Monopoly Family Fun Pack review for Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: ASOBO
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1-6
Online: Yes

In theory, Monopoly should be a pretty hard game to screw up. I mean, I know there are people out there who hate the board game, but it’s still been around for about eighty years. By now, I’d think that what works and what doesn’t has been all figured out, more or less.

Judging from the Monopoly Family Fun Pack, however, it seems I’m sorely mistaken. You can, in fact, make Monopoly almost unplayable by taking only a few simple steps.

Monopoly Family Fun Pack 2

The first one is simple, really: just add in a “quick die” option that makes roll of the dice — something that shouldn’t be any more difficult that moving forward anywhere between two and twelve spaces — an exercise in total randomness. Roll a six, send a player all the way around the board! Five actually means eight, except when it means twelve or eighteen! Left is right, up is down, don’t explain what anything means, and sit back and watch as a beloved old board game suddenly becomes impossible to understand.

That’s not all you can do to ruin Monopoly, of course. You can make it possible to change some house rules, like players getting extra cash for landing on Go or Free Parking…but you only let them change one rule at a time, because why would anyone ever want to change more than that in a single game? Also, you can make it so that the “quick” option doesn’t really make the game any quicker, because if you’re going to play Monopoly, then you’re only doing so because you have at least an hour to kill, right?

One of the key things you have to do in ruining Monopoly, though, has to do with the game’s fairness. Specifically: don’t make the game fair, because obviously people hate that. It doesn’t matter if people are playing the traditiona way or the quick/incomprehensible way, it’s obvious that everyone much prefers games where the AI players are unbeatable, even on the very easiest difficulty levels. Oh, and don’t listen to anyone who complains that the AI will always get lucky rolls and have every break seem to go the computer’s way. That’s just loser talk.

Monopoly Family Fun Pack 1

If you’ve done all this stuff, then you’ve obviously poisoned the well as far as old-school monopoly goes, but what if people bypass the traditional board game and opt for Monopoly Deal instead? What then?

That’s obviously harder to screw up, but the makers of the Monopoly Family Fun Pack certainly try their hardest. First off, they don’t actually include the game on-disc, but rather hide it behind the Hasbro Game Channel, which you need to download and install before you can then download and install Monopoly Deal, too. Just in case that’s too simple, though, they also include a “Buy” button, so that even though it’s free, you still have to hover over it for a moment, debating whether you want to find out if they’ll charge you again for a game that’s listed on the box. (They don’t, but it’s not exactly encouraging.) Get over that, and you’ll discover that they’ve made the game online multiplayer only, because who ever heard of a card game having AI? And to top it all off, online seems to be pretty dead, which means that the game only really exists if you’re lucky.

It truly boggles my mind that anyone could screw up something as simple as Monopoly so thoroughly. As I said at the beginning of this review, it’s a pretty simple game, and a big part of why it’s lasted so long is that they haven’t tried to fundamentally alter something so intuitive and easy to pick up. The Monopoly Family Fun Pack shows what happens, apparently, when you mess with success — and really, it’s not pretty.

Grade: C-

Monopoly Family Fun Pack – Xbox One Standard Edition (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Ubisoft
ESRB Rating: 

New From: $19.85 In Stock
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