When Microsoft announced their Surface device, one of the first applications people anticipated was for tabletop board games. Unfortunately, that device went nowhere, leaving digital board games out of the picture. However, with the iPad tablet making waves, digital board games look like they will be making a very solid return. EA has quite a few of these in the pipeline, and one of them is none other than the king of board games itself: Monopoly. Running in HD, Monopoly Classic for the iPad not only offers the same Monopoly experience on the iPhone/iPod Touch, it offers a brand new digital tabletop experience in itself.
The major new addition to the game is the tabletop mode, allowing up to four players to arrange themselves around an iPad. The game is smart enough to orient itself to each player respectively, and all of the money management is taken over by the game. Overall, it plays like a smart digital version of Monopoly, yet is still the Monopoly you know and love. Additional local network play is also included for those who have Monopoly on other iPads and iPhones.
In addition to the tabletop mode, there is also a teaching mode to bring first time Monopoly players up to speed with the traditional rules. Unfortunately, the rule set is locked down, so while the many modifiers people like to apply to their games would be a nice idea, don’t expect them to be here. Visually it’s a clean and basic representation of the board game, which for the iPad seems like a better idea than doing something over the top. In the end, the iPad looks like it will prove itself as a capable and engaging way to play classic board games. With Monopoly, it looks like this could only be the beginning of old favorites returning in a fresh and imaginative way.