Monopoly Here and Now world edition for iPad came as quite a surprise. Mainly this is because of the quality and depth of this game. It’s unlikely that you have never had any experience with Monopoly, but to sum it up the name says it all, your objective is to have a Monopoly of properties on the board in order to extract rent from other players and put them out of business. There are three main assets which are locations, transportation and power sources. Get a group of locations of the same color and they combine in rent when a player lands on them. Add value to the locations by adding houses and hotels which can dramatically increase the rent.
When the iPad app loads, you are given a whole host of options before you can begin to play. Start by choosing your mode. Play with up to 4 separate players, playing in turn on the same iPad or connect over WiFi locally unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to test this. You start by choosing from the range of playing pieces, unlike the traditional boot, race car etc, the options here have a more nationalistic flavour. Your left to your imagination to generalise as to which country or area is represented by what playing piece. With baseball gloves London Cabs, Sumo wrestlers and bizarrely Penguins to choose from (and more) you make your own decision. The Ai mode is the iPad and there can be up to three Ai players on your board. You have the options changing the difficulty by 4 degrees from very easy to hard and also a nice feature called slight of hand, giving you an ability to have a set amount of cheating per game. Finally you have some less fundamental game options which are the playing surroundings under environment and the game rules. The rules can just be left as standard but it’s worth taking a look if you want to change some fundarmental principals like trading of locations.
Once Monopoly for iPad is setup click “play” and your in to the game. Your first roll can be taken by either click on the dice (the boring way) or by holding your finger on the dice and shaking them around violently which I prefer although you don’t have to worry about throwing them off the table. Once the dice have landed and you have the score you’re chosen playing piece will move in animated way to the correct board square. the Penguin for example jumps on its belly and slides along. When you stop moving and even if you purchase a property this won’t be the end of your turn since you then have the option to manage your locations adding houses etc.
As the game evolves you will find you can start trading locations, and also bidding on locations when you and the other player/s can’t afford to purchase it. Trading can be quite useful in getting a group of locations together to get more rent and you have a host of options available, including transferring other locations using get out of jail free cards and cash and this is where the game gets more strategic. Also each asset has a mortgage value for when you are really broke, essentially if another player lands on a mortgaged asset then you don’t get rent until the asset is paid off.
The only feature i don’t like is the community chests need to justify every card it gives with a fairly trivial fact. These fact cards give information about where Karaoke was first originated as an example, which had no benefit to the game. the game speed could also have more pace but then again it’s all about strategy over speed, the goal is to win so it seems fair.
In summary this game is one of the best free multiplayer games on the iPad. It’s got some of the sharpest graphics and a lot of time and effort has gone in to make the usability just right. The amount of options for game play mean you can set up a wide variety of game styles without making it to complicated of confusing. This is a quality product and well worth downloading.