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Monopoly comes to the Wii. Although at first this seems a little odd, the ability to save progress, and the additional boards and minigames make this pretty good value for money. The Wii-mote then tries to imbue a little physicality to the experience - but struggles to match the simple joys of rolling a real dice and moving the iconic metal totem yourself.
Strategy games provide experiences that require quick thinking, and forward planning from the gamer. They combine the unfolding tactics of classic games like chess, with more recent board games such as Risk. Usually focusing on a theatre of war context, players enjoy the tactical overview of the battle these games provide.
Monopoly, being the grandfather of turn based strategy games, brings its considerable weight to the genre. This means that the game inherits a finely tuned experience that has been thoroughly play tested and stood the test of time.
Accordingly, the game delivers the tried and tested Monopoly board game. There is the added benefit here that the rules are applied for you, although some households may balk at not being able to play the game 'their way'. There are some settings to adjust the run of play, but these are not as diverse as some odd versions played around the country.
Bidding on properties is one area our family all starts to fall out over. Here though the system is automated to ensure everyone gets the chance to bid. It's a minor point, but certainly one benefit of playing this electronic version.
Although the game is not cheaper that a physical board, it does have the added benefit of including different (unlockable) versions of the main game plus the fact that Wii is one of the >cheap game consoles that you can buy in the market. Additionally there is a quick play version that enables a group to get through a session in around 30 minutes (more on this below) - a lot more manageable than the marathon all night Monopoly events some family's are used to.
Players will be drawn to the game because of the novelty of playing a familiar board game on the Wii. After this has worn off, it may well be the quick play minigames that keep them coming back for more.
Although Monopoly is a game famous (along with Risk) for being able to fill a good five or six hours of an evening, the Wii version sees fit to provide a quicker option for players short on time. This alternative is actually no Monopoly at all - instead we are offered a set of Monopoly themed minigames that use the board and the properties as a scoring system. Although this may sounds a little gimmicky, it actually works quite well - although not as a true alternative to the main game.
The ability to save the game's progress at any point is another great time saver, and means you can return to the game the following evening should time run out.
Young players should find this version of Monopoly easy to play. Not only can they shake the Wii-mote to throw the dice, but they don't have to clamour for a clear view of the board in a crowded sitting room. Everything is crystal clear in the on-screen display. It's not as accessible as Wii Just Dance, but it's still very good.
Intermediate players will appreciate this tidy way to play Monopoly. It also means that progress can be more easily saved when time runs out - no chance of knocking the board over and ruining the game.
Expert gamers may find this a little to pedestrian. Those with more of a strategy game bend though should consider how much modern turn based experiences owe to games such as these. Those experts looking for more of a complex and open ended challenge should consider Carcassonne 360 - another solid board game conversion.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: