I’m a business man, or at least, I’d like to think of myself as an entrepreneur of sorts. I watch Dragon’s Den, I dabble in the stock market, and I, well, let’s be honest, I play video games. So when I heard of Fortune Street, a Monopoly-cross-Nintendo situation, I was pretty excited. After playing the game, however, that quickly faded. Maybe it was a result of my high-hopes for the title, or the dual Nintendo and Square Enix branding that led me to think this game would capture me the same way Super Mario 3D Land did, but those hopes were sorely misplaced.
It’s not all bad. In the end, this is a board game on a console, and while those tend to be pretty lame, this one is better than most. Bright like Mario Party, entrepreneurial like Monopoly, the game suffers from a really slow pace that I just couldn’t get away from. I mean, Risk plays faster than this game, and that thing takes a half hour just to set up!
The game functions almost identically to Monopoly in its most basic way: you land on spaces, purchase them, they become your property (a store pops up in Fortune Street), and other players who land on it have to pay you cold hard moolah. You can upgrade your shops, increasing the money charged when a player passes them, thereby increasing your net worth all the same.
The game splits from the Monopoly-style at that point, however. You play in one of two settings, and while you might think that changes the computer’s strategy, it actually changes the rules. I played in Easy mode most of the time, if only because I didn’t want to bother changing my play style. But in standard mode, the game switches into a district set up where you have to pool your properties in the same area to get bonuses for multiple properties.
Then you can throw in stock market fluctuations and chance encounters in mini-games that switch things up a bit, taking the entire game away from pure skill and throwing in the requisite chance element. The game gets very interesting when you really want to mess with your opponents. If you’ve got a lot of cash to burn through, you can forcefully buy out your opponent’s properties (albeit at several multiples of the asking price), or offload a bunch of stock your opponent has invested in to make its value plunge. Just be aware that your opponents can do the same thing to you!
Overall, Fortune Street is not a bad game. I’m probably a bit let down because of what I was expecting out of the franchise, and when I saw Dragon Quest characters in there as well, a game I’m not a huge fan of, it pulled me away from the experience a bit. With that said, it’s a title that is staying in my collection if only simply because it has the business and gaming aspects of my life that I love all rolled into one tidy, albeit slow-paced, little package.