Smoke’s review, Planet Monopoly

Where’s my stress ball?


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I’m going to try and do more reviews this year and first up is monopoly planet by LimeBerry Software. We already have two versions of Monopoly put out by RS Games and QC. It’s time to see if this new release can compete with these two well established audio versions of the game.

Disclaimer:
I’m going to be as honest as possible in reviews. I will take into effect what the game is, and if it delivers on what it is being marketed as. I’m not trying to make friends or enemies with reviews, I’m just letting people know what I think about the game. Most of a review is my opinion, you may disagree, this is fine. Leave a comment if you do. This is also what the like and dislike feature is for on the blog posts.


Game Info


Game Summary

The developer is describing this game as a single player monopoly with highly intelligent AI and a never before seen leveling system. In addition to that the game has a built in auction system, trade system, custom computer players, and custom themes. I have not tested out all of this but I feel I’ve played the game enough to get a feel for it and to give it a review.
If you have played monopoly before then you know how this works. I’m not going to explain how to play monopoly, instead you can just go Read this Wikipedia article on monopoly.


Playing the game

If I put it nicely this game is very interesting, if I am not nice it is a tangled mess of frustration. When you first launch the game you are deafened by sound. I am so sick and tired of game developers adding in intro sounds to their games that are loud as shit. When first launching it plays all this at 100% volume deafening you and making your screen reader impossible to hear. To all developers reading this, don’t do this, everyone will thank you.
After getting the sound sorted you are in the game, but you’ll notice the arrows do nothing at all. This is a majorly frustrating issue. You can only use W and S to move up and down. Not being able to use the arrows to navigate menus in the game is a huge annoyance. This was done so jaws would work, but there is no reason for excluding arrows completely, make it work with both. Having to use W and S is a huge negative point for this game.
Now when you actually start playing you type in your name, choose your board which I have to press shift enter to select, another pointless thing which adds to my frustration. Enter would work just fine, but anyway moving on.
Once you get through the menus and set up your game it is pretty straight forward. I wouldn’t say there is anything all that special. I’ve played against all of the included AI/computer players and they are your standard AI with some slight character traits. You can still make them agree to silly trades if you give them just a little over the normal price of a property.
One very annoying thing that happens is the game is getting all my keystrokes as I type this review in Jarte. It is doing random stuff even though the monopoly planet window is minimized and not active at all. Also when using NVDA the menus just stop talking and no matter what key I press nothing happens at all. I’ve made it through 1 full game, and probably 5 partial games because I keep getting so frustrated I rage quit the game before it gets going. Others have complained about this as well, with some not being able to get past the logo on startup.
When it comes to game play, when I get it to work I can’t escape the frustration. Even after a property is mortgaged I’m getting rent when the AI lands on it. I have no way to quickly tell what properties are what color, it is reading the colors at the end of the spoken line, this is when it reads it at all. It doesn’t tell me the color of the property during a trade. These are little things yes, but also center features of monopoly, and things which should have been thought out better in my opinion.


Concluding Thoughts & Review

I’ve tried to give this game a fair shake…I really have. The first time I played it I actually had to go to the AG.net forums and ask if this was a alpha release, or a stable release. It was even worse the first time I played it, now it is a little better…I think, but still it isn’t something I can enjoy playing. The game has a feel of something that is an early release and not a stable version. There is no adverse effects to trying it, it just doesn’t run well and there are so many things wrong with it.

Quick hits of what I don’t like about the game.

  • Deafening max volume on first launch.
  • Having to use W and S to move in menu, with the arrows not being an option.
  • Game intercepting keystrokes when minimized.
  • menus constantly freezing up and getting no speech or feedback at all.
  • Movement speed of pieces on board, this bugs me in all monopoly games. If you move 11 spaces don’t play 11 sounds.
  • Nearly everything being based on shortcuts when it is your turn.
  • no property color in trades
  • no quick way to see colors of properties
  • Overly complicated auction system, just hit enter to bid, you shouldn’t have to hold it down then hit W.

Quick hits of things I like

  • It’s free
  • It was a good shot at a first game, the idea is solid, the execution is the issue.
  • The ability to make your own AI? I haven’t tested this.
  • The ability to make your themes? I haven’t tested this.
  • Maybe the leveling system? It doesn’t really have a point though. Just playing gives you levels.


Rating

This might be a record low on the blog. I just don’t like this game. I enjoy Monopoly on RS, but Planet Monopoly is more like stress emersion therapy for me.
Score: 2/10, reasoning below.
If I start at 10:
minus .5 for the game deafening me on first launch.
Minus 1.5 for no arrows and having to use W and S which makes no sense at all.
Minus 1.5 for the game intercepting all keystrokes. You can’t type on your PC if the game is open.
Minus 1.5 for the constant freezing and menu hanging up.
Minus 2 for game play issues, colors, trade system, and auction system.
Minus 1 for overall experience and enjoyment of the game.
I don’t have any positives to add to it.
Score: 2/10

This is a good first try at a game, but I’m reviewing it as a final release, not as a first try. As a final release It just can’t compete with RS and QC. Not only do those have bots and the ability to play online against friends, they just work. This game just doesn’t really work. That being said, download it and try it yourself. Let me know if you disagree. This review is my opinion, you may feel completely different.


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2 thoughts on “Smoke’s review, Planet Monopoly

  1. Agree with all points, for someone who is supposed to be a professional programmer, this does not fit the bill. It’s full of bugs, like once you start rolling doubles, you have an exponentially higher chance to keep on rolling doubles. The no seeing of colors on trade really pisses me off, because in a physical game of monopoly, you’d be able to look at your property cards whenever you want. You’d also be able to sort them into sets, so not seeing the colors so you don’t know what you have or what you need to complete a set is not only annoying, its detrimental to gameplay.

    1. Yep it has a lot of issues on the software level, and also on the game level. There is potential, it just needs a lot of work. I got so frustrated with the software bugs I didn’t even have much time to spend on the actual game play.

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