Yoshi Finally Won – A MONOPOLY GAMER Review

There are, at this point in time, probably hundreds of versions of Monopoly. There’s a new edition for every successful franchise almost, even some Universities have their own editions! So upon finding this 2017 love child between Nintendo and Hasbro in a shop last year, I was pretty intrigued with MONOPOLY GAMER from the get go, because, come on its Mario and there’s a second dice with graphics. Needless to say once I opened it I was both intrigued and confused.

Looking at the game at first glance, the board is already a bit different to your general monopoly. And honestly looking at the instructions was, well, a lot, so we decided we’d learn by doing.

Contents

My corner wasn’t very organised at first

Firstly, the game works on a coins and points system, as opposed to your usual monopoly money. You use the coins to buy properties and collect the coins by rolling the new dice, picking up coins the other players drop courtesy of each character’s unique abilities and some new board squares, and passing Go. However, passing Go also triggers the next new feature of this game, Boss battles.

The Boss battles come about when you pass Go, and you flip over one of the cards, revealing a boss – the first card I turned over was Bowser, go figure – then you make a choice whether to spend your coins on the battle or let it pass. Each boss has a ‘toll’ that you pay if you want to have a shot at beating the boss, which you do by rolling higher than the number on the card, and you get whatever coins have built up as well as whatever reward the card specifies, which is unique to each card. The game ends when the final boss card is turned over and defeated. The boss battles were a fun edition to the game, and each boss you defeated had a points value, like the properties, which you collected in order to win. Monopoly has steadily become such a home-ruled game that I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has opened a rule-book for it, so having an ending besides just ‘everybody goes bankrupt’ was a good feeling, and the winning at the end felt earned.

That was a great part about this edition of monopoly, everything felt earned. It is, in essence, a game of chance, dependant on dice rolls, but every roll achieved something. Even if it was just making another player drop their coins, something was always happening – which is wonderful in a game where you’re usually just rolling a dice and walking around a board hoping you don’t land on an owned property. You still hope that, but now you have to be careful of other things on the board as well, such as the formerly mentioned, character abilities.

One friend that played with me thought these abilities were overpowered, but you each had one, so it kind of balanced out. If you landed on the star square, your character had a special ability that was activated. They all involved coins in one way or another, my friend played as Peach and her ability was that she collected rent from the bank on all her properties, she landed on that a few times. I only landed on the star once, toward the end of the game, and Yoshi’s ability was to collect any dropped coins on the board – arguably the best time to land on the star, as everyone had dropped coins. The abilities were fun, but it was a huge luck of the draw as to whether they ever even got used. It’s a dice game, so luck is always going to be a key feature, but it did just feel a bit jammed in alongside all of the other mechanics.

Princess Peach

You can’t fault the quality and design of every part of the game

Overall, the game was enjoyable, and after a hazy start, easy to pick up. my friend had never played monopoly before so introducing her to the ordinary version after this will definitely be interesting. She picked this one up easily, and immediately got into the competitiveness of monopoly. The game constantly has things happening to keep the competition running, to keep that competitive spirit. The original monopoly games have a habit of, when you start to run out of money that’s the end of you, but this version keeps you in the game. The amount of coins that you have can fluctuate from round to round so there’s never a dull moment.

I would recommend picking this game up if you get chance, it’s a great twist on a classic game, that can be a little overwhelming at first glance but stick it out and it’s a lot of fun – we recommend playing Mario soundtracks in the background for maximum immersion. It kind of felt like a game of Mario kart but, you know, with capitalism and such. Also, I finished first and didn’t get a blue shell hitting me so, that’s a perk! Check this game out! It’s a few years old now but still stands up, and now Mario Kart Monopoly has hit stores as well… uh oh, maybe I’ll be getting hit with that blue shell after all…

 

Throwback Gaming

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a throwback for me. I’ve been playing the Kingdom Hearts series, in chronological order for some reason, and then I ended up digging out my Mega-Drive and Master System, just to relive my gaming childhood just that little bit more. Going down memory lane in my own games, made me curious about a few things, such as where my friends, who class themselves as gamers, would say their obsessions began. It led to some interesting discussions.

There were some games that cropped up in a few peoples’ answers. A few people said Pokémon, which honestly, I was one of, it was one of the first games I remember playing. It was also one of a few games mentioned where the franchise is still going strong. Pokémon cropped up in our lives back in 1996, and it’s been a staple of games ever since, still cranking out new games, shows and films today. Pokémon was a game I used to play with my brother and sister, and until my brother moved away, he used to buy me a copy of a new game whenever it came out. My friend reminded me, when answering this question, that my sister was the person who got him into gaming through selling him Pokémon Red for £5 back when we were kids. My dad is the only other person who remembers this.

pokemon-red-screenshot-680x3921

Another game mentioned a couple of times was Legend of Zelda. One friend told me that Ocarina of Time was a huge part of his life, while another girl told me via twitter that Wind Waker was a huge thing for her, it was the first game she properly ‘experienced’ for herself. The big franchises certainly ingrained themselves into a lot of lives, which accounts for them being big franchises. I had never played a Legend of Zelda game until I was about twelve, when a friend of mine acquired Twilight Princess a few years after it’s initial release on the Wii, and I remember enjoying it, if not understanding what all the hype was about. Since then I’ve played a few of them and bought a Nintendo Switch so I could play Breath of the Wild, needless to say I get the hype now.

One woman I asked told me that while Sonic on the Mega-Drive was her first game, the Tomb Raider games were the first that gave her the drive to finish games, however she didn’t consider herself a gamer until her 30s. Another friend gave me an itinerary, Kingdom Hearts at ten(represent!), then an XBOX 360 at 18, when they played Dragon Age Origins and Elder Scrolls Oblivion. Franchises like the ones mentioned above evolved with us and are a huge part of my friends who call themselves gamers today. Final Fantasy and Dragon Age are a huge part of me, and of a lot of other gamers as well I expect.

A couple of friends, one was the same one who mentioned Wind Waker, said a huge factor of their gaming lives was Halo. The first friend played the first mission of Halo a few hundred times, according to him at least, and the other said Halo 3 made him call himself a gamer due to being part of an online community of gamers. Communities have become a huge part of gaming. The same friend who loved the online community of Halo went on to pull all nighters on League of Legends, and used to play Minecraft at stupid-o’clock at night with me and some other friends. Overwatch for instance was how I bonded with my housemates at University, we’d all gather our consoles and TVs in the living room and team up, sometimes with friends from all over the world, and that connection made me feel, as a gamer, that I was part of something huge.

With the new Kingdom Hearts game finally having a release date – I’ve been waiting twelve years guys- a lot of things stirred up for me, including the curiosity that led to this article. Kingdom Hearts is how I connected with a few of my current friends, and it led me into discovering the Final Fantasy franchise well and truly, to the point I’ve now played as many as I could, which led me even deeper down the rabbit hole.

KINGDOM HEARTS HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX

So, my gateway to video games was Pokémon, but Kingdom Hearts, somewhat ironically, was the final key for me to finally call myself a gamer. A lot of people say games like Zelda, Halo, and Pokémon, but it’s a fun topic to discuss! So, what was the game that gave you a gateway to gaming? And how do Online Communities make you feel as a gamer?

A Short Overview of Assassin’s Creed Origins

I’ve always been a die-hard fan of the Assassin’s Creed games, historical inaccuracies, and my gigantic history nerdiness aside. My brother got me playing them around the time they first started being released in 2007… needless to say our mother wasn’t overly thrilled with how fascinated her eleven-year-old daughter was by the games, but it made Nick and I get along, so she never mentioned it.

Now Assassin’s Creed has been rolling out games for a decade, and my brother lives on the other side of the planet, having moved to Australia from England last year. We don’t talk often, but we always seem to find solid conversation in the games we’re playing, so when Origins was released, I was excited. He wasn’t a huge fan of Syndicate, and I understood why, but I was always obsessed with Victorian London as a kid, so despite it’s many faults and twists on historical figures, I did enjoy running around a shrunken version of a city I am familiar with in present day.

I was so excited about not having to steer a vehicle in this game, but you let me down AC. When I was streaming I remember being so happy(they’re not bad mechanics, I’m just awful at driving anything more than a horse in games- I got the achievement in Syndicate for it), since I’d been streaming Black Flag and Syndicate in the run up to the release of Origins, the trauma of steering ships and driving carriages was still fresh in my mind. I love Aya in Origins, I was honestly I little heartbroken when playing as her meant I had to steer a ship and use it to fight all in one short sequence. I’m hoping that my failings in video game steering doesn’t reflect how I’m going to be at real world driving. I mean, I’m amazing at Mario Kart so who knows?

Origins brings back the Assassins Creed tradition of more collectables and side quests than you could ever need, and while I’ve only managed it on Syndicate, I’m pretty determined to 100% this one. Which is going to be hugely difficult, mostly due to the size of the map and the sheer number of things to do, but it’s a fun challenge. The first of the sort of ‘collectables’ quests I stumbled upon was the quest where you have to find various stone circles and line up some constellations, which I got super invested in, because I love space, and I love the small bits of lore and how the cutscenes you get along with this route build up Bayek’s character and relationship with his son. Origins has done brilliantly in managing to give me a reason to do the side quests, with some of them providing you with more character and lore, which I’ve found a lot of games don’t always do. The optional quests are usually that, optional, so a lot of people don’t bother with them, however I’m one of those people that will do everything I can possibly do in a game before doing the final mission, so being rewarded with anything is pretty validating for my avoidance of finishing games.

The combat mechanics were a little different for me to get my head around, but that’s likely because I decided to play all the Assassin’s Creed series while I was waiting for Origins to come out, so my brain was still operating on Syndicate controls for a while. But overall, once I got the hang of it, it was fun. I’m a fan of any game that lets you use a bow and arrow, and the mechanics for it in this were one of my favourites. I also loved the skill you can unlock where you can control the arrow in mid-air because that’s a level of weird and physics defying that made me laugh a fair bit. Origins managed to keep a unique element to Bayek and Aya in their fighting style, but you can definitely see the style of the assassins we know and love that learnt from a long line of people tracing all the way to Bayek.

I figured I’d finally finish this article with a mention of the newest Assassin’s Creed instalment that we’ve seen teased. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has been officially announced ahead of this year’s E3, and as a total nerd of ancient Greece and Rome, I’m curious to see what its about. Ubisoft seem to have leant more into RPG style, if the leaked game description is anything to go by. The game takes place before even the events of Origins, so there’s some uncertainty of how this game will tie in with the rest of the series, but I’m holding out hope. Either way it should be an interesting addition, and I’ll be making sure to catch its full announcement at E3 this week, Ubisoft’s conference is on June 11th, so be sure to check it out and report back. I will definitely be doing so.