I love Monopoly. Out of the classic board games (Scrabble, Battleship, Yahtzee and the like), Monopoly’s my clear favourite by a mile. There’s just something about its cutthroat nature that brings out the evil in people like no other game can. Screwing over somebody who’s down on their luck with lame rolls can be cathartic, especially if they go bankrupt or have to sell off their properties to afford the rental fees! That’s why when Monopoly Madness came out, I jumped at Ubisoft and asked for a review key!
I really didn’t know what I was getting into.
…so what did that mean?
Is Monopoly Madness worth your time and money? Read on and see…
What is Monopoly Madness?
Monopoly Madness is a top down party game developed by Ubisoft for the PC. Nintendo Switch. Playstation and Xbox consoles. It’s both playable in single and multiplayer modes, with the option of enabling AI players to fill in for missing players. You can mix and match human and AI (for a total of 6 players total) so there’s no need to worry if you’re lacking friends or controllers.
Right off the bat…I’m going to warn you.
This isn’t the Monopoly you’re used to. It’s not a video game version of the board game, though they do share similar rules. This is a reworked multiplayer focused party game, sort of like Mario Party, but without the mini-games or rolling of the dice.
Instead, in the game you’re given free reign of the map with your avatar.
You have to run around, collect cash, power and water which randomly spawn or are dripped out by the respective utilities. You then have to use your resources to buy property in the game and powerups to aid you or to block out the other players.
Map awareness is key in the game because properties become available for bidding randomly and then, only for a short time. If you don’t get to them in time to bid, you lose out. If nobody bids, then they straight away become available for purchase. There’s definitely a strategy involved in whether to bid (if so how much) or just to keep others away so you can nab it for purchase at a bargain.
Once you’ve bought a property, you can then use your utilities (power and water supplies) to upgrade them. You can only hold a certain amount of utility supplies at once though, so you can’t just camp the utility drops and then upgrade everything in one go. There’s a strategy involved on when you should be upgrading, buying or hampering other players and finding the right balance is key in hectic multiplayer games.
Properties you own can also be destroyed by Community Chest powerups too, so you can be on top of the heap for a minute and come in dead last in the next. It’s a bit of a crapshoot in this sense because the powerups are all random so there’s really no way to tell if you’re going to be screwed or not.
It adds a random element of luck to the game but not so much that there are always upsets and come from behind wins.
At the end of the time limit, the one with the most properties wins.
Monopoly Madness is as much as game of avarice as it is a game of skill.
Being evil and sabotaging other players (through Community Chest drops) is as much a valid strategy as buying out properties. Greed works to your advantage in the game and the better you are at keeping other people at bay, the better you’ll perform.
Making the most out of the random powerups is key to winning, because you’ll need to constantly adapt your strategy to what power up you have on you. Since Community Chests spawn continuously, it’s always best to use a power up as soon as you can so you can nab a new one AND prevent somebody else from getting it too!
Things won’t always be going your way too! Each map has its own hazards (such as a train crossing that blocks up half the map at a time or bridges that raise and lower) and managing these hazards (as well as randomly changing stage effects) comes down to skill, timing and more than a little luck.
It’s weird that I actually enjoy the game as much as I do.
I was about to give up on it after the first few games because of how different it is from the usual Monopoly experience. If you’re like me, my advise is to let go of your preconceptions. Monopoly Madness isn’t generic Monopoly, it will never be. It’s a party game meant for quick bursts of entertainment to keep the kids (or visitors) occupied.
The game’s not perfect though.
The playable characters are pretty bland and totally not representative of the usual Monopoly game pieces. There are some that are based off the game board pieces (such as the Dog, Shoe and Top Hat) but they’ve been so transmogrified that they don’t seem anything like their original counterparts. Others are totally new for the game.
Unfortunately the art design takes something getting used to. It’s similar to Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, without the whole jellybean thing that game has going for it. It’s a bit too awkward for my taste, which means all the characters aren’t that endearing to me.
There’s also some character customization (with hats) but it’s a bit too shallow for my liking.
A character creator would’ve been much welcome, as would a better, more interesting roster. Ubisoft has a ton of incredibly recognizable franchises at its beck and call, but only a Rabbid makes a cameo as a playable character. Why not cartoonified characters from Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Assassin’s Creed, Beyond Good and Evil, Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell or even Brawlhalla?
Characters are also a bit too bland in that none of them have unique in game abilities. Giving them some unique powers would certainly have livened things up and made each stand out.
The UI (User Interface) too could be much more informative.
It shows you how much money you have on hand at your player icon on the left side of the screen but not how much power or water you have stored. I’d be happily going to upgrade one of my properties only to find out that I’m lacking something. You also can’t easily tell who’s leading so you can target the player!
The Bottom Line.
Monopoly Madness is a weird but enjoyable mix of party game and Monopoly. The board game’s rules are tweaked for a party game setting, which makes for a rather unique experience that’s a jarring departure from the usual. Balancing the need for money and resources, getting to properties to bid on time, upgrading and hampering other players is tricky but extremely satisfying.
Like the board game, there’s no better feeling than screwing somebody out of a great deal.
However, the simplistic graphics and art design (like reminds me a ton of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout) ultimately deals the game a huge disservice. Many will overlook the game simply because it looks like a kid’s game, with uninspired looking characters.
I’d have wished for more customization and characters too (or even a character creator) as the cast is pretty lackluster. It’s cool to have a Rabbid as a playable character, but what about other Ubisoft properties? I wager a cartoonified Sam Fisher, Altair (or any of the Assassins) or The Prince or even Jade or Pey’j would give some much needed star power to the cast, as well as draw in some hardcore Ubisoft fans to try out the game.
Finally, the UI could use a tweak too. It needs to do a better job to give the player all the information one needs at a glance. With a game that requires so much situational awareness as Monopoly Madness, wasted time looking up information can make or break a game!
Not the Monopoly you’re used to but a good (and fun) multiplayer diversion.
- Fun and hectic gameplay.
- Sabotaging other people.
- The power ups.
- Some cool maps.
- Weird art style.
- Not a lot of character customization or recognizable characters.
- UI needs work.