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Monopoly U-Build

For: Mobile

High rise

Product: Monopoly U-Build | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Format: Mobile | Genre: Card/ board game | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 586KB | Reviewed on: Sony Ericsson C510 other handsets | Version: Europe
Monopoly U-Build Mobile, thumbnail 1
How did you used to play Monopoly? Whenever I attempted to take over the streets of London as a kid, I would always come up against a different series of rules.

Some friends wouldn't allow properties to be exchanged until all the plots had been sold, while others had restrictions on when and where you could build houses and hotels.

Most frustrating, however, was a particular friend of mine, who introduced the notion that he was sleeping with a bank manager.

This basically meant he could take out loans whenever he wanted, while the bank would mysteriously require me to work the streets as a lady of the night if I so much as mortgaged one of my plots.

Monopoly U-Build also mixes up the rules somewhat – although in a somewhat less ludicrous fashion - transferring play from the standard board setup to a series of interlocking hexagons.

Money matters

The goal remains the same – picking up prime properties and building on them to sap more money from your rivals should they land on your plot – but the way in which it's delivered is more fluid.

That's partly down to the level of money each plot can raise, with the ability to build three houses at once – piling up to skyscraper level after a few moves – meaning your funds can head sky high in just a few minutes.

More important, however, are the 'bonus' and 'hazard' buildings you can construct that sit between the hexagons.

The bonus plots - skyscrapers, stadia, and so on - increase your takings significantly and can be the difference between winning and losing.

On the other side of the coin, hazard buildings can decapitate some of your rival's biggest earners, nullifying their worth if they touch the hexagon they sit on.

Menu minefield

All such additions actually fit into the Monopoly process fairly easily and, with a deft touch, Monopoly U-Build has managed to move its gameplay on without ditching its core values – the constant struggle between wanting to spend all your money on upgrades and holding some back in case you get caught out yourself.

The only thing that lets Monopoly U-Build's approach down is the series of menus you have to go through to get things moving.

Even once well into a game, Monopoly U-Build seems to be constantly flashing overly long instructions in your direction, and any move you make seems to require a ludicrous number of button presses to set it in action.

Regardless, any need to streamline aside, Monopoly U-Build is a testament to just how long a solid idea can be stretched if treated with respect. The setting might have changed, but the foundations are as strong as ever.
Monopoly U-Build
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 19 November 2010
Managing to retain the feel of the original game whilst also upping the stakes to a degree, Monopoly U-Build is stifled only by some needless menus
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