Monopoly review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Engine Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

What’s there to say about arguably the most famous and popular board game of all time? Monopoly is a game that I’m sure everyone owns in some form, whether it’s the classic version or any of the hundreds of licensed versions that you can find for almost everything. But being the most famous board game is not enough, game developers for over twenty years have been crafting digital versions of the board game. I remember in the 90’s playing Star Wars Monopoly on CD-ROM for my computer. 3D animated tokens moving along a board filled with Star Wars themed properties and sound effects, I really dug it. The problem with these Monopoly releases is that this, like most board games, are a social experience and meant to be played with many players, not to mention they seem to work better with a physical board. Here we are in 2017 and it’s time for another Monopoly video game, this time on the year’s most (surprisingly) popular console and most local multiplayer friendly console.

Everyone knows the game of Monopoly clearly, so I’m not going to waste any time discussing that. Monopoly for Switch is exactly what you should expect for fans of the board game. There’s a few options as far as themes for the board; amusement park, haunted house and classic. While these themes work for added replay-ability, why aren’t there any licensed boards? The animated living boards are nice but they just left me wanting more, and reminiscing about the Star Wars Monopoly from years ago made me question the exclusion of licensed boards more. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect Star Wars since I’m sure that’s a pricey royalty to pay, but they could have went for a Mario themed board, especially since Ubisoft is already in bed with Nintendo from Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.

Forget about different licensed boards, who really wants that, especially when you can have over a dozen different tokens to use (end sarcasm). Monopoly sports many of the classic tokens along with some new ones (my personal favorite is the t-rex). These aren’t all unlocked immediately, so you have a list of objectives to complete to unlock these tokens… how exciting? (Ok, really end of sarcasm now). Moving passed all the tokens and boards, the real reason to pick up a board game like Monopoly is to play with friends, and that is where this really works on the Switch. You can play Monopoly in docked, undocked and possibly the best way on the go with joy cons in table top mode. Taking the Switch with you is a huge selling point and having Monopoly in your library is a cool option for some multiplayer fun on a plane, in a car, on a trip, and much more. For those situations this game is perfect, if you can deal with some gameplay shortcomings.

Something that really annoyed me in playing both solo and multiplayer is the waiting time. You must wait out the pop up saying whose turn it is before you can roll the dice or watch the AI roll the dice. This lasts about five seconds and annoyingly isn’t advance-able with any button presses. Speaking of the AI, there’s no way to fast forward through their turns, which I feel like is something that has been added to board game video game releases years ago. Games take way too long due to these problems, and just seem to drag on. There are some rule customization options to move the game along faster, but they still don’t help with my gripes. Having said all that, these are issues that in theory should be able to be patched in a future update, but why wasn’t this addressed prior to launch?

Overall Monopoly for the Switch does the job it advertises to do, like Monopoly for many previous consoles. The difference is, with this console you can take on the go and play multiplayer without needing to carry around the board game and all its pieces. Is it perfect? Definitely not. Especially with my gripes that I mentioned earlier, but if you want Monopoly on the go the game isn’t breaking the mold but it gets the job done. The $40 retail price point is a bit questionable, but I have already seen it on sale in the past few weeks for around $20, which is where I say this game should have been priced and shouldn’t be grabbed for anything more.

Note: Ubisoft provided us with a Monopoly Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C