Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monopoly iPhone App

Since Monopoly is easily considered an iconic board game, it should come as no surprise that a version has been created for the iPhone. Electronic Arts is behind this app which I bought for a mere $7.99 off from Apple's App Store. Note To Electronic Arts: Yes, E.A., we're all very proud of you for making such a visually pleasing, fun to play version of Monopoly. Feel free to give yourself a pat on the back or a round of applause. But, do we really have to stare at the EA logo for 5 seconds each time we run the app? It's a drag on the overall playing experience. I just want to get in and play the freaking game.

I realize that there are a number of different versions of Monopoly out there. I, myself, have both the Chicago and Star Wars versions of the board game. What I cannot seem to wrap my mind around, however, is that this particular version of the game, known as Monopoly: Here and Now, is such a complete bastardization of the original. Gone are the original tokens such as the dog, the thimble and the race car. They have been replaced by a penguin, an Easter Island head, a taxi cab, etc. They're beautifully animated, sure, and the AI for the computer opponents works well, but something is missing.

Overall, the game plays well and is a lot fun. The graphics are beautiful, the option to set certain "house rules" is a welcome one, and the ability to play over WiFi is awesome. The game difficulty levels are interesting in that, it seems that the harder the difficulty level, the more bad luck I have while playing. On the hardest difficulty setting, I find that I am getting the "Go To Jail!" card more often and end up having to do payouts through the Chance and Community Chest cards more often.

While I really do enjoy playing the game, I find that I keep asking myself "Where is the LOVE"? Even though I've gotten used to the changes in tokens, currency and property names, I still long for the original. While it may be outdated by today's standards, there's just something about it that makes it special. That being said, I do have a few suggestions for the fine folks at EA to improve this game.

  • Add a "Skip Animation" option. No matter how cute the penguin token sliding on its belly to the next place on the board is, I don't want to see it each time it takes it turn. I just want to play the game.
  • The house rules options should include a provision disallowing business transactions while a player is in jail
  • The physics for the animated dice rolling is atrocious. Something needs to be done about it.
  • How about an option to play the original version of the game?

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