Monopoly seems like it's been around forever, the board game that can tear families apart and cause more arguments at Christmas than bringing up politics around the dinner table, and the classic board game has wormed its way onto almost every console at one stage or another. The latest to see its own version of the property trading game is the Nintendo Switch, which hopes to boost the enjoyment with the emphasis on easy multiplayer fun, although let's face it, you can't get the same satisfaction throwing the Switch as you can flipping over a board and seeing money fly everywhere.
The Switch version has a number of different game modes that you can play with. As expected, there's the classic mode where you can play for the full length of time Monopoly takes (although rest easy with the knowledge that you can save games, so you don't have to complete it in one sitting), but there are also other modes to spice things up.
First up there's Goal & Action Cards mode, where you can select different Goals to win the game, i.e. being the first player to build a Hotel on a property or to earn 2,000 Monopoly dollars in cash. Then each player gets given action cards that they can use tactically as well, like moving your token to any space on the board, or pulling any player to your current location. After that, it's Monopoly as usual, but these cards help bring something new to the board (excuse the pun) and keep things fresh for those who find the existing Monopoly formula a bit dry.
There's also the House Rules mode, whereby you can select from a number of different rules to apply to your game. Remember those discussions when you'd argue over the little things like whether fines go under the Free Parking tile? Now you can choose whether to apply these or not, although we found it strange you can't seem to apply more than one at a time.
After all of that, there's also Speed Dice if you want to speed up your usual Monopoly game, and this mode adds a new dice into the mix that helps move the game along a bit faster. The Speed Dice is nothing new, and Monopoly fans will already recognise this, but it's definitely useful for the casual audience who want a quicker game.
Now that all the modes are out of the way, let's talk about visuals. For those purists out there, you can indeed have the game like it's the classic board we all know and love, but the more visually appealing for us was the Living Boards. Here the boards come to life as you explore them, as in the centre is one of three bustling space (City, Amusement Park, or Haunted House), and while you explore the board the properties you buy get constructed or demolished before your eyes. This is far more interesting but can make the screen a bit busy at times.
It's a bit daunting facing Monopoly in the world of video games, especially if this is your first time doing so, but the regular instructions on-screen help make things easy and accessible. Rolling, moving, looking at properties, and putting houses/hotels down are all simple enough, although trading can be a bit unclear, as properties are shown via little coloured squares and the whole thing can get a bit fiddly, especially on the little Joy-Cons.
Which brings us nicely to the multiplayer side of things, which is one of the core appeals. If you're low on Joy-Cons or just won't want to use them as your control input, you can always share the one controller when playing with friends, meaning up to six friends can join for a game. There are also two visual options, the first being to stand the Switch up and play in the normal view, or lie it down, position your friends all around the screen, and play it like that (guaranteed neck pain from leaning over though, just saying). With simple controls, even those who aren't gamers can get into the groove easily, and it's a good way to introduce players to Monopoly.