(image credit: Nintendo)

“Mario Party 2” is avail¬able now on the Wii U eShop. This title, despite being older, falls in line with many mod¬ern design principles. It com¬bines the conventional nature of a modern party game with the wacky antics of a Mario title.

Slap in some of that ran¬domness that everyone loves and you have a true friend¬ship-ruining competitive and collaborative experience.

Each board is thematic, with characters costumed in relevance to the board. There’s Western Land, the spaghetti western train track board. Then there’s Pirate Land, a treacherous island lined with ships waiting to shoot you. There’s Space Land, in which tractor beams and space patrol are the main operating conflict.

Mystery Land is home to conspiracy and research, as ancient artifacts fill the land. Finally, Horror Land com¬bines frightening scenery with witchcraft and wizardry to make the culminating board.

The primary mechanics of “Mario Party 2” revolve around rolling a die to move on a board map, earning coins through minigames, and pur¬chasing stars.

The minigames focus on numerous different me¬chanics, from intense button mashing to rapid platforming, players will see nonstop hom¬age to the play style of Mario in a way that almost creates a genre of its own.

Unfortunately, unlike most installments of the se¬ries, “Mario Party 2” fails to innovate. It recycles most of the elements of the first game, including numerous minigames.

Despite a very charming aesthetic, this game falls short mechanically, and due to the repetitive nature of the boards it lacks the same replay value as other games in the series.

While it may not be the best in the series, “Mario Par¬ty 2” is one of the most easily accessible games to owners of modern platforms, and cer¬tainly strays away from the more dumbed down mechan¬ics of recent titles in the fran¬chise.

Owners of Wii U consoles looking for a fun party game to play with friends and fam¬ily should consider giving “Mario Party 2” a try.

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