You know it’s Christmas when the Monopoly board comes out. Fair play to any family that manages to actually finish a full game of it though; we certainly never managed it. And if your family is as dysfunctional as mine, there is a new version of Monopoly that is short and sweet so you can really get to the arguing quicker. Monopoly Madness takes the basic premise of buying properties up and has created a multiplayer party game that has come out at the perfect time of year. But it holds no responsibility for any family fallouts that may occur as a result of playing this new spin on the age-old classic.
In Monopoly Madness you are still trying to collect as many properties as possible, but rather than being a ‘civilised’ board game it is a chaotic multiplayer game for up to six people. On a surprisingly large amount of varied maps, there will be houses to bid for and purchase. These can then be upgraded by collecting water and electricity from the Electric Company and Water Works buildings.
Players are equipped with some sort of hoover mechanism to suck up money, utilities and chests that spawn on the map. To release these gathered items, you spit them back out onto the building you are upgrading or bidding for. In fact, in order to play Monopoly Madness it takes only three buttons and a thumbstick. Simple to grasp and simple to play – making it a brilliant alternative during the festive weeks.
There is also an online mode should you wish to try and wait for a lobby to fill up. Really though, it is all about local multiplayer here.
Monopoly has always welcomed underhanded tactics to win the game, and Monopoly Madness doubles down on that. Occasionally, Community Chests will randomly spawn on the map, and hoovering these up gives you a power-up to use. There are a lot of varied power-ups to use; the ghost ability will allow you to temporarily phase through objects allowing for quicker navigation and there is another that gives you an instant cash boost.
Then there are the ones to dick over your opponents. You can send a random player to jail, demolish houses, invert controls, temporarily suspend players, or even completely take over another person’s building. There are many more that will delightfully infuriate players.
Monopoly Madness has a number of different ways to play. Local Play features a story mode that is designed for solo players to enjoy. Across the four locations – City, Nightlife, Beach and Cozy Fall – you will take on a variety of unique challenges. Local Play is where you will also find the Free-For-All and Teams matches, that can be tailored to how you suit.
You can create custom games and amend the match length, starting money, bonus medals and the regularity of events and chests. Bonus medals award additional properties at the end of matches and are completely random but have plenty of achievements associated with them. On more than a few times though I have seen leads slip when bonus medals are awarded.
Story Mode can be played in co-op but there are no bonus medals offered upon completion. The unique challenges on offer may help provide some minor new ways to play.
There are objectives that will unlock through natural play and these offer new characters, hats and even levels. The pool of characters to start with are wacky enough; slap a hat on them and they look wackier, with a hint of cuteness. Apparently, they are supposed to be based on classic MONOPOLY pieces throughout the board game’s history. There isn’t one based on my go to piece of the trusty wheelbarrow, however.
One area that Monopoly Madness will be overlooked but shouldn’t be is in the soundtrack. The menu music isn’t so hot but individual level music is really quite enjoyable.
But, after only one game of Monopoly Madness, you would have seen everything this game has to offer. There are numerous levels to choose from, and custom rules as well, but the basic premise is the same. This feels very much like one minigame out of a collection of them, rather than a full release on its own.
And then we get to the price, which is £24.99. Quite frankly, an extortionate amount for a one-trick pony. There is a bundle on the Xbox Store that sees this in with Monopoly Plus, but that will set you back £44.99. At this price, avoid Monopoly Madness at all costs.
Undoubtedly, there is a very fun party game here that takes the Monopoly framework and applies it to a multiplayer game not unlike Overcooked or Moving Out. And it really works at capturing the essence of both formats into an enjoyable fusion. But the real madness in Monopoly Madness is the asking price. Be like Rich Uncle Pennybags and wait for this one to go on sale.
Cause your next family argument with Monopoly Madness from the Xbox Store