We have all played and enjoyed the good old Monopoly, and finally, it has made its debut on the next logical platform - the Palm OS.
I won't go deep into the background aspect like I usually do with my reviews since, hopefully, everybody knows what Monopoly is (I mean please! The Soviet Union was as communist as they go but even they had a Monopoly knockoff), but rather, I will concentrate on the gameplay as it is on the Palm.
First, a word about the play modes. Up to 4 players can play, with any mixture of humans and computers - and humans can either play on the same device or over IR. Gameplay proceeds on official Monopoly rules (which apparently some people are unaware of: the only FAQ question on Handmark's site pertains to people harrassing them over the game "not playing as expected", to which they, rather too politely, I should say, refer people to the official rules). You can flex some of the rules. Using, the Preferences menu allows you to switch on/off the following:
- Short Game
- Once Around Before Buying
- Infinite Buildings
- Double Bonus Landing on GO
- Pass Instead of Auction
- Even Build Rule
- Pay Rent When Mortgaged
- Free Parking Bonus
Of course, this game is by no means a replacement for a real game of Monopoly with friends or family. If you play against the computer, it's all too easy to cheat, since it doesn't the same preventive power a human does. For instance, you can set Pay Rent When Mortgaged to On, you can buy property and immediately remortgage it to get money to buy more property; sure, it's pefectly legal, but if you were playing with humans, you would either not do that, or not play for very long. Similarly, if you are playing with Auctions set to On, you can easily get property at less that face value if your opponent is low on cash. For instance, since bidding always starts at $1, if you are auctioning off Boardwalk and your opponent only has $30 of cash, you can get it for $31. Again, it's perfectly legal by rules, but a human opponent would never, or at least rarely, let you do that.
On the bright side, the game is fun. Really fun. Really really really fun. So fun that, when the gimpy battery of my Clie NR70 ran out, I opted to kill MP3 and backlight in favour of playing. Thank God for sunny Japanese days that SORTA make the need for backlight less for color Palm devices.
Aside from my couple of gripes about gameplay rules that are really user-dependent, this is really an all-around game, which would keep any gamer entertained for a while. That is, unless they happen to have a color Sony Clie. As I found during my writing of this review, v1.1 of Monopoly supports high-res Clie devices. What does that mean? That means you can literally read the labels on the deeds on the board. The high-res version of Monopoly is simply stunning.
All said, Monopoly for Palm is an excellent game in all respects, and is definitely worth having on your Palm device - especially if it's a high-res Sony Clie, where the game truly shines. The multiplayer features are great, too - with the only problem being, of course, the lack of Palm-bearing opponents.