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Boom Street Review

Boom Street Review

Despite gracing Japanese gaming consoles since 1991, until the release of Boom Street (Fortune Street in North America) audiences around the world had almost no exposure to the Itadaki Street series. Instead, they were only teased by games which combined the likes of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Mario all into one unique and interesting board gaming experience. But those days of teasing are over, with Boom Street attempting to convert Western gamers away from their classic Monopoly board game, and onto something a bit more complex.

Designed to be a sequel to Itadaki Street DS, Boom Street features characters from the Mario and Dragon Quest franchises - those hoping for Final Fantasy characters will be out of luck. There's a pretty good selection from both sides, with the typical Mario troop appearing and a strong array of Dragon Quest characters from down the years being represented. There are also a few unlockable characters, one of which is Princess Peach.

Anyone who's familiar with Monopoly will get a moderate sense of comfort, as in many ways, Boom Street has a similar premise. There are multiple players and as you move around the board you're tasked with buying up properties. The more properties you own in a region the better and there are also the equivalent of "chance cards" to help keep things interesting. But that's where the similarities stop, as Boom Street goes a lot deeper than the physical board game of Monopoly is capable of.

Aside from buying up properties, one of the core mechanics in Boom Street is the ability to purchase stocks. It's a crucial element, because it helps to negate the element of luck - to a degree. When going around the board, properties get snapped up pretty quickly and it's all on the luck of the dice which properties are landed on. So, you could end up in a scenario where a few of the players have a ton of properties, while another has hardly any. However, due to the ability to purchase stocks, it's still very possible to win the game.

It opens up a whole new level of strategy, as up until the later stages in the bigger games, you'll be making minimal revenue from people landing on your properties. The best way to make money, is to invest money in stocks in a region you have a strong foothold in, and to upgrade the properties there. This causes the stock price to increase, raising your capital without having to do much. However, anyone can purchase stocks in any district. If you see that someone is attempting to bolster a certain district, you can pre-empt it by stocking up in that region. This might then cause them to re-think their plan, because by generating revenue for themselves, they will also be generating revenue for their rivals. In short, you can profit from your opponent's success.

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