Console: Nintendo Wii, Players: 4 local/ online, Publisher: Nintendo/Square Enix, Release date: 28/12/2011
I’m trying to resist the urge to become the world’s most cynical games reviewer ever so I approached Boom Street with an open mind. It delivers what it sets out to do, but I could sum this game up in about 8 words. Boom Street is a game developed by Square Enix and published by Nintendo and this made me slightly excited when I saw the names coming up. All I can say is, it must be a different department to the guys who made Final Fantasy.
I was expecting a Mario Party style mini game bonanza with a monopoly style board where you purchase property and collect debts and I was wrong… very wrong, the first half anyway. The game is monopoly styled but it’s unfair to judge it purely on that. It is fair however to judge it on the mind numbing boredom I endured to play it for a significant amount of time to write a fair review.
The premise of the game is that you roll a dice, you move your character and you buy property. If that’s not quite as exciting as you’d expect then you can play the stock market by buying stocks which increases the strategy slightly (if you land on a space that lets you). You also have to collect 4 suites and return to the start to ‘level up’ which gives you more money. The problems start when you notice that each computer player is ranked D, C, B, A or S. This doesn’t affect the characters ‘skill’ at the game it just gives them magical pre-determined dice rolls. For example if you play against an S class character you can expect him to be rolling perfect rolls constantly and buying all the best property. Your rolls are entirely random so if you do badly within half an hour you have to restart the game for a chance of winning or play for another 2 hours while the S class computer makes stupid noises and gets all the best stuff. There is no skill in playing against the computer; it’s basically your luck versus cheating.
Therefore the best part of the game must be the multiplayer- but for the life of me I couldn’t convince anyone to play. Even my girlfriend came round and she wouldn’t play, and I quote “I won’t play it because it looks rubbish, and I usually like stupid games”. So I can only imagine the sheer joy we would have had playing it.
The game is presented well, however it seems like a lazy design decision to make the boards you play on float above the same world. It just doesn’t look very exciting. The characters are annoying too, but thnkfully you can disable their constant text bubbles in the menu.
I’m sure someone out there believes this game is a gift to the gaming world that delivers buckets of fun, and I’d guess that person also enjoys watching grass grow or paint dry. In short if you want a fun party game, go and play Mario Party or Wii Sports. If on the other hand you want an electronic board game that allows you to purchase property, stocks and be repeatedly dominated by a cheating computer, then Boom Street is probably for you.