Developer: Square Enix
Genre: Party Games
Extras: Also known as Fortune Street
Australian Release Date: January 5th, 2012
Australian Rating: PG
Kind of like a combination of Mario Party and Monopoly, Boom Street requires you to purchase property and trade shares, until you reach the goal Net Worth, not to mention take part in a mini game or two and implement action cards.
This game has two rule modes: Easy and Standard; and they do not just imply a difficulty level increase, they are actually more like two different versions of the same game, as the way you play the game changes depending on what rules you play. As such, I will go into each of them in more detail in separate sections.
When you first start up the game, you must determine whether you are playing by yourself or with friends. Most games just leave this for actual game/board set up, however in Boom Street, not only does this mean a lack of other human players, but a difference in who you play as and your ability to unlock items for your in-game profile. In terms of who you can play as, in single player mode, you can only play as your Mii, which you can customise by unlocking/purchasing different clothing, accessories, movements, actions and personalities; whereas in multiplayer mode you can play as a range of characters from both the Mario Party game series and the Dragon Quest game series, which is a nice change to just the Mario characters.
Completing games, especially winning, in single player mode results in earning stamps, which can be used to purchase different personalisation options for your Mii in your profile. These are quite easy to earn, as simply playing a game in single player mode under you profile, will earn you plenty, and the cheaper customisations only start at 10 stamps. Apart from the regular options of different clothing and accessories, you can personalise different gameplay actions and dictate your Mii’s personality and role for the Out To Lunch mode. Actions you can change include how your Mii moves around the board, how they roll the die, how they cheer and what they do while simply standing. The personalities and roles come into online play, where you can play with friends or other people around the world. Unfortunately, there was no one available when I tried to play online, so I didn’t get to test out this part of the game, or Out To Lunch mode. It didn’t surprise me too much that I didn’t find anyone else to play with online, as I had only heard of this game when I saw it and purchased it. It’s not like it was a highly sought after and popular game. In regards to the customisation features though, I love that you can choose how your Mii moves, roles, etc. It just adds that little more of a personal touch to your toon.
The boards are never linear and always have multiple ways to go, which is great for when you want to avoid a particular square, but once you pick a direction you must stick with it, unless you land directly on the bank. Each board has a different goal Net Worth and different squares, so it is not just a matter of visuals or names that change with board selection like with Monopoly. The way the boards are floating above a dynamic background however, I find highly irritating. It makes the board look too cluttered, as there are multiple colours and shapes in both the board and the background, and depending on the angle in which you see the board, the background is in a different position, due to the floating factor I mentioned earlier. When you see it yourself you will understand how it can be off-putting.
The second decision you must make when starting the game is which version of rules to play. If you are just starting out or playing with younger players, Easy Rules are the way to go. Overall, the aim is to reach the goal Net Worth and make it back to the bank first. You do this by purchasing properties/shops and collecting money from other players when they land on them, and by collecting each suit (spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds) and returning to the bank to increase your level (get a Promotion) and collect a wage based on how many properties you own. This is the most efficient way to increase your Net Worth, by large increases in Ready Cash, but as the game stretches out and people invest in their properties, the best way to avoid landing on someone else’s property and paying big bucks to another player is to own it yourself. You can do this by being the first to land on it and purchasing it from the bank at cost price, or if someone else has already purchased it you can gain it through a forced buy out at five times the property value. Needless to say, it really isn’t worth doing until there are little to no other properties available on the board. The only reason to do this would be to gain an advantage by having multiple properties in a row and gaining the bonus from it, or to break down someone else’s bonus. It can be a kind of a double edged sword though, as it can be rather frustrating when you lose your bonus, but you get a massive boost in Ready Cash and as a result, Net Worth (as each property you own contributes to your Net Worth in equal terms to how much you have bought it for and invested into it). As for the person who bought it from you, while they gain the property value, it is only the base value, and they lose Net Worth equal to the Ready Cash spent on the force buy out minus the property’s base value. Bottom line, only do it if you really get an advantage for having the property, otherwise, there is a trade option between players.
The main difference between Easy and Standard Rules is the inclusion of Stocks and Districts. So, on top of the rules/features mentioned above, the board is divided into districts in which each property will be a part of one, and stocks can be bought and sold in each of those districts, raising in value by more stocks being bought and by people investing in properties within that district. This affects your Net Worth not just by the value of the stocks, but by the dividends paid out by them, as when someone lands on another player’s property in a district in which you own stocks, you also get money, paid by the bank. Just remember, when purchasing stocks, look for districts with the most ‘Max Capital’ (how much more you can invest in a particular property), then invest in those properties (if you own them) to increase the value of your stocks again. Considering all of this, there are ways to make stock values fall if someone has reached the goal Net Worth, just make sure you do it before they make it back to the bank, otherwise it’s game over.
This isn’t exactly a great game, and it probably won’t be remembered by many, but it is definitely a fun game. It even has the convenience of a quick save at any point (even in the middle of a game) and a tutorial mode which you choose to do when you want (I hate forced tutorials that disappear after going through them once). I enjoy the added difficulty and involvement of Standard Rules, but sometimes, on the larger boards, I find that I run out of Ready Cash before I make a full lap back to the bank. Perhaps a higher starting point for your Ready Cash would be better. Which reminds me of one feature I thought was oddly and to the game’s detriment, left out. You cannot customise the details (like starting Ready Cash and goal Net Worth) for each board. One of my favourite things about the Monopoly game on the PS3 is the ability to alter things like house rules. I think that would’ve added another level of fun and customisation to this game, that is definitely better multiplayer. If you like board games, you can pick this game up pretty cheap at most places; if not, I probably wouldn’t get it if I were you. It is definitely just a casual, friends-are-over, kind of game.
Game Play 8
Ease of Play 8