It’s been around forever, people either love it or hate it… oh and it starts with the letter M. No it’s not ‘Marmite’… it’s Monopoly! If there is one game that comes to the mind of the general public when you say “board game” it’s probably Monopoly. But here’s another ‘M’ and one that’s not as divisive; I’m talking about Super Mario! The undisputed mascot of Nintendo has arrived with a brand new edition of the famous property trading game. But with so many editions of Monopoly on the market is this one of Monopoly Super Mario Celebration worth your time? Well, to quote the main man himself… “Let’s a-go!”
First things first, looking at the board you will recognise the familiar layout. There’s no mistaking that this is a Monopoly board. The same styles as countless other editions but this time featuring famous locations from the various games that have come out over past decades. From the very first release, Super Mario Bros., all the way to 2017’s seminal smash, Super Mario Odyssey, there is plenty of nostalgia when it comes to the properties on offer. Lots of iconic locations are up for grabs from the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond!
Coins, Coins, Coins!
Part of the very essence of Monopoly is the money. Bank notes that go floating off the edge of the table taking up all that space (unless you choose to stack them… but then how will you quickly find that £20!!!) In this edition the paper notes are history, replaced by Mario’s trademark golden coins. Personally, we have found that this is a great revision that will assist the younger players with gameplay as it makes the in-game counting all the more simple; the Forest of Illusion only costs 1 coin? Now that’s a bargain!
Let’s talk player pieces. These pieces are just gorgeous! From the iconic mushroom to the koopa shell, the tokens feel great and look even better. The famous power ups of Mario get lots of love in this edition… plus you can play as a Yoshi egg (because why wouldn’t you!?)
As regards the buildings, don’t expect to see your typical hotels and houses. These have been switched out in favour of Peach’s Castle and Toads houses. It’s a cute little touch but is really just a cosmetic change (more on that later!).
So it won’t take long for you to realise that a big part of the marketing campaign for Mario Monopoly is the games main gimmick, the Question Block. Remember the ‘Chance’ cards? The frustration of those ‘bad luck’ cards and the relief when you drew one of the good cards? Well now, at the touch of a button, the Question Block will reveal your fate, be it the ‘Power-Up’ sound effect, Bowsers laugh or even the ditty that plays when Mario dies in-game.
So for me this one is a mixed bag. Monopoly is Monopoly. However much you change or dress it up differently, it still is the same game at heart and that’s fine if you love the Monopoly brand. It will never set the world on fire, it’s just ‘fine’.
So who should be buying this edition? Really it comes down to three main categories:
People who love/collect Monopoly in all its forms
Fans Of Nintendo
Families wanting to introduce younger children to board games
As mentioned earlier, a lot of the changes here are cosmetic. The biggest point of difference is the Question block. Unfortunately, to a four year old the temptation to push the button often and endlessly is far too great to resist (trust me, I know). Players may find that, like with any electronic toy, the novelty lasts only so long before it starts to grate a little. On the other hand, if it’s used the way it’s supposed to be used (sparingly!) then it does add a nice dynamic to a familiar game and that can’t ever be a bad thing.
The components quality really does lift the game higher. I love these little metal pieces, sculpted into those recognisable power ups we were first introduced to nearly 40 years ago. This paired with the buildings and fun artwork really do make this one of the more vibrant editions of Monopoly.
However, there is one thing that always makes me shudder with a board game; bad internal storage! The storage solutions really make or break games for me and, unfortunately, this is one of those instances where the storage is just plain bad! It equates to just taking off the lid and throwing everything in the box and letting it rattle around. No inserts, no containers, no boxes. For the game to be called the ‘Celebration’ edition I really hoped for a nicer presentation in the box; especially if one were a collector, which I’m not. Again this is me just being picky, I try not to do that too much but this is really worth mentioning!
Monopoly Super Mario Celebration is a fun new addition to the franchise. It never truly justifies its existence but adds some nice new spins on the classic format and is extremely accessible for new and younger players.