Game Title: Monopoly for Nintendo Switch
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital Download
Battery Life: 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Download: 3.6 GB
There’s a kind of charm to playing board games in electronic form. For overly complex board games, it is the simplicity of it all, plus you don’t have to worry about picking up hundreds of game pieces that inevitably find their way underneath your couch. For Monopoly, though, it’s so players can’t cheat. In all the years I’ve played Monopoly, the only times I’ve played with friends and family where no one cheated was in video game form that keeps them from cheating.
But, Monopoly on game consoles is a lot more than that. Monopoly PSP was my most visited go-to game when I was bored and wanted something slow and casual to play. Ever since Monopoly was announced for the Switch, my love for Monopoly was heightened, once again.
Now that it’s here, let’s get right to it. Here is my review of Monopoly for the Nintendo Switch!
Due to this game having no story, this section shall remain blank.
Monopoly is a pretty simple board game. You take turns moving around the board and invest in properties by purchasing them and financing houses and hotels on them. Each time you land on owned property you pay taxes to that player, and keep this going until all but 1 player ends up with no money and that person has now created a Monopoly out of all of the board/city’s locations.
Monopoly for Switch will be very familiar to people who have played the board game on the PlayStation 4. When you start a game, you can set custom rules and choose between 3 “Living Boards”, which are fully-3D boards that bring the game to life. There are also 2 classic, flat boards to choose from, the original Monopoly board and the Rabbids Monopoly board that came as DLC for Monopoly Plus on PS3 and PS4.
With comparisons, it does have more boards to choose from than in Monopoly Plus, though things come into bigger comparisons when you bring the Monopoly Fun Pack into play, which are still available for the PS4 and Xbox One. Those games had extra playing modes, like My Monopoly and Casino Boards that added a lot of different ways to play, not to mention special figure packs, like being able to use characters like Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic rather than the default pieces.
Now, comparisons aside, you can jump into a game by yourself with AI or you can make a multiplayer game with up to 6 players on a single Nintendo Switch system, which is quite a lot. Each player can use a full controller or a single Joy-Con. And if Local Multiplayer is not your thing, the game also has options for Online Multiplayer games. This lets the multiplayer experience be the most versatile and multiplayer-friendly version of Monopoly on any handheld. For comparison, the PSP version could only use one system and you had to toss the handheld from person to person as you played.
Now, playing Monopoly is simple enough, but just playing Monopoly does little to add longevity to the game. For this, there are built-in Objectives that let you perform various actions to unlock new Pieces you can use. Some of these objectives are as simple as landing on the “Go” tile, or as complex as passing an entire side of the board on a single dice roll. Either way, they do add a bit to the single player experience if you don’t have friends to play with you, since all boards are unlocked from the get-go.
Now, what kind of time-frame are we looking at? That’s very difficult to answer. A single game of Monopoly could potentially take literal hours to complete, especially if you play on the Living Boards, where animations each turn are significantly longer than on classic boards. But if you’re extremely lucky, you could potentially unlock all Objectives in 3 runs, but that’s completely based on luck. Odds are it will take much longer than that.
The bigger thing in mind is “Is it worth the price?” and that’s something we do need to make a note of. Monopoly for the Nintendo Switch costs $40, while the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Monopoly Fun Pack are half that price. That’s something you have to think on. On one hand, it’s handheld console-tier Monopoly. On another hand, it doesn’t have as much content as Fun Pack, which is cheaper.
Controlling the game is pretty simple, since there aren’t many controls to go through. Pro Controller, Single Joy-Con, or Double Joy-Con, it is a very simple game to play.
Moving around the menus is done with the Arrow Buttons / D-Pad and Left Analog Stick. Then you can choose menu options with A and cancel them with B. Finally, you’ve got X you can use on your turn to manage your property, and there isn’t much else to the control system. Monopoly is an extremely simple game and a simple control scheme to go with it.
Visually, the game looks very pleasing. The 3D Living Boards look very likely, and all of the models are very crisp and smooth. The music that is built-in also helps with that “casual” feel as you play through each game, letting this game be kind of a “rest” game.
Now, performance was talked about a lot when this game launched. There were tons of people claiming the game had Load Times 10-20 minutes and beyond. At launch, this was divided. Some people had normal Load Times, and some people had long ones. With most of the problem situations, restarting your Switch would resolve this issue. However, Ubisoft has since released a Patch for the game that permanently fixes this issue. So, if you run into this problem, try updating the software and you should be able to grab that patch.
As far as the rest of performance, everything is good. FPS stays nice and smooth through all of the animations and I’ve seen no bugs or freezing/crashing across the game while I’ve played. That Load Times issue aside, there’s a nice bit of optimization done here.
I feel that Battery Life is very important for a game like Monopoly. While you can save at any turn you want, Monopoly is known for being a very long game. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%:
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 36 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 46 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 11 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 28 minutes
This isn’t as good as I was hoping for, but it’s average for a Switch game. You’ll get about 2.5 – 3.5 hours per charge. That’s enough to do a couple long games.
In conclusion, Monopoly for the Nintendo Switch is definitely the best handheld Monopoly to date. Although the Load Time issue has been fixed, the less-than-expected Battery Life and the fact that it has less content than Monopoly Fun Pack and is over twice the price makes me lean towards suggesting you wait for a price drop, unless you really love Monopoly and want it on the go.