Monopoly Millionaire Mansions review
Monopoly Millionaire Mansions is a new Web-based social game from Hasbro, designed primarily as a promotional vehicle for its new Monopoly Millionaire board game. The game can be played now on the open Web and signed into either with a proprietary account or Facebook. However the player chooses to sign in, they are identified by a username made up of three words chosen from three separate lists, and a freely-chosen number.
Monopoly Millionaire Mansions is a location-based game that uses the Google Maps API. Players scan around the world to pick a suitable spot for their dream home and must then zoom in to the maximum level to pick a plot on which to build. Upon selecting a plot, the player is given a choice of several different mansion styles from which to choose, and is then given the opportunity to decorate the mansion with up to ten items. These items are initially pulled from a “level 1″ stock, but as the player builds more mansions they unlock access to additional tiers of decorations. Items can be freely placed on the mansion, even in places that make no logical or physical sense, and a “bring to front” button allows for items to be correctly layered if there is a problem with perspective. Players may also remove items, move them and replace them at will at any time.
Once a mansion has been created, they are prompted to share it with friends if they have connected their account with Facebook. Any other Monopoly Millionaire Mansions players may also scroll around the world map and view other players’ mansions at will, though there is nothing for them to do while they are there. It is possible to share other players’ mansions on Facebook, however.
That’s about all there is to Monopoly Millionaire Mansions. Players can see pretty much everything the game has to offer in the space of approximately ten minutes, and there is little incentive for them to return after that. There is no interaction between players and no actual “gameplay” beyond customizing their mansions. To make matters worse, the game doesn’t actually explain to players what they are supposed to do at any point — the knowledge that it’s necessary to zoom in to the maximum level to build a mansion is not explicitly stated anywhere, which will likely leave many players confused. This is aptly demonstrated by users on the official Monopoly Facebook Page, most of whom seem bewildered as to what they are supposed to be doing.
The whole experience is also very buggy. When tested, mansions frequently disappeared or failed to save in the first place, gained “experience” failed to register and links around the page didn’t work. Brief text at the bottom of the screen also seems to imply that a trivia module in the corner helps users to unlock new mansions faster, but correctly answering questions from the very limited set does not appear to have any effect.
Overall, Monopoly Millionaire Mansions feels like a rather shallow, hollow and ill thought-out experience. It doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, and it doesn’t put across its intentions or possibilities well to the player. As a game it is extremely limited; as an interactive advert it is bewildering.
A rather ill thought-out interactive advertising experiment.