The Game of Life is one of those classic board games you can probably count on finding in the collection of most households (along with the likes of other mainstays like Monopoly, Mouse Trap and Twister). It’s a game I played a handful of times as a child – racing cars around a brightly coloured board is about all I remember – but one that hasn’t left quite the same mark as some of those other previously mentioned examples. With the Nintendo Switch playing host to a number of board game adaptions, The Game of Life 2 seemed like a perfect opportunity to revisit this oldie and see if it’s still worth journeying through life.
The aim of The Game of Life 2 (much like the original) is to try and live the best life possible, your journey steering you through education, a career, starting a family and other important choices. The game is fairly straightforward, spinning a disc to determine how many moves your token/car will move around the board whilst making decisions as you go that will either prove fruitful or punish you. Unlike a number of other Switch board game adaptions like Wingspan or Pandemic, The Game of Life 2 is easily accessible and the kind of game you’d likely break out at a family get together.
In the original game, winning mainly came down to who had the most money, but with the sequel, you’ll need to pay attention to your happiness, wealth and knowledge. It’s like they say, money isn’t everything. This does make your choices feel a little more strategic allowing you to aim for something beyond financial gain like simply enjoying life through a cruise. And that’s pretty much the rules of the game.
Despite the number in the title, The Game of Life 2 sticks fairly close to the blueprint laid out in the original game and after a few rounds, boredom and repetition starts to creep in. At the end of the day, all you’re doing is spinning a wheel and making choices – not exactly the most demanding in terms of brainpower – and overall it results in a game that lacks any real excitement or satisfaction. Repeated plays soon start to reveal that the choices you make will be pretty similar game to game and it’s something that feels like it could have benefited from some mini-games to break up the monotony of moving about the board and help keep the player feeling more involved.
Even the boards (of which there are three) could have helped shake things up a little more but sadly amount to little more than skin swaps. Sure, the job role names and environment’s appearance may have changed, but the board at its core offers nothing unique. The game features unlockables but these are purely cosmetic and hardly feel worth the effort it takes to earn them.
The Game of Life 2 is a fairly faithful adaption of the original board game – complete with a few minor tweaks – and is an okay distraction for a few rounds. However, minimal variety, content and a general lacking feel of excitement leave The Game of Life 2 far behind other board game offerings on Nintendo Switch right now.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Marmalade Game Studio