Rating: ★★½☆☆

Monopoly on the iPad (along with practically every other board game) really is a given. Who the hell wouldn’t want that? We all love board games, but setup, cleanup, little plastic and metal pieces, fake money and cardboard playsets are costly space wasters. Digitize that bad boy and you’ve got a nice game that not only works great with friends, but even alone.

EA Mobile, however, is taking it one step further. They’re remaking games they already made. I kid you not.

Monopoly for the iPad has been out since December 2010, and on the iPhone since November 2009. Hell, the Here & Now: The World Edition has been out on iPhone since last December too, which is already a problem. What the hell is with the huge release gaps between iPhone and iPad titles? Why are the prices different? But most importantly, why do we need two versions of the exact same game?!

I should rephrase. I have three physical Monopoly board games in the house; classic, Shrek 2 (don’t ask, I only found out about it yesterday), and Star Wars Collector’s Edition. Mind you no one’s played Monopoly in the household for at least a decade. Each is vastly different, yet identical. We all know classic. Star Wars features that cast of characters, that theme, those properties, and a completely unique set of chance and community chest cards. Even though it’s the same game, there is a joy in playing the different versions.

Monopoly classic and Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition is not different. There are different characters, properties and cards, and even different dollar values (everything is scaled up to millions of dollars to better match today’s financial system)…but those points are all moot. I’ve played both iPad games and there are stark differences, just not in gameplay.

First, it’s impossible to lose against the AI. In Monopoly HD, I lost every other game and always get frustrated because the supposedly “random” dice rolling isn’t random at all. Opponents either always go around your heavily invested properties, or always land on them. There is no middle ground. The same holds true with Here & Now, but not to the extent that it hurts non-AI players. I played ten games on the hardest difficulty and have yet to lose, following the simple strategy of trying to get at least one property of each color and trading utilities and railroads – or money – for good hotel spots. The AI is so stupid that it just gobbles up any trade for railroad or utility properties, disregarding any future consequences.

Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition is a waste of money. You’re better off with the standard Monopoly HD, which may cheat you but will at least feel like a real game. Get Here & Now for that friend with low self-esteem. Oh, and what the hell makes Montreal the new Boardwalk?










James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.