When I heard the Monopoly license was going to be used for a 3D game, I first assumed that it was yet another remake of the classic board game. I started looking at it a little more and then saw the game allowed you to build stores, so I assumed, oh so it’s going to be a nice little modification of the board game to give the kiddies a simple sim of business in process… well we all know what happens when you assume things.
Monopoly Tycoon is first and foremost, not a spruced up version of the board game, nor is it a “kiddie” intro to business sim. This is a full-fledged, relatively detailed business simulation, loosely based on the popular board game. So lets first get our expectations in the right place!
When I first loaded up the game, I was impressed by the full 3D graphics, complete with buildings, cars, boats, industries, and of course the ever-so-important people. I immediately went to go hop into a game (see above for what my expectations were) and was promptly at a loss for how to play. Where’s the dice to roll? Why’s my opponent buying up everything? Why can’t I make any money?! What was I to do? Oh… go through the tutorial.
With my newfound knowledge of the game, I brazenly turned back to the game with a whole new perspective. The campaign starts you out easy, no competition and relatively easy goals, but moves quickly into more advanced scenarios with competition and particular goals.
The game itself is very well thought out. The layout and gameplay is simplified so that navigating the city and getting information is easy to do. The main screen allows you to view important data as to where people are, what people in each area are interested in and what would be good choices of business, and the values of properties of businesses in each of the areas. You can go to the 3D city view and view individual blocks and build businesses. Like many 3D strategy games, the camera is relatively easy to manipulate and gets you where you need to be.
Monopoly Tycoon gets its foundations set by utilizing the well-known ideas of “city blocks” used in Monopoly to create an interesting way to build up businesses along with leasing and renting property. It incorporates all the properties found in the board game as well as adding an additional block set. Like the board game, the railroads and utilities (expanded to include more) are also included as well as new properties like schools, museums, a marina, and a zoo. The idea of owning all of the same colored blocks still applies here. With a monopoly, you get to generate a large cash flow from rental of all the properties.
The multiplayer is also quite fun. Same basic game as the single player, except now, of course, you’re playing against friends or strangers from all over. It has GameSpy support as well as your normal methods, making it easy to find a game. The default game objectives for multiplayer are set too low, making the games too short, but it's easily adjustable.
Even if this game didn’t have the license help, it would be a very good business sim. It’s the first 3D business sim I’ve ever seen and not only does this generate a good looking game, it is easily playable. While it’s not for younger children, like I naively expected, it is a fulfilling and entertaining game. A good bit of fun and strategic planning built into a solid and fluid backbone.