Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

It’s ironic, Monopoly. A game originally designed by an economist to show the dangers of having a monopoly caught on and became a family-favourite board game. We all have our own little quirks: like doing anything to get the stations or always being the dog. Now, you can have it on-the-go wherever you go, with EA’s Monopoly for iPad.

A year after the Monopoly for iPhone version was released, not much has changed, but the full use of the iPad’s 9.5″ display makes it feel as close to the real thing as you’ll get. The board is the original UK (or US) version, featuring Old Kent Road to Mayfair (or Mediterranean to Boardwalk, in the US version), but to make the game more global-friendly the currency is a fictional “M” (presumably standing for Money) as opposed to GBP (or the US dollar). All the usual bits and pieces are the original: from house design to property colours to prices.

It’s evident right from the get-go that EA have focused on graphics as much as gameplay, with a myriad of graphics and animations (which can be turned off) amusing you as you go along, from the ship sailing to the next property to the dog running forwards with a bell on its collar. Even the dice require a flick of the finger to roll rather than a single tap.

Gameplay is what you’d expect it to be: try and get a monopoly, in order to build houses and eventually hotels, thus gaining your competitor’s cash whenever they land on your property, eventually making them bankrupt. There is a trading facility built in, allowing you to swap properties and cash with any other players in order to advance your position. Unfortunately, for the more competitive of us, tradable items like immunity and insurance (it’s not just my family that does this – right?) are not to be found.

Up to four players can play, with AI built in, and the AI’s difficulty can be tuned between four options: very easy, easy, medium and hard. EA have also implemented five different environments (backgrounds) to play in, and the house rules of each game can be adjusted to suit your playing style. For example, the allowance of auctions or what happens whenever you land on Free Parking (I’m in favour of the Taxes-Only option myself).

EA has included ‘Teacher Mode’, a tutorial to help you get started, and ‘Tabletop Mode’, allowing local-play mode where you don’t have to pass the iPad around, but instead it auto-rotates to the next player. Most conveniently, Local Network Play exists, over both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. In personal testing, even Bluetooth mode proved surprisingly stable when two iPads were more than 20ft away with a few walls in between. Unfortunately, there are no online servers where players can congregate together, and Game Center integration is currently non-existent.

In concluding, Monopoly for iPad is classic EA. The focus is on graphics as much as it is on gameplay, making it great fun to play. You can have your own music playing in the background and play with other people or with the AI. Games can be saved and continued later, even on Local Network play, meaning you don’t have to finish a game in a single sitting – which can usually take quite a while! It’s a game that provides hours of fun on a device that is built as much for fun as it is for productivity. Recommended.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, Reviews

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