Review – Monopoly
The moment I saw the first Switch trailer, with all those hip young lads using the console at their fancy rooftop parties, I knew for a fact the console would be great for a virtual version of Monopoly. And it didn’t take long for Ubisoft to announce and release the Switch’s own version of the celebrated Hasbro game.
The premise of Monopoly is as old and well-known as the recipe for bread. It’s the ultimate capitalism simulator, buy as many properties as you can afford, while focusing on making on your friends pay rent by landing on your real estate, as well as trying to make them go bankrupt and avoid going to jail by doing so. It’s the same game as always, with a few new additions.
Some interesting new additions include the fact you only need one controller in order to play the game with up to six people, limited motion controls, online gameplay and animated boards. There are also Rabbids-themed boards for all of the franchise’s fans out there, even though Rabbid Peach is nowhere to be seen. A tremendous shame, indeed.
Given the fact there are three different ways you can play Monopoly for the Switch, I decided to test them all and report how fun they were to play, or not.
Playing with friends: Took my Switch to a trip to the beach with friends. During one rainy day with absolutely no chances of going out, we decided to play Monopoly after playing a round of Uno that literally lasted for an hour. Playing Monopoly on the Switch is as great as the real thing, with the added advantage of not needing to set the game up and having to deal with the fake dollar bills. You can still have a lot of banter with friends, as you can ruin their planning by outbidding them when trying to buy property. Adding drinking rules for every time someone stepped on another person’s property, with each player representing a different shot, was also immensely fun. Kids, don’t try to emulate our stupidity!
Playing online: Monopoly isn’t very interesting when playing online. It surely beats playing the game by yourself, but one massive Switch issue arose while I was on an online match: the lack of a decent online chat system. I knew I was playing against humans, given the fact the game was challenging, but the complete lack of a chat, both vocal and written, meant the game felt like a solo outing throughout most of my experience with it. It was a bit fun, but not much.
Playing alone: Wow. What a boring experience. Have you ever seen that GIF featuring Milhouse from The Simpsons playing with a frisbee all by himself? That’s how I felt when playing Monopoly by myself. Poor AI and the lack of banter resulted in one of the most boring experiences I’ve had so far with the Switch. The fact I played Monopoly alone highlighted a lot of the technical issues that plague this version, namely the very poor framerate when playing on an animated board (it runs perfectly on a plain board), the lackluster controller responsiveness and the irritating narration. Do yourself a favor and never play Monopoly by yourself. It’s depressing.
And this was my experience with the Switch version of Monopoly. It’s one of the most polarizing games I’ve ever played. It can either be one of the greatest party games out there if you play with other people in a room (especially if you create some extra drinking rules!), a below average experience if you play it online and one incredibly boring waste of time if you, for some reason, decide to tackle it alone. If you go out a lot and know a lot of open-minded people who are willing to spend some evenings playing an actually entertaining virtual board game, then this is a mandatory purchase, even if it has its fair share of technical issues. If not, then don’t bother. It’s a party game, and no solo party is a proper party, wouldn’t you agree?