Everyone knows the popular game Monopoly. It’s been around for years and by this point, there are so many variations it’s impossible to keep track! On a similar note, Mario Kart is a well-known racing game featuring popular characters from the Mario games. Plenty of people can recall grabbing a controller and racing around wacky circuits, throwing bananas and shells at their rivals. So what’s the significance here? The two games couldn’t be more different… or could they? Hasbro has been spitting out Monopoly games for decades and the ideas seem to keep getting wackier every time. Enter Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart.
Monopoly Gamer was released in 2017 and was centred around the Nintendo game Super Mario Bros. Three years later came a sequel; introducing Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart! With two huge games blended together, it was almost certain to be a great success from the start!
Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart- Just as Crazy as You’d Expect!
Mario Kart is a wacky and chaotic game at the best of times. It brings a lot of luck and laughs that make it suitable for any age. Monopoly is often for older people as its lengthy and somewhat complicated gameplay can make it unsuitable for kids. That has been solved in this! Any Mario Kart fan can get into Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart in an instant. The games being highly crazy and much shorter than regular Monopoly.
You move around the board as you’d expect, but you constantly get to utilise power-ups and special abilities to hinder your opponents and move further around the board. The game is much simpler in its currency too, with coins from the Mario games becoming the money of choice. Everything works in small numbers and there are only 1s and 5s to worry about. This just lets you lean into the chaos more, with shells flying in every direction, bananas around every corner and dreaded spiny shells and lightning bolts looming overhead.
What’s the Board Like Then?
In Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart, instead of properties in London you can stake your claim on courses from across the racing games. It brings old classics like Mario Circuit and Sweet Sweet Canyon, mixed in with fan favourites like Bowser’s Castle and the legendary Rainbow Road! These properties cost 1-5 coins and have fun and simple designs like a lot of the game’s components.
Stations are gone, as are utilities, instead making way for three brand new types of space. Thwomps, giant spiky rock-like creatures make you drop two coins, while the Boost Pads give you an extra roll of the dice. Arguably the most exciting of the new spaces are the Super Star spaces, but more on those fun gimmicks later…
Character Selection is Exciting Now!!
Now we reach what I personally think is the most fun aspect of the entire game: the characters. Gone are the days where your game piece is just a fun decoration that does the same as everyone else’s. Each of the characters in Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart has two unique features exclusive to them. The game includes the brothers Mario and Luigi, the famous Princess Peach, and the lovable joker Toad, all of which are valued for what they can do. When you roll the dice to move around the board, there’s one for movement and one that has several items from Mario Kart on it, including a banana, green shell, spiny shell, coins and a lightning bolt. Characters get to roll both dice each time, and each character has one of the items powered up.
The Spiny Shell normally makes any player drop three coins, but Princess Peach can target two enemies! Lightning Bolts make everyone drop a coin, but Toad gets to pick them all up. Bananas can be dropped on any space you passed this turn, while Luigi’s can be placed on one of his properties anywhere on the board. Finally, the Coins power-up usually gives you three coins, but Mario can choose to move three extra spaces instead! These fun gimmicks make choosing a character fun and interesting, and give each player a slightly different set of rules. We loved the little changes to power-ups for each character, and it’s great to actually be able to properly consider who you want to play as!
Remember That Super Star Space Earlier?
If you’ve been waiting to hear what this mysterious space does on the board then wait no longer! Super Star spaces are extra special and landing on one gets you quite the bonus! Each character has a completely unique power that is triggered when they land on the space, and these can really turn the tide of a game. In fact, some of them seem so good that we often want to play specific characters for their power.
Easily the best Super Star Ability is Luigi’s, allowing him to move to the least expensive unowned property and buy it immediately, regardless of where he is! Others include the ability to move specific numbers of spaces, use extra power-ups and even take entire extra turns! These are what really define each character and in our games, the Super Star Abilities have brought losing players straight to first place before!
It Wouldn’t be Mario Kart Without the Races!
Indeed, Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart hasn’t left out the most crucial part- racing around the iconic courses! Each time a player passes Go, they trigger a race. The top Grand Prix card is revealed and players have to choose what to do. Each race costs a certain number of coins to enter, with rewards being given for finishing in a variety of positions, as well as the winner getting the card itself. You can earn extra properties, get free power-ups, send people to jail, and even steal properties from people!
If you have the coin the races are worth a try, and all the players have to do to actually race is roll the movement dice. Positions are determined based on the dice rolls, with ties being repeated until resolved.
But How Do I Actually Win the Game?
In normal Monopoly, you win by bankrupting every other player in the game. It can be quite a long process sometimes. Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart simplifies this. The game now ends once all the races have been done, meaning players have collectively crossed Go eight times. After the final race has been done it’s time to find out who really won the game! Every property you own is worth a certain number of points based on how expensive it was to buy. This ranges from a measly 10 Points, all the way up to 50 for Bowser’s Castle and Rainbow Road, so it truly pays to have as many as you can.
Similarly, each Grand Prix card is worth a number of points, but this is where the points really can make the decision. Grand Prix cards usually make up most of our points, with the seventh one being worth 50 points. The last card is ridiculous and has decided multiple games for us before: the card alone is worth a jaw-dropping 100 points, but it also allows the winner to call a rematch for any Grand Prix card a player has. If luck is on their side, they can leave the race with 150 points from that single turn alone!
If the game has gotten tight though, every 5 coins gets you 10 points too, so don’t be afraid to hoard. We loved this approach to the game, as it means everything you do is getting you points or taking others’ away, even when only coins are impacted.
And What Do I Think of it All?
I’ve played several rounds with my usual gaming group and we all LOVE Monopoly Gamer: Mario Kart! It’s such a fresh take on Monopoly and it makes it so much more friendly towards the light-hearted board gamers that don’t want to spend all day in the regular version of Hasbro's huge property magnate series. The character designs are amazingly well-done and the cards and racecourses are just as well decorated and can really add nostalgia for Mario Kart veterans! Having the unique powers and Super Star Abilities are such a welcomed addition to Monopoly and make the strategy start even at the character selection.
If you love the game as much as me, there are even packs containing extra characters for the game, including iconic figures like Shy Guy, Donkey Kong and Yoshi, and these all have unique powers too, meaning with a full collection you can have a great 10-character roster! If you love Mario Kart then you don’t need to have played Monopoly to love this! The only criticism we had for the entire game was the fact that some characters’ powers are clearly better than others. These ones were still really fun to play. So grab your friends, sit down and start throwing shells as you speed around the board on your way to first place!