with the AI if you’re by yourself. Rolling the dice is a special treat as the motion-sensor in the iPhone gets to work and makes it more interactive since you have to shake the phone to roll the dice.
The game has been created quite cleverly and it shows. Scrolling through your properties is done with such ease as is buying hotels/houses. The only real niggle I was able to come across was that you can’t see a corner of a board. Basically, you are able to see each row in its entirety and you are able to zoom in on them, but in order to see what’s around the corner on another row, you must scroll to switch the view to the new row, rather than being able to see two halves of both rows at a 90 degree angle with the corner square in the middle (make sense?).
The nice thing about the game is that when playing the AI player and you’re beating it, it won’t try to swap you things that it’s mortgaged or offer you ridiculous swaps/options that really don’t make any monetary sense (stuff my brother used to try to pull all the time). The computer knows it’s losing and won’t bid for things that it can’t afford — just be sensible enough to notice how much money it has and bid slightly higher than that for the property and you’ll win it. When you do win, though, there’s quite a song and dance about it and it makes you feel pretty smug. I really enjoyed playing this game on the iPhone and Electronic Arts have done well.
Five out of five for the Monopoly iPhone app.