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Monopoly Millionaire for Windows Phone 8
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Monopoly Millionaire Review: The classic board game reinvented for Windows Phone 8

This week we take an in-depth look at Monopoly Millionaire from Nokia and Electronic Arts. Millionaire enjoys the distinction of being the first Nokia-published Xbox game to require Windows Phone 8 (Mass Effect: Inflitrator is the second). It also requires 1 GB of RAM for some reason, which stinks for a less than hardware intensive game. But people with the hardware that can run Millionaire will find a pretty impressive take on the ancient game of Monopoly.

Playing it honors our ancestors or something!

Old is new again

Monopoly Millionaire for Windows Phone 8 houses

Monopoly Millionaire started life as a 2012 board game based on the original Monopoly. Hasbro’s goal was to streamline the classic game so that it could be finished in a reasonable amount of time, as opposed to lasting for days. Thus the goal is no longer to bankrupt other players but to reach a specific wealth target.

You can choose between one million dollars and two million for that target. Either way, the game should take less than an hour to finish. Since we’re reviewing the mobile version here, the shorter playing time is definitely a good thing. And of course you can save any game in progress and resume it later.

Going bankrupt still knocks someone out of the game, though it’s a bit less likely to occur over this game’s shorter time span. Bankrupt players do have a few last ditch options to fall back on, such as cramming all of their valuables into a suitcase and then leaving the country for one without an extradition treaty. Not really, but they can sell houses and hotels back for half of their initial cost, mortgage properties, or sell properties to another player. The goal is to keep everyone in the game until somebody hits that monetary bulls-eye.

Not quite online

Monopoly Millionaire for Windows Phone 8 setup

Millionaire supports any combination of 2-4 human and computer players. If playing with computer players, their difficulty can be globally set to Easy, Medium, or Hard – no mixing and matching AI levels. The difficulty levels are aptly named, though the Easy AI is still pretty competitive during auctions, which we’ll get to in a bit.

The original Windows Phone 7 Monopoly only supported pass-and-play multiplayer, as games of that time lacked the ability to implement local W-Fi or online multiplayer. Millionaire doesn’t go all-in and provide online multiplayer, but it does at least add local Wi-Fi into the mix as of the version 1.2 update (just like the iOS version). As far as I know, EA has yet to produce a mobile online Monopoly game for any platform.

Shiny new board and cards

Monopoly Millionaire board comparison

Millionaire’s board looks a lot like the original, but there have been some changes. For one thing, the designers ditched the utility and railroad spaces. This allows pieces to circle the board quicker and also makes standard monopolies easier to achieve. The properties have all been renamed as well, for better or worse. It would have been a cool option had the videogame version allowed us to toggle between the new or original property names.

Speaking of name changes, Community Chest cards are now called Millionaire Lifestyle Cards. Chance cards retain their original designation. The big change rule-wise is that each property space automatically awards a Fortune card the first time a player lands on it. Now you gain cards all the time instead of just getting them from spaces like Chance, which certainly makes the game more interesting.

Monopoly Millionaire for Windows Phone 8 cards

The classic game only had one card that players could save and use later: Get Out of Jail Free. Millionaire ups the ante to four “Keep Until Needed” cards:

  • Free House does just what it says, letting you place one house on a property at no cost. This in turn increases the likelihood that players will actually be able to place hotels.
  • Sly Deal allows one player to basically steal any one property from another player during a trade.
  • Forced Deal is less one-sided than a Sly Deal because each player contributes a property to the trade, but the player on the receiving end can’t decline the trade.
  • Just Say No! offers protection from Sly and Forced Deals.

Up for auction

Monopoly Millionaire for Windows Phone 8 auction

As with the standard Monopoly game, whenever a player declines to buy a property, that property automatically goes up for auction. SOMEBODY will end up with it, which gets all of the properties into player’s hands faster and keeps the monopolies coming.

This particular game's auction interface is a joy to use. When bidding, players can type out a value or instantly choose to bid 1K, 5K, or 10K over the current bid. Computer players won’t let properties go below their face value – even on easy, not until they start running low on funds, that is. Then you can score some deals. Bidding on auctions in pass-and-play, however is naturally a chore since the phone must be passed around every time someone bids.

Looks pretty, moves fast

Monopoly Millionaire for Windows Phone 8

Being a Windows Phone 8 game, Millionaire runs on a fairly high quality 3D engine. This allows for camera pans, zooms, and an altogether dynamic presentation. The board itself is more colorful than a standard Monopoly board, with an emphasis on diamonds and glamour. Altogether, this game pleases the eyes much more than its Windows Phone 7 predecessor.

The game moves at a nice enough clip on its own, AND players can speed things along by tapping the screen to skip animations. That said, the initial loading time when starting a game is slightly excessive. Thankfully it doesn’t need to load again until you start another game. Sound-wise, Millionaire offers three mostly inoffensive music tracks and proper volume sliders to boot.

Achievements

Monopoly Millionaire for Windows Phone 8 Trading

The 20 included Achievements will probably take several games to earn, but you can still get them all in well less than five hours. All can be unlocked in pass-and-play multiplayer – one Achievement is specifically for completing a local multiplayer game, in fact. The only challenging Achievements are luck-based: roll doubles three times in a row, and roll double sixes twice in a row. There is a trick to rolling doubles multiple times, but the guides I’ve seen at TrueAchievements and Xbox360Achievements.org don’t quite explain it well enough for me to pull it off consistently.

Overall Impression

Some people love Monopoly; I mainly love its aesthetics and winning free foods at McDonald’s. But Monopoly Millionaire accomplishes the difficult feat of actually improving on a classic board game. If you ask me, Hasbro should phase it in as the main Monopoly game sold in stores.

EA’s videogame adaptation of Millionaire gets just about everything right as well. It looks great, it plays as quickly as a mobile game should, and the interface shines in every area other than building houses and hotels (see the video review for details). Online multiplayer would have been great, but since this is a straight port of the iOS game, its omission makes sense. If you dig the standard game of Monopoly or board games in general, you might want to look past the slightly too high price and buy into Millionaire.

Monopoly Millionaire – Nokia Exclusive – Windows Phone 8 (1 GB of RAM) – 79 MB - $4.99 – Store Link

QR: Monopoly Millionaire

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Reader comments

Monopoly Millionaire Review: The classic board game reinvented for Windows Phone 8

50 Comments

As a Nokia 920 user on Tmo I think it's awesome everyone can get access to all apps. I think it'll help grow the platform. The market for W8Phones is so small the games will get better selling numbers with everyone able to buy them. If they sell a lot hopefully other devs see this and jump on board. Let the hardware be a deciding factor not apps/games.

The way things are going it seems that the vast, --VAST-- majority of Windows Phone 8 users will be Nokia users. That said, I hope we see these games better optimized to run on low-end hardware (i.e. 512MB RAM)...OR...I hope we see Nokia push further and make 1GB RAM the minimum for its next-gen hardware.

Wow is this 2004 ?? We need quality games by tht i mean 2011 - 2013 or 3d games
do u see where im getting at :P

The iOS version was released in 2012, same as the actual board game. And the graphics are 3D. So I'm afraid your complaint doesn't hold much water.

Ah, it's not my favorite game in the world but I'm still glad it came to Windows Phone. Planning to run our NOVA 3 review next week, assuming I can finish the dang game in time. The load times are ridiculous and make the game itself take forever.

How bad are they in Ms. Splosion Man? NOVA's loading times regularly exceed 80 seconds, and there are a lot of them. It's brutal.

You're always welcome, and thanks for reading. :-D

Well 80 seconds is brutal! Ms. Splosion man is about 60-70 seconds before every level...but the game is just way too hard and the cheevos are stupid.

I guess I will pass on this one. Already on the old Monopoly game for WP, the tiny font really bothered me. Judging from the screenshots and video, I'll have a hard time with my old eyes on this one too. Quite sad since I actually like the game itself. :(

This article shows a lack of knowledge. Firstly, the old Monopoloy game for Windows Phone 7 from EA, which I liked, also featured "camera pans, zooms, and an altogether dynamic presentation," despite not being on WP7 or superior hardware.
 
Secondly, Paul has made the mistake that so many people make when talking about Monopoly.  It only takes forever to play if you don't play it properly.  Play it properly, according to the rules which are included in every box, and it takes around 2 hours.  The auctioning of properties when the person landing on them declines to buy them is NOT new or unique to this game.  It is in the rules of the original board game and is what everyone should have been doing all along.  I know that nobody does.  The options to a player facing bankruptcy described here are, again, not new, they've been in the classic board game all along, but nobody bothers to read the rules.
Other things to remember if you don't want your game of Monopoly to last forever: You CAN buy properties on your first go around the board.  The rules do not say otherwise.  You do NOT put money in the middle when you pay taxes, fines, etc. to be picked up by a player landing on Free Parking (though that can be a fun variation on the rules if you're prepared to accept that it can make the game last much longer).  If you let people off with the rent they owe you if they can't afford it just because you like them, that's up to you, but the game WILL LAST LONGER.  It's just a game, play it properly, why get hung up about bankrupting a friend due to a lack of pretend money?  It'll keep you all playing until nobody cares anymore.  If somebody lands on your property and they can't pay the rent even after selling all thier houses/hotels and mortgaging all their properties, then they're bankrupt.  You take all the money they do have AND ALL THEIR PROPERTIES and they're out of the game.
 
Yes, I'm the annoying guy who reads the rules when playing board games.  But the rules weren't written down in five minutes without any thought (usually).  Sticking to them makes the game more fun.  The creators of the game were trying to make it fun, you know!

 

I never said the old game wasn't 3D. This one just has a much nicer graphical engine. It also seems harsh to complain about my knowledge when this review has way, way more information than any other review of the game.

As for your bankruptcy comment, I didn't say those options were new to Millionaire. You should read that paragraph more closely. I did forget about the auctioning element of the original game though.

Finally, house rules aren't exactly an aberration. They're just a way for players to customize a game slightly to their liking.

Firstly, I apologise if my comment had a whiff of 'troll' about it - that wasn't my intention.  Complaints about the length of time a game of Monopoly takes are just a bit of a touchy subject at the moment, so when I read that sentence near the beginning of the article I think the red mist descended.
Having said that...  You didn't say that the old game wasn't 3D, but you did imply that the camera pans and zooms are part of a dynamic presentaton due to the game's being a Windows Phone 8 game, even though the Windows Phone 7 also included these.  In fact, it was one of the best-looking Windows Phone 7 games there was.  But you're right, I am being pedantic.
I know you didn't say the bankruptcy rules were new to this game.  I didn't say that you did.  I felt there was an implication in the article that they were, but that, again, is subjective and maybe I inferred something that others wouldn't.
I suppose the only out-and-out innaccuracy I saw was the bit about auctioning properties.  Either I misread that or the article has now been amended to correct this.
Again, I'm not trolling, I am grateful for this in-depth write-up of the game, which is representative of the high quality of information on this website generally.

What's up with the Nokia exclusives? I would think Microsoft would discourage this as it prevents users of non-Nokia phones from experiencing the complete, and still very limited, app selection. I have an HTC 8X and I'm tired of being limited to an already paltry app selection.

It's part of Nokia and Microsoft's agreement. When Nokia decided to step up and become the number one producer of Windows Phones, MS gave them the ability to license and create their own games and apps in order to promote their phones. It might seem like a drag for non-Nokia owners, but all exclusive Xbox games will become available to everybody 6 months after release, so you still benefit.

Huh???  All of the OEMs have had the ability to create exclusive apps since the inception of WP7.  None of the others chooses to do so.

Xbox games are a different ball of wax. Nokia has special publishing priveleges that allow them to release them any day of the week and to update their games with less restrictions than other Xbox publishers face.

We do also see manufacturer-specific releases of certain Xbox games on Windows 8, but it's always a game that's already available to all Windows 8 users. For instance, there's a Toshiba version of Pac-Man CE DX. It's identical to the normal game other than having a separate Achievement list.

Crazy to think that without Nokia doing that EA wouldn't be making these games for WP.
Crazier to think where WP would be if Nokia had gone instead for Android. MS really should be giving them way more money than they are. WP would be dead without Nokia.

Well they tried that allegedly last month. I guess given how reliant they are on Nokia and scared that they could (as some "analyst" reported today) use Android for their low end handsets (which I think is BS, but never-mind) it is a business risk and I can see why they would want to buy them. But as long as they have an exclusivity agreement which they are meant to do for another 3 years then they should be ok and why buy them?
And I think for a lot of people Nokia have a better brand image - people buy "Nokia" phones, not "Microsoft" or even "Windows" phones, so having Nokia as part of Microsoft wouldn't I don't think help them.

agreed, Nokia should never be part of MS. I haven't seen MS to be serious about WP. It is nokia who is more serious about WP than MS.
But If MS acquired NOK , and they handed over development of WP to nokia, I can see WP development at a very fast pace. just my view..

I'm glad you agre with me, but I can't agree with your last point. MS & Nok are working together on WP, stop with the nonsense that MS don't care and aren't working on it. Updates are a bit slow, and MS have gone for a "shut up and ship" so we don't hear what's happening, but they are aligning a lot of different services. I think a lot of work is going on under the covers with SkyDrive, Skype, Windows 8.1, Azure that we will see make a massive difference to Windows Phone when the 8.1 release of that comes out next year. So sure we want a lot of things now and some of them seem small enough that they could have been rolled into the GDR releases, but instead they are going for a big bang with the next major release. Or, well, so I hope!

Mike - Nokia paid for this game. It would be great if Samsung and htc also encouraged game makers to come to the platform, but they don't.

It's unbelievable that people continue to whine about Nokia exclusives. Rather complain about it here why not send emails to HTC and Samsung to better support the platform.

I've played this game off and on for months; it's pretty good. I didn't notice much of a different between difficulty levels, except that on the harder modes the AI is much less likely to trade property.

One of the main criticisms I have with this game is that your fate is pretty much determined from the beginning. Start with a string of bad luck and you'll never catch up, you're just riding things out until one of the other players wins. I've found that I'm more likely to hit bad luck streaks than the computer, meaning things like landing in jail 3 or 4 times in a row.

Otherwise, start strongly and you'll dominate the same so thoroughly that you can toy with other players. I've been able to drag out the game enough that I controlled every bit of property on the board. If you offer the computer enough money and they're behind far enough they'll even sell the last property they own.

The other issue with this version of Monopoly is that often the game is done before you have the chance of playing out any strategy. That's definitely the case if you're playing towards the lower $1M limit, but it often happens even with the higher cap.

Still, I liked it and thought it was worth the money.

I'm sorry I can explain the trick to getting the doubles rolled easily. Those achievements really piss me off but I finally got them. I played close to 10 hours without getting doubles sixes, but after learning the exploit and giving it some tries, I got it within another hour.

Finally a good use for the 920's heft - beating your siblings with it in the inevitable post-game brawl.  But no B&O Railroad jokes?  Say it ain't so!

WIndows Phone - so starting out with not that big of a market
WP8 only - ok so half of what we had in step 1
Nokia Exclusive - alright, we're down to fewer than step 2
1 GB RAM - the overwhelming majority from step 3 are now gone and only 820, 920 and 925 left. But let's be honest, no one has 820s and 925s. So this is just a game for the 920
4.99 for a boardgame - ok really now?

I get when *some* of those things are in effect. But this is literally pretty much just a game for 920s