Monopoly Plus – An Overlooked Simple Pleasure
The number of games available for the Xbox One has already grown so extensive that it’s easy to overlook or lose track of some of the smaller titles. Often available for lower prices or electronic download only, these titles are often simpler arcade games or remastered versions of old classics. They don’t tend to deliver the same big, extensive experiences we now expect from console games, but many of them can be fun to add to your collection. This is the category that Monopoly Plus belongs in, and as we near one year since its release, it’s fitting to highlight the game in retrospect.
Available at the Xbox Marketplace for £11.99, this game is just what it sounds like: a console adaptation of the world’s most popular board game. It’s beautifully rendered in a 3D version of the classic game board, with all the standard player pieces (dog, top hat, etc.) moving about as players take their turns. It also has something of an inherent advantage over the board game in that sorting through cash and cards is incredibly easy with a digital interface. This makes for a smooth experience that almost feels like a streamlined version of the game.
Those features alone, however, aren’t particularly unique given that Monopoly has been adapted into digital forms across multiple branches of gaming. EA has an app devoted to bringing the game to mobile users, and there too the classic setup is presented in satisfying 3D. It’s a pretty straightforward adaptation that will satisfy fans of the game who just want to have a running game going against the A.I. Additionally, Betfair’s roulette section hosts a more inventive take on Monopoly in the form of a roulette game called “Monopoly: Hot Properties.” More casino than board game, it nevertheless presents itself similarly to a Monopoly game board, and it even uses digital Monopoly money in place of ordinary cash or betting chips.
With that in mind, it’s clear that an Xbox One version of Monopoly doesn’t have a whole lot of new features to offer specifically from a gameplay standpoint. There are no action-pakced twists on the regular game, and there are no new rules or formats to enjoy. But where the game does excel to the point of being worth a download, for anyone interested, is in how extensively it captures the experience the way players enjoy it.
As mentioned, games like this are often overlooked. In the case of Monopoly Plus, there isn’t even a notable critics’ consensus as to how the game was received. Player ratings at Metacritic, however, highlight a few of the features that set the game apart. For example, up to six players can play the game together, which is doable but difficult to organise in person. Coupled with online multiplayer capability as well as the option to save games to continue them later, that expands player options quite a bit. Additionally, Monopoly Plus allows players to choose “House Rules” to play with, which enables some popular customisations of the game, such as the method by which taxes and penalties are paid to “Free Parking” to go to whichever player next lands on it.
All things considered, it’s really the most complete video game version of Monopoly that’s ever been released. It can’t quite replicate the feeling of playing the old fashioned way around a table with friends or family, but the online multiplayer option keeps things communal, and the game itself is brought to life pretty spectacularly. It even includes an animated city built around the board and a pop-up jail cell. It won’t top the list of your best Xbox titles, but for its cheap download fee it’s worth picking up.