Fortune Street: Rolling the dice with a little Mario flair

January 5, 2012

We here at Snackbar know how painful it can be to play a board game like Monopoly. Like a roll of the dice that takes multiple hours of your life to complete, there are often no real choices to make that aren’t incredibly obvious. Thankfully, Fortune Street is not exactly like Monopoly.

Don’t get us wrong, though: it’s still a heck of a lot like Monopoly.

The game, the latest in a long-running series but the first to make it Stateside, has you traveling around a board, buying properties, paying rent and trying to make the most money. Oh, and you’re playing as Mario and Dragon Quest characters, though that really doesn’t come into play that much. What makes things interesting is the implementation of some different systems on top of the traditional property-mogul gameplay.

First: the boards include various intersections and paths, so where you land is controlled randomness. Sometimes you take the longer path to avoid a hazard, while other times you press ahead to try to get around the board and get your bonus cash reward, even at the expense of a few painful rent payments. Second: the game’s stock system, where you can invest cash into segments of the board, in the hopes that those properties will get upgraded and landed on for your share of the profits.

There are a few special spaces that spawn random gambling games and effects, but this isn’t Mario Party: it’s a board game, through and through. Don’t expect anything more. There’s also a version that simplifies the rules, if you really want Monopoly, but we don’t see much that makes it worth a try.

The multiplayer mode is clearly the main one in a computerized board game, and Fortune Street doesn’t disappoint: the game supports both local and online play, a rarity for the system. The single-player mode consists of increasingly-difficult opponents and more complicated maps, though each map takes about an hour longer than it really should. We understand; the higher-level strategies only start to kick in when players have a chance to buy up properties and invest. It’s still a bit tough to get through, and though you can set shorter games in multiplayer, that’s not possible solo.

The extras are a bit strange. Most involve adding clothes and accessories to your Mii, but there is one interesting unlockable set. See, there’s an option in the game to go “out to lunch” and have the AI take over your character. If you’re all set up, or if you’re just getting bored but want to finish the map anyway, it’s a great option. You can buy “personalities” and “roles” for your Mii to make their actions weighted toward stocks, cooperation or just being a lunatic. It’s a small thing, but an interesting one.

Ultimately, Fortune Street is still largely random, and it’s not a shining example of mechanical greatness like those unplugged games we like so much. But it’s way better than Monopoly, and similar enough to it to get people to take the step.

Pros: Charming little board game with Mario and Dragon Quest characters
Cons: Can get tedious, and is a bit too much like Monopoly sometimes

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.

{ 4 comments }

Chris Ingersoll January 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

I received a $50 BBY gift card for the holidays and was considering picking this up. I had it in my hands, took a good hard look at it… and just couldn’t bring myself do actively purchase anything resembling Monopoly. I ultimately decided my brother-in-law’s gift would be better spent on two 2000 point Wii/DSi cards. :P

Andrew Passafiume January 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I’ll never understand the Monopoly hate. Either way, I love Monopoly and I love this game even more.

Graham Russell January 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm

The problem most people who have played better board games than Monopoly have with it is that there is very little choice involved. Roll, land on that square, pay money. (Or buy the place, but that’s usually a very obvious decision.) That, and people have a tendency to run with that ludicrous Free Parking rule that gives one person a huge stack of money for no reason. Oh, and the rule that runs the game into the ground until only one person is left.

Also, there’s a widespread sentiment that, for some reason, Americans have decided Monopoly is the only game they’ll play, so they buy ludicrous amounts of themed Monopoly boards but never try legitimately interesting other games. This is less so now than a few years ago, but people look at Europe and wish we had the acceptance of new board games that they do.

retrosportsgamer January 5, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I’m wondering if this game will become a bit collectable and rise in value over time. First party Nintendo game released at a curious time (after Black Friday) with little fanfare for a system on its last legs.