Review: Monopoly Gamer Edition

We’ll be taking a look at Monopoly Gamer Edition (<–Affiliate link) today.  This was a Christmas gift from the ninja and we’ve finally had some time to sit and try it out.  We have the game and 4 additional game tokens.  Let’s jump right in with some Monopoly history.

A Little About Monopoly

Monopoly has long been present in American households.  The first Monopoly game is from 1935 by Parker Brothers, though it is based on a game self-published in 1906 called The Landlord’s Game.  Monopoly is now licensed in more than 100 countries and published in 37 different languages.  That’s impressive, no matter how you feel about the game…that’s impressive.

There are more licensed Monopoly editions than I care to count.  They have sports team-themed, major city-themed, movie and television-themed, video game-themed and all kinds of other editions.  They have everything from Chicago Cubs Monopoly to The Simpsons Monopoly to Boy Scouts of America editions.  The range of available themes throughout the years is wide.  Not all of these are available to purchase at the store today, many of them are only available second-hand at this point as they are no longer being manufactured.

Over the years (and generations), Monopoly is no longer the go-to board game in many households for several reasons, the biggest of which being the time to play.  Hasbro has been trying for many years to keep the game of Monopoly fresh and current.

What Makes Gamer Edition Different?

Where to begin…  Gamer Edition takes Monopoly and twists it into something similar but different at the same time.  The rules have been modified to play more like a competitive video game rather than the classic Monopoly game.  The best thing about Gamer Edition is the time it takes to play the game.  Classic Monopoly can take anywhere from an hour to 3 or 4 hours and by the end of the game, oftentimes you end up hating each other’s guts.  Monopoly Gamer Edition is designed to end relatively quickly.  There are 8 bosses that you must defeat (or let escape).  The boss battles happen when a person passes go.  Do the math on that…if there are 4 players, that could be a pretty short game.

The game feels more rewarding than Classic Monopoly.  Gamer Edition, being as short as it is, makes your accomplishments mean something.  It’s not about crushing your opponents and making them go bankrupt.  It’s about defeating the bosses, collecting properties and hoarding as many coins as you can your grubby little mitts on.

Other changes include (obviously) new Mario-themed characters each with special abilities, no chance/community chest cards, no houses/hotels, Mario themed coins (1’s and 5’s) instead of paper money and having one of the number dice replaced with a power-up die.

Choosing a Character

Choosing your character is no easy task like in Classic Monopoly.  Gamer Edition has added special abilities unique to each character that should be considered when choosing a character.  We did not consider this, we simply chose the character that we liked.  Not knowing their abilities gave us an even playing field, nobody chose and advantageous character over a weak one.  Abilities are not game-breaking by any stretch, but they are a nice addition and create more varied game-play as you have different combinations of characters.  Naturally, certain characters prove stronger than others as they can’t all have equal abilities simply because of the nature of the game…you can only do so much to vary the abilities.  Included in the game are Donkey Kong, Princess Peach, Yoshi and Mario.

Power Packs

Speaking of choosing a character, there are 8 power packs available.  They are not blinds, which is nice.  They come in a bag, similar to the blind toy bags you can get for about every IP ever created, but you can visibly see which character you are getting.  These power packs fit the theme perfectly as they remind me of DLC available for video games.  Each pack comes with a new character token, a character card and a sticker.  The characters available in these packs include:  Luigi, Wario, Diddy Kong, Toad, Rosalina, Fire Mario, Tanooki Mario and Boo.  The prices vary wildly online, but can be purchased at a bricks-and-mortar location for around 3 or 4 dollars at the time of this writing.

Gameplay

As mentioned, this play way faster than Classic Monopoly.  We finished in about a little over an hour with a 3-player game and keep in mind that one of those players is 6.  The game is fast-paced and you must pay attention even when it is not your turn.  Learning to sweet-talk other players into hitting someone else with something bad from the item die is essential to your long-term savings.

The rules are very different and, to be honest, more complicated than any other Monopoly I’ve played.  They were a little complicated for the ninja at first, but with some extra patience we were able to get him through the game without issue.  A child slightly older than him would have no problems understanding what was going on.  Beyond that, the game lasted a little too long to hold his attention.  He has the attention span of dead gnat, so that’s not really knocking the game…I’m just saying.

The boss battles are easy to figure out and reward you with a nice chunk of points as well as a bonus reward for beating him (or her).

What did we think?

Gamer Edition has an opportunity to bring Monopoly back into the lives of a new generation.  How well do we think it did?

Mommy:  This is a fun and refreshing change to the standard Monopoly formula.  The additions were all done very well.  It still felt like a Monopoly game, but it was different enough to make it well worth the money.  The pieces are high-quality plastic instead of metal, but they’re around 4 bucks for an additional character…we can’t expect the nice old metal pieces at this point.  I wish the coins, of which there are far too few of the single coins, were plastic rather than cardboard.  Plastic would last much longer, but overall this game was worth the price of admission.

Ninja:  Two thumbs up.  He said it was shorter he would “give it 10 thumbs up!”  It really was just a tad too long for his attention span.  He seemed to really enjoy stealing coins from us.  And he won the game, so that made him happy.

What We Like-Mario theme
-Power packs that add characters
-Fast-paced
-Easy to learn and play
-Fun gameplay
What We Don't Like-Not enough coins
Replay ValueHigh -- This is partially due to the nature of the characters abilities and the possible combinations
Recommended AgeHasbro: 8+
Mommy and Ninja: 6+
Final GradeB+
Final ThoughtsPerfect for any Mario fan or a board game fan looking for a new take on a old game.

Have you played Monopoly Gamer Edition?  Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear your opinions.

***Disclosure:  The opinions stated here are the honest opinions of Mommy and Ninja.  We purchased this product at full retail price and were not compensated for this review in any way nor asked to give a positive review.***

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Turmoil (PC)

Turmoil Start Screen
Turmoil Start Screen

In my days playing tycoon/management type games, I must admit that I’ve never been a rags-to-riches oil tycoon.  I’ve been a lemonade stand tycoon, a roller coaster tycoon, a zoo building tycoon, a drug tycoon and many more than I care to list.  Turmoil is definitely the first time I’ve been an oil tycoon.  This game was purchased as part of a Humble Bundle (More details about the current Humble Bundle can be found here.), Best of 2017 which is available until February 20th, 2018.

Turmoil Information

Mommy and Ninja RatingB
Available PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, iPad
Available FormatsDigital
Platform Reviewed onWindows (Steam)
GenreSimulation
DeveloperGamious
PublisherGamious
Release Date(s)June 2, 2016

Parent’s Information

Steam doesn’t require ESRB ratings to sell games, so this section won’t show you the ESRB or the PEGI ratings for the game.  So, I’ll have to rate it myself.

There’s nothing at all inappropriate here.  Unless the fact that there is a saloon in the game (at which no actual drinking occurs) is offensive to you, this is one of the least offensive games I’ve played in a long time.  Would I let the ninja play it?  Sure.  Can he play it?  He’s 6, so management games aren’t really his bag.  You don’t technically have to be able to read, but it would be helpful if playing campaign just so you know what people are saying to you.

There is no sexual content or nudity, no foul language, no drug/alcohol references (other than the presence of the saloon).  It’s pretty non-offensive.

Is it good?

That’s what everybody wants to know, isn’t it?  Well, it’s not bad.  Turmoil isn’t going to win and Game Of The Year awards (or rather didn’t), but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing.  There is something to be said for a game in the management/simulation genre that gives you a new experience…even if it is only in the subject matter.  Overall, the game offers the same basic fare as any other genre game.  A couple of buildings, a slew of upgrades…nothing too extraordinary here.  The simplicity is the beauty of this game.  It’s intended as a casual game and what you see is what you get.

Gameplay

It’s a management game.  It’s easy to understand and easy to play.  The buildings are self explanatory (oil rig, oil silo…easy) and the upgrades are easy to figure out just reading the title.  The game has two modes:  Campaign and Sandbox.  Campaign guides you through a competition between you and your 3 AI-controlled rivals.  Competition is a bit of a stretch of the word, but you do bid on land against them.  Mostly, the AI is dense when it comes to bidding.  They will have a bidding war with 16 pieces of land still left unused and drive their prices up for no reason.  It’s an interesting aspect.  During the campaign, you spend your money on upgrades between the levels and then bid on another piece of land.  The levels are not challenging and overall, the campaign is not particularly challenging either.

Turmoil is beautiful in it’s simplicity, but that’s a downfall as well.  The gameplay is too simplistic.  One campaign will be just like the others.  There will be no real risk of losing.

Shady deal offer at the saloon
Shady deal offer at the saloon

Graphics and Music

As mentioned, this is a management game.  Those of us who regularly play these games aren’t in it for top-notch graphics and you won’t get that here.  Nonetheless, Turmoil is visually appealing especially in this genre.  I love the art style here.  That said, the graphics won’t be pushing the limits of your graphics card (unless you’re running something akin to an old Commodore 64).  The user interface is clear, concise and, more importantly, easy to see and read.  It is not cluttered with nonsense.

The music is catchy.  I caught myself more than once dancing with the music as I played.

Replay Value

In a management game, this is important.  Am I going to come back and play it again or am I going to blow my money on a few hours of fun and delete it?  This is one of those games that is too casual.  I won’t delete it, but it won’t be at the top of my list to play again.  Turmoil would be a good game to play while you’re doing something else, like waiting on hold with tech support on the phone or listening to an audio file.  This is a game that I would play while I was “watching” one of the Ninjas shows on Netflix with him.  You know, I watch the show with my back eyes and play with my normal eyes…  Replay value here is medium at best.

Overall Mommy and Ninja RatingB
Overall Gameplay4/5
Story/Plot3/5
Sound, Dialogue/Voice Acting4/5
Graphics4/5
Controls5/5
Pros-Unique
-Procedurally generated Sandbox levels
-Simple
-Easy to understand/play
Cons-Not particularly interesting
-Too Simple
Bottom LineNot a bad game. Pick it up on sale.

Final Thoughts

At it’s regular price (currently $9.99 on Steam), I would not say this is a good purchase except for the biggest fans of the genre.  As part of a Humble Bundle or at a 50% or better discount, this is worth picking up for someone who casually enjoys casual sims.  I’m not disappointed, but I would have been upset if I’d paid full price.  It’s a decent time-waster.

Review - Turmoil (PC)
Review – Turmoil (PC)
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Review: Humble Monthly Subscription

Today, we’re going to take a look at something that the ninja and I just found out about a couple of months ago.  The Humble Monthly Subscription.  We’ve already been taking advantage of our Humble Monthly offerings.  Humble Monthly comes from the company that gives us the Humble Bundle.

What is Humble Monthly?

Have you ever heard of Loot Crate?  Nerd Block?  [Insert the name of ANY subscription box here]?  That’s what Humble Monthly is.  Sort of.  It’s essentially like all of the subscription boxes available, but for PC games.  Each month you are subscribed, you will receive about 8-10 games for a set price.  I say about 8-10 because it does vary from month-to-month.  All of the bundles that have been released so far have an MSRP of over $100.

That number sounds a little better than it truly is, but it’s still an awesome deal.  The numbers they use are the regular price of the game.  Anyone familiar with Steam (or Humble Bundle) will know that they can get some kick-butt deals on a large variety of games.  Still a rocking deal, though.  Plus, some of the proceeds from Humble Monthly goes to charity.  You’re getting a great deal and helping a charity.  Does it get any better?

Humble Monthly February 2018
Humble Monthly February 2018

How much does it cost?

Over $100 dollars in games each month?!?  It must be expensive, right?  Honestly, that’s what I thought when I saw a list of the games from one of the bundles a few months ago.  Upon investigation, the price is actually quite reasonable.  Only $12 per month.  So, for a measly $12 you get 8-10 games?  Yes.  There were 8 games month, so each game cost only $1.50 which is a steal.

There are currently 4 subscription options:  Monthly ($12/mo); 3-Months ($11.67/mo); 6-Months ($11.17/mo) and 12-Months ($11/mo).  With the 12-Month Subscription, you basically get 1 month free.  All subscriptions are recurring, but can be canceled at any time during the subscription period to avoid the recurring charge.  There is also an option to gift a monthly subscription to a friend.  You can choose to pay with a credit card or PayPal.

What do parents need to know?

Parents, are you kids asking you for the Humble Monthly subscription?  Or maybe your kids are gamers and this is something you think they would like.  If they’re PC gamers, they probably would like this.  Do note that not all games are child-appropriate.  There are M-Rated games included in some of the monthly bundles and there is no way to tell what’s in it beforehand.  If this is a problem, you should check out the Humble Bundles offered instead, which are usually really great limited-time deals.

What types of games are included?

All of them.  If it’s a type of game, it’s included.  Seriously.  They’ve had AAA titles; they’ve had indies.  There have been action, simulation, survival, puzzle, sports and strategy games.  Any kind of game you can imagine.  The Long Dark (our PS4 review here) was in January 2018’s monthly bundle; I was upset that I missed that one.  March’s early unlock game is Dark Souls III and the Ashes of Ariandel™ DLC.  Past games have included NBA 2k17, Tomb Raider, Life Is Strange, Civilization VI, Resident Evil 5, Elder Scrolls Online and Quake Champions and that’s just going back 6 or 7 months.

What platforms are available?

The only guarantee is that all games will be available on Steam.  Beyond that, they make no promises.  Some games are also available on macOS and Linux.

What else do I get?

Dang!  8 games for $12 isn’t enough for you?  Well, Humble Bundle has you covered.  Not only do you get the games each month, but you also receive 10% off games in the Humble Store.  Still not enough?  You also get access to The Humble Trove.  The Trove contains Humble Originals and more.  You can download as many of The Trove games as you would like.  They are all DRM-Free games available to download for anyone with an active subscription.  As of 8 February 2018 there are 46 games in The Trove.  Some of the games were in previous bundles, but if you weren’t a subscriber at that point…that’s 40+ more games you just got access to.

What’s the catch?

You have to subscribe before the bundle details are announced.  They tell you what the early unlock game is, but not the remaining games in the bundle.  That’s it.  There’s no other catch.  And what’s better is that when you cancel your subscription, you keep the games.  All of them.  Forever.  Unlike a PlayStation+ or XboxLive Gold subscription, where you lose access to any free games, you keep these even without an active subscription.

Is it worth it?

Your mileage will vary, but $12 is a steal for these bundles.  Dark Souls III, for example is still $59.99 and the aforementioned DLC is $14.99 as of today on Steam.  If you were thinking of getting Dark Souls III, now is the time to buy Humble Monthly!  You can’t beat that deal.  If you weren’t, but might like it…still worth the subscription price.  If Dark Souls III doesn’t interest you in the least, maybe wait until next month…or take the gamble and do it anyways!

Where do I sign up?

Well, there is a limited-time offer that could earn you (and me) an $8 credit to use in the Humble Store if you click this referral link and subscribe.  Simple as that.  If that wasn’t enough to get you to sign up, there is a discount for first-time subscribers, making the cost $10.80 for your first month.  Clicking that link will make your first month essentially cost you $2.80.

Humble Monthly Review
Humble Monthly Review
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Review: The Boss Baby (Dreamworks)

The Boss Baby

Today, we’ll be taking a look at The Boss Baby.  William found this on Netflix this week.  I have his profile set to Netflix Kids and I told him that he can watch anything he can find there.  He typically watches Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch, Skylanders Academy and a handful of strange shows he’s discovered.  Occasionally, he will go looking for something different.  What he found was The Boss Baby.  I remember seeing the trailer and thought it would be cute, but never actually went to see it.

The Boss Baby
Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation and Fox Movies

Premise of The Boss Baby

***Low/Moderate Spoiler Alert*** The Boss Baby is a universal story showing how a new baby coming home impacts a family.  The story is told by Tim, The Boss Baby’s older brother.  He is an adult now and tells us the story of  of his 7 year old having wild adventures with The Boss Baby.  He has a wild imagination and often times his narration shows us a little embellishment to the original story.  The “big bad” in the movie is puppies.  Yeah, that’s right…puppies.  Cute, adorable puppies are the villain.

The Boss Baby was sent to the Templeton house to gather intel about Puppy Co.  Puppies are getting more love than babies and Baby Corp wants to know why.  The two begin their adventure.  I won’t go into further plot details in case you want to watch the movie.

The Good Things about The Boss Baby

There are quite a few good things here.  The animation itself is beautifully done, exactly as one would expect from a studio like DreamWorks.  The attention to detail when Tim goes off into one of his crazy imagination scenes is just superb.  And the switch back to reality is not a jarring experience.

The voice acting is top notch.  Alec Baldwin voices the Boss Baby, 7-year old Tim is voiced by Miles Bakshi and adult Tim is Tobey Maguire.  All three of them are absolutely fantastic.  Steve Buscemi is the CEO of Puppy Co., Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow are Tim’s parents.  I couldn’t say anything bad about the voice work if I tried.

There are some good lessons here.  Working as a team, the boys learn, is far more efficient that trying to go alone.  In the beginning of the movie, the boss baby tries to accomplish his mission on his own.  He soon finds out that working with Tim is a far better option.  Predictable, but a lesson is a lesson.  There is enough love in a family to go around; new babies don’t mean your parents love you any less.  Excellent lesson for those older siblings struggling with this.  Tim uses his imagination constantly, which is awesome.  He actually reminds me a lot of my son, who has an imagination about as wild as Tim’s.

The Bad Things about The Boss Baby

Just because you have good things, doesn’t make it a good movie.  The biggest issue I have with The Boss Baby is the lack of actual wit and humor.  Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t chuckle or snortle a couple of times.  Yes, I just made up a word.  Deal with it.  William was downright tickled at a couple of points.  More often than not, the humor is above the heads of children and far too one-note to be more than mildly amusing for adults.

 

The premise is solid.  It’s actually based on a children’s board book by Marla Frazee unsurprisingly called The Boss Baby.  I’ve not read the book, only reviews of the book after learning that the movie was based on it.  My son is a little past the board book phase.  The movie simply didn’t take into account that what works in a 36-page board book might not work in a 97 minute movie.  The story just wasn’t good enough to keep an adult’s interest.  That’s a shame, because any parent can relate to the premise.  The baby comes home and he (or she) is the boss.  They cry, you come running.  They poop, you change them.  The baby is in charge.

Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation and Fox Movies

 

What should parents know?

 

I’m not one of those helicopter parents or a parent that thinks her child should grow up in a bubble.  William likes what he likes and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.  Now, I do stop him from watching obvious things like Nightmare on Elm Street and Family Guy.  But, he knows exactly who The Simpsons are.  Mind you, it’s not because he’s ever seen the show…he plays Lego Dimensions, which they are featured in.  He loves to watch videos of Five Nights At Freddy’s on YouTube.  He’s going to be a horror videogame fan, for sure.

All of that being said, I’ll share what I believe some parents will want to know.  There is infrequent potty language. Note the wording there, words like “doody” and “fart.”  insults made by The Boss Baby include “you went to community college” and “brat.”  Tim’s imagination runs wild and is sometimes what some children may find scary…maybe creepy is a better word.  Tim and The Boss Baby hit/slap each other, but there is no extreme violence.

Overall, this is very much child appropriate.  Having watched it with William, I would definitely say most (if not all) 5 year olds can distinguish the difference between what is real and what is Tim’s imagination in the movie.  There are moments of peril or danger, but they aren’t scary.  Older children still won’t get the adult jokes and the heist theme that is geared toward parents, but may also find the movie less interesting than their younger counterparts.

The Future of The Boss Baby

A sequel is planned for 2021.  Alec Baldwin is in.

On December 12, 2017 there was an announcement that there will be a Netflix television series based on the movie.  It is to take place after the events of the movie.  The show is to premiere in 2018, but no release date has been published as of this writing.

What do Mommy and Ninja think?

Mommy:  Well, it kept William’s interest enough to watch it back-to-back…that’s a win 8 days a week!  It’s really not a good movie.  I wouldn’t recommend this to adults without children.  I chuckled a few times, but rolled my eyes more.  DreamWorks gave us a dud this time.

Ninja:  “I like it, because it’s awesome and it has a boss baby and he can talk.  And he’s making a plan against an evil villain, which are puppies.”

The Boss Baby Details

RatingPG (Mild rude humor)
GenreAnimated
Kids and Family
Comedy
StudioDreamWorks Animation
Runtime97 Minutes
Box Office$498.9 Million USD
Mommy and Ninja Rating
With a 2.5 out of 5, this should go without saying, but this is not a good movie. William enjoyed it thoroughly, which is why it rated as highly as it did. The humor just fell flat here.

The Boss Baby~

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Review: Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

We’ll be taking a look at Monolith Productions’ Middle Earth: Shadow of War.  Should you buy this game?  Should you buy this game for a child?  This is a long one.  I’ll have a TL;DR table of information at the bottom in case you need it.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post; it’s just before my disclaimer.

***This is a videogame review and while I make my best effort not to include spoilers, sometimes it happens.  If you have not completed Shadow of Mordor, there may be a spoiler contained in this review.  You have been warned.  This post contains affiliate links.***

Shadow of War General Information

Mommy and Ninja RatingYin_yang 50x50Yin_yang 50x50Yin_yang 50x50Yin_yang 50x50Half Yin Yang 25x50
Available PlatformsPS4, XBOX One, PC
Available FormatsDigital
Retail Disc
Platform Reviewed onPS4
GenreAction Role-Playing
DeveloperMonolith Productions
PublisherWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release Date(s)October 10, 2017
RatingsESRB: M
PEGI: 18
USK: 16
ACB: MA 15+

Parent’s Information

If you’re a parent here looking for whether or not your child should play this game, here’s the place to look.  Not taking into account the quality of the actual game, here’s what you need to know:

Here in the US, the ESRB rated this M for Mature for the following reasons:  Blood and Gore, Intense Violence  Click here for details.

In Europe, PEGI rated this as appropriate for 18 and older.  They stated the following: It contains: Extreme violence – Violence towards defenceless people. (They spelled defenseless wrong…)

In Germany, USK rated this for 16 and older only.  In Australia, the ACB rated this M, which means 15 and older for: Strong violence and online interactivity.

Would I let my child play it?  Well, he’s only 5…so, no.  He has walked into the room while I was playing and expressed a distaste for the way the orcs look.  He said he wasn’t scared, but he said they were scary and gross.  Anyways, mature is a good rating for this game simply due to the extreme violence shown.  You are quite literally chopping the heads off of orcs for much of the game.  In the Fight Pits, your orc may even hold up the severed head of his now dead opponent to show it to you.

If you’re totally okay with extreme violence and you just want to know what else you should know:  there is no foul language, no drug references and while Shelob (an important character) is very sexualized compared to the original media, there is no sex, simulated or implied.  

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