Monopoly Family Fun Pack Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4Also available on Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox One
2014 has not been very good to Ubisoft. Watch Dogs failed to live up to the hype, Assassin’s Creed: Unity was a technical mess at launch, and The Crew released with major online connection problems, which meant players couldn’t actually form a crew. Despite luck not being on their side, surely Ubisoft couldn’t mess up another release? Monopoly Family Fun Pack proves us wrong, a game that feels like a badly marketed cash grab with very basic game modes and little sense of family fun.
There’s one thing we need to get out of the way first, Ubisoft markets Monopoly Family Fun Pack as a bundle of three games: Monopoly Plus, My Monopoly and Monopoly Deal. However, there aren’t actually three games in this package. Monopoly Plus and Monopoly Deal are both game modes, but My Monopoly is a throwaway board editor that is anything but a selling point for a game. This feels like a cheap marketing ploy designed to make the package seem like a better deal than it really is. And when players do discover how truly insignificant the board editor is, they’ll feel like a victim of daylight robbery.
One other glaring problem with the game is its lack of local multiplayer across the two modes. For saying the game includes the words “Family Fun” in its title, families will be hard pressed to find much here they can all actually enjoy together. Monopoly Plus is the only mode that can be played locally, with Monopoly Deal being an online only game. Seeing as Monopoly Deal can be played with multiple people, we’re really quite confused why this mode wasn’t available to be played locally as well.
Monopoly Plus is clearly the biggest selling point of this compilation as it allows players to play a classic game of Monopoly, as well as a new version which features a living and breathing city within the middle of the board. This mode has three different boards: the living board, a classic board and a Rabbids board…and that’s it. Monopoly Streets, a game released in 2010 had nine different boards to play on, so why so few here in this release four years later? If anything, Monopoly Plus is a step back from what fans of Monopoly are used to. The animated city within the living board does a good job of bringing Monopoly to life, but it cannot make up for the complete lack of extra boards to play on.
As we previously mentioned, My Monopoly is a bit of a joke. The mode describes itself as giving you the ability to “create your own Monopoly board” by changing the board’s track and centre, but the editing tools you’re given are far too basic and simple. For the board’s track, the game lets you edit any tile’s name and picture, but that’s it. You cannot change the monetary value of any tile, or move any community chest or chance tiles to where you see fit. Not to mention the pictures you can edit onto tiles look like clipart. The centre editor is slightly better, giving you access to over fifty different pieces to place within a certain area to create your own Monopoly cityscape. Your final creation can be saved and then used in Monopoly Plus, but it all just feels a little useless when the living board that comes with the game already does a good job of bringing Monopoly to life. It doesn’t feel like you’re actually creating your own Monopoly board, it just feels like you're making some minor tweaks to the classic board we all recognise.
The final piece to this bundle is Monopoly Deal, an online only mode that tasks players with collecting three full property sets of different colours, and this is done by picking cards up off a deck and forming a set of two to three cards that all use the same colour. The game is easy enough to understand and play after a few tries, but the difficulty comes in actually getting the chance to have those tries. Due to the mode’s online nature, if the host leaves then the game ends automatically. There is no host migration or anything to save the game you’re in; all the time you’ve just invested has gone down the drain. It feels like the gaming version of getting up and flipping over the board when you’ve lost in a real life game, and it’s completely unfair on the other participating players. But what makes this even worse is how often it happens, so much so that we weren’t actually able to complete a full online match throughout our entire time with the game.
While this package does have so many problems, we were able to find some fun in just playing pure Monopoly within Monopoly Plus. It can’t recreate the fun and tense nature of a game around the physical board, but it still serves as a good stop-gap for people who either can’t be bothered to set up or don’t own the board game.
It’s impossible to recommend Monopoly Family Fun Pack to anyone but the most hardcore of Monopoly fans who are looking for something more than just the physical board game. After Monopoly Streets released with triple the amount of boards in 2010, it is clear that Monopoly Plus is severely lacking in content. My Monopoly is a completely useless addition that serves no purpose but to artificially boost the amount of playable boards on offer by using its pathetic editing tools to make tiny adjustments to the classic board. And finally, Monopoly Deal is a perfectly okay game mode that offers an alternative to the classic game, but its online issues meant we could find very little fun in it. Monopoly Family Fun Pack has been poorly marketed, poorly targeted and poorly executed, to the point where we’re not entirely sure why this package exists. You can find fun on the classic board in Monopoly Plus, but at that point it just seems better to be playing on the physical game board.