Monopoly is a board game that millions have been enjoying (and angrily flipping off of the table) for decades. This release is a modern celebration of Monopoly that fans will enjoy yet it fails to live up to its promises.
One issue needs to be addressed before we continue. Monopoly Family Fun Pack claims to be a compilation of three games. It is not. It contains a classic Monopoly experience (Monopoly Plus) and a card game (Monopoly Deal). My Monopoly is not a game as it is simply a bare-bones board editor that most players will probably shake their heads at (more about this later). Also, the title would make you believe that this is a compilation of "Family Fun" games. This is also untrue as the only game that a family can enjoy together locally is Monopoly Plus. Monopoly Deal is online-only so families can't even play it together (unless they meet up online, I guess). Another poorly implemented decision is the fact that only one local player can play Monopoly Plus online. For a game with "Family Fun" in the title, this is certainly one of the most underhandedly advertised games on the market. Now that that's out of the way, let's continue.
Monopoly Family Fun Pack looks great. Everything appears alive with bright colours and delightful animations. When you play with a "Living Board", the game board becomes enveloped by a bustling city with area-appropriate features. Poorer neighbourhoods look shoddy while more upscale neighbourhoods are elaborately posh. Game tokens each have their own personality as they move around the board and accumulate wealth. Rolling the dice is a joy when you see them stumble over the board and knock over playing pieces. The music is funky and will have you tapping your toes as you play. Sound effects complement every event suitably as you hear applause and sighs of disappointment from an unseen audience, cash registers clanging, and menus whizzing by. The narrator also accompanies events with appropriate one-liners and never gets annoying. Overall, it's a well presented package that makes the game of Monopoly come alive.
The main mode that everyone will purchase this package for is Monopoly Plus. It can be played either online or locally although only one local player can play online. You can play on the "Living Board", "Classic Board", DLC boards, or a board made in My Monopoly. It would have been nice to see more varieties of boards to mix up the visual style, but they do serve their purpose well. You can select from eight different rule sets which only vary slightly from each other. This is a significant disappointment as previous installments allowed players to fully customize the rules. That being said, it is a welcome inclusion that helps to diversify the experience albeit only slightly.
Next on the agenda is My Monopoly which allows players to create their own boards. This feature is extremely limiting as you can only place pre-defined stickers (that look like clip art) on spaces and type titles for them. Why can't I import my own pictures? The only other thing you can do is place objects in the center of the board. The game already does a good job of providing a living city. Why would I want to do it myself? It seems very counterproductive and it doesn't make sense how this feature is advertised as a separate game since it's just a lame board editor that children with a methylphenidate prescription wouldn't even enjoy.
Finally, there's Monopoly Deal which is an online-only card game. If you want to play it locally, then you may as well buy the actual card game. Anyway, it's an interesting take on the Monopoly formula. Players are dealt cards that they use to erect properties, put money in the bank, charge rent, steal properties, etc. The goal is to obtain three complete sets of properties. You will develop your own strategy over time and it's rewarding to get to the point where you can win easily. Some luck is involved but strategists will always have the upper-hand. This mode is a pretty cool addition to the package. However, keep in mind that it is online-only.
The most annoying event that will happen frequently when playing online in Monopoly Family Fun Pack is when a host player quits an online game. When this happens, the game ends and that's it. There's nothing more frustrating than playing an online game with six players for over an hour only to have the host land on Boardwalk with a hotel on it and quit in a fit of rage. It's the modern equivalent of flipping the game board over. Therefore, either host games yourself (promise me and the entire Monopoly community that you won't quit), or play with a trusted host. They could have remedied this by either replacing players with computer-controlled players or automatically have them declare bankruptcy upon quitting. There's no acceptable explanation for why the game has to end.
Although Monopoly Family Fun Pack is a very limited and deceptive experience, it can be a lot of fun. Fans of Monopoly will enjoy playing the two games online and playing classic Monopoly locally with its lively atmosphere and tried-and-true gameplay.
- + Classic Monopoly fun coupled with a pretty interesting online card game
- + Great animations and colourful visuals
- + Toe-tapping soundtrack
- - Misleading title and packaging
- - You can't comprehensively edit the rules
- - Online matches end when the host quits and additional local players can't join in online