When I first heard about Ubisoft’s Monopoly Madness, my first thought was why? Why would you want to buy a Monopoly video game, when you can just play Monopoly. I think I’ve got like two monopoly boards lying around the house that wouldn’t require the use of a PS4.
Monopoly Madness however is not just Monopoly on a screen but rather a Monopoly party game that adapts the board game to a digital medium better than I initially thought. It plays nothing like the board game, you don’t roll a dice, you can move around as you please and overall, it is overall a very different experience.
The Art of Buying Things
Monopoly Madness’ gameplay at its core, is quite similar to its’ board game big brother. You collect money, electricity, and water and use those to win auctions and upgrade properties. Money buys you new properties and water and electricity helo you upgrade it. The more properties you have, the higher chances you have of winning. You can also get a number of power-ups along the way to annoy the other players.
The main actions in the game are sucking up money and resources into your never-ending money bag and blowing it back out. If you are standing next to an unbought property or an opponent’s property, you start the bidding process, spending your money on that property. The more money you blow into that property, the more likely you’ll be the owner of it.
If it’s your own property, you spend Electricity and Water to upgrade the property. If your property is in the bidding process, better put more money into it if you don’t want someone else to take it.
It’s a very simple gameplay loop that even a young child could get the hang of in a matter of minutes. One of the drawbacks to the traditional monopoly game was that there were a lot of rules to remember and the game can take a while to set up and get going. Your average monopoly game would always take around one and a half hours.
This is a more bite-sized version that compresses the core idea to a less complex but more streamlined version, perhaps better suited for our poor attention-deficit gamer brains. In all seriousness, it fits video games as a medium a bit better, bringing the board game to bit-sized hectic chunks that can easily be picked up and played.
Moving in Society
Your character moves on a simple grid, up-down, left-right, diagonally. It can get a little hard to keep track of your character when there are multiple players spread out on screen as the game zooms out on the map to keep everyone on screen. Along the way, there will be random events happening, like heavy rain, causing the road to be slippery or airplanes just flying over non-stop to block your vision.
If you are not in the vicinity of any property you can blow onto an enemy to stun them for a short while. This is pretty useful when you are fighting for the same resources. Just walk up to the guy and blow him, he’ll be stunned and you can take the money.
There are a small number of one-time power-ups you can use, kind of like the one that you get in Mario Kart. Most of the power-ups are fairly useful, like the coffee power-up that causes your opponent to sprint off in a random direction or the bulldozer power-up that allows you to knock down anything in your path, including other people’s upgraded property.
You can’t just go around buying properties whenever you want, however. There’s a countdown before the bidding process is initiated, and when the countdown is done, you have a short time to bid on the properties you want. Anybody can bid on the same building, and of course, the highest bidder wins, and get to keep that building.
The prices of different properties are varied, as there are different tiers of properties in the game as well. Properties will cost more depending on the number of stars they have. I would advise bidding once and only if other people start bidding do you spend even more on it. That way you can save money.
Some properties have ‘set’ effects, where if you acquire all the properties in the set, you have extra bonuses. You can recognize these by the jigsaw puzzle that appears to represent their special status. However, the game doesn’t explain what bonuses you actually get, so it helps…somehow.
I feel like the idea of sets could be expanded upon in terms of giving you new skills to use but there’s nothing really wrong with them, the way they are either.
Monopoly Madness, Modes and Maps
There are 3 different game modes in Monopoly Madness, Story mode, Free-For-All, and Teams. Story mode is local play only but the other two are available to play online.
Story mode allows for four-person local multiplayer, and there are various win conditions for different maps. For some, the condition is getting the most Property Medals wins, while in others the person who acquires all six properties is the winner.
For Free-For-All and Teams, there’s only one condition, which is to be the player who has the most Property Medals at the end of 10 minutes. And after that, there are bonus medals according to different conditions like Most Bidding Lost or whatever similar to Mario Party.
You can customize some aspects of the multiplayer, like match length and Power-up spawn rate, or event timer.
The game’s customization is on the lower end. You can only really choose how fast the game will be, but the map variety is really high. There are 4 major areas that you can choose from, and inside each area, there are five maps for multiplayer mode and seven for Story mode. And different maps have different sizes as well. Some are big and some are small.
Monopoly Madness has a very vibrant modern cartoon aesthetic. It makes it clear that this is a game targeted at families, where children can join in the fun of rampaging in the street and tearing down your parent’s in-game houses. I also like that some of the playable characters are updated versions of the traditional monopoly tokens like the top hat and the Scottish terrier.
It carries a happy vibe and makes the game more relaxing (except when it destroys your friendships and ruins your family).
At The Monopoly of Madness
Monopoly Madness is honestly far more fun than I expected it to be. The four-player capitalist chaos of buying up properties makes it feel almost like a competitive Overcook game with different characters rushing around trying to buy up the whole town.
It is very much a sit-down with friends for a couple of rounds kind of game. It’s also really easy to play, so even if your friends rarely touch video games, they can get into it pretty quickly and have fun together.
The customization of the game is a little too plain. There’s just not much that we can do other than choose how fast the game can end. I wish they had implemented the mechanics from Story mode into the multiplayer modes, like being able to choose different objectives.
Overall, it’s a solid party game, well worth your time if you ever get bored with the board game and need something a bit more fast-paced.
|Cute visual design||Customization is a bit lacking|
|Gameplay is fun and easy to understand||Easy to lose track of your character|
Monopoly Madness is available on PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna.