An interesting and fun little game that will keep you busy for hours. This game has many of the features that have made both Monopoly and The Game of Life so popular both as board games and as software renditions. The goals for the game are simple, make as much money as you can and drive the other players out of business. You must buy and sell goods, buy and upgrade properties and collect rent whenever one of your opponents lands on one of your properties. It is not just a mindless game but you actually have to think about what you are doing in the game or you will not have any money left to take care of business when it is your turn again.
As with The Game of Life you have to spin the wheel of fortune to find out where you are going to move. Not only does it control how far you move but there are also event and cards that are available on the wheel as well. As to the events, they can be both good and bad, from landing you in the hospital for several turns or giving you an edge against your competition. You can also get cards that can be used during your turn that will either give you discounts on goods, modify your count of spaces that you are to move or give you an insurance card that keeps you from missing turns. Another way that the game is like Life is that the way the board is laid out, it is not square but curvy and following loosely what the roads might be like in the particular city that you are playing.
Trade Mania starts you out in Seattle and you need to own a certain amount of the properties for you to be able to continue too the next level. When you start the game takes you step by step through all of the functions that you are able to do in the game. It shows you how to buy and sell goods, how to upgrade your properties, how to buy the properties and how the cards work in the game. Any time that you encounter something that has been encountered by you for the first time the game will describe for you in detail how to manage and do the task that is at hand. Once you have mastered these skills and don’t want the tutorial active any more you just click “End Tutorial” and the game wont prompt you any more about what is happening in your turn. At first you might think the whole game is not very user friendly but after just a few minutes you will find that the game is actually very intuitive and allows you to play at your own pace. Since the game is turn based you are able to take all the time you need to figure out what you are going to do next.
One nice thing about the different areas or lots that you land on is the little “I” or information icon that is on the picture of the lot when you are prompted to either buy or trade during your turn. Clicking on the icon will give you real world information about that lot. You get a little synopsis of its history and how it is important to the city that you are playing in. You can actually learn something from this game instead of just trying to crush your opposition and run them into bankruptcy and ruin. The music for the game is also upbeat and broken enough to not become repetitive and maddening. The sounds in the game compliment it instead of distracting from it. The makers of this game coded it well and took esthetics into account when deciding what kinds of music and sound was used in the game. This was not just thrown together and rushed out the door, sure it draws from other games but in a way that makes the game even better then the parts that were built upon.
When playing the game you are able to make it your own. You are able to choose your name, your avatar and even the color of your game piece. Being able to do those little things allows a player to be drawn into the game and feel that it is themselves that is playing and not just something that they see on the computer screen. It give immersion even though the game is played much like a board game. It is these little attention to details that make this game stand apart and make it one that you will find yourself always coming back to for fun and diversion. Even the colors and the maps make it seem more then just a game.
On the board are several ways to be able to make money with instead of just collecting rent, though you can increase rent buy improving properties. Some ares of the board when you land on them give you instant money to be able to use. Other areas will give you cards and events that can also increase your funds. Another way as well is that on each area of the board you are able to buy and sell goods. For example you can buy pipes on one area for 4k and then on another area sell them for 8k or more, it just depends on the supply and demand that the game keeps track of. You can’t just sell anything, sometimes if you sell you would actually loose money as they are not paying as much for the item. Sometimes the items that you have in your vehicle are not even being bought and then you have to either throw them away or hold on to them to sell later at another lot. If you are shroud enough you can make a very big profit on just the sale of goods.
Your character moves around the board in a vehicle, even though you do not actually see one. The only time that you see the vehicle that you have is when you are trading goods or have landed on a vehicle lot where you can upgrade to a bigger one. The size of your vehicle determines how many goods you are able to have on you at one time. You start the game with a scooter which holds just 2. With just 2 you can’t really make a lot of profit buying and selling. To make the real money you need a larger vehicle such as a truck or rig to get materials really moving. The only time you can upgrade is when you land on the vehicle or car lot. Once on the lot if you have enough funds you can get the next vehicle that is available. When you do buy it you will also get to see what the next sized one is and how much it can carry. The more you can carry the more types of material you can buy and sell.
If you like the Game of Life and love to play Monopoly then you are going to absolutely love this game. With all the interesting sounds, fun music and interesting information and news you see in the game you will find it hard to get bored with this game. Once you start you just don’t want to stop playing this game.