A new take on an old board game.
Boom Street, aka Fortune Street in the States, for Nintendo Wii is a virtual board game which takes its inspiration from the traditional Monopoly board game we probably all remember playing at Christmas time. Although the game has been around for ages in Japan, where it is known as Itadaki Street, this is the first time that the popular money-making franchise has been released in the west.
In Boom Street, the objective of the game is somewhat different to classic Monopoly as the player aims to get rich quickly and reach a target net worth, rather than simply trying to bankrupt the other players. This is achieved by working around one of the various game boards and buying up property that you land on. Whilst this may sound very similar to classic Monopoly, there are a few differences that can make the game much more strategic.
Players can purchase stocks, which then generate an income which is dependent on property owned within a given district. The stocks can be purchased through the bank and can reward the player for taking risks, much like real life. The game constantly highlights your ready cash, property assets and your net worth as you work your way around the board. The player can also spend their time trying to collect four card suits; diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades, which can be found on the playing board. Each time you collect these and return back to the bank, you’ll be rewarded with a nice bonus and promotion.
The game has a variety of different themed boards around which to play, proving much more interesting than a standard Monopoly board. These boards are broken up into districts which gives the player the chance to generate more worth and also have an effect on stock values. As with the original Monopoly game, Boom Street boards are made up of different spaces and even include the equivalent of a Chance space. Landing on this space will enable the player to choose a Chance card which will deal them either an advantage or disadvantage to their round, such as closing up your property for the night or collecting extra commission from the other players.
Boom Street requires very little input from the player, with a simple shake of the WiiMote or pressing of button 2 all that is required to roll the dice. The game even has an easy mode available for those who just want a relatively quick game (around an hour) and only want the basic Monopoly rules in place. This mode is ideal for playing with younger members of the family, but takes out a lot of the strategy of the full game, leaving a much less fulfilling experience.
There are a large number of different characters from both the Mario and Dragon Quest universes to play as in multi-player, along with a few more characters to unlock, and the player can also use their own Mii character should they wish. Visually, it is all very bright and colourful, as you would expect from a Nintendo game. But, beyond the characters and board themes, very little use is made of the two licenses found in this game, with the board contents remaining the same from one game to the next. The characters are well represented and occasionally will shout out something vaguely cute, but it’s quite limited and I would have rather seen them do something amazing, than just standing there looking blankly into the distance.
As with all board games, the main problem here comes when playing the game in single player.
With other real-life players, the game can be entertaining, at least to fans of board games in general and Monoploy in particular. But playing alone is just dull and repetitive. Add to this the fact that the AI does seem to either be incredibly lucky or cheat, and the result is a game that is simply no fun if played alone.
Boom Street is an interesting addition to the Wii library and will definitely appeal to gamers who are fond of traditional board games. But the long, drawn out gameplay and repetition make it difficult to recommend this game to families with kids or the more casual gamer.