The Jackbox Party Pack 4 Review

Publisher:  Jackbox Games

Developer:  Jackbox Games

MSRP: $24.99

Rated:  Teen

Release Date:  October 19th, 2017

Platforms:  Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

Rating: ★★★☆☆

This review is based off a Nintendo Switch review copy from Jackbox Games.

Over the last couple of years, any time I have a big get together, inevitably one of the Jackbox Party Packs gets played.  They’ve had a great run of compilations that have had some fantastic games, guaranteed to get everyone playing laughing hysterically at one point during the session.  Naturally each Party Pack is only as strong as the 5 games contained.  With Fibbage 3 anchoring 4 new titles, we had plenty of expectations how everything would hold up under an intense party spotlight.  Not every game was able to stand up to the test as this latest pack has a few duds that get carried by the rest.

Fibbage 3

The first and game in the pack, and easily the one we were most excited for, is Fibbage 3.  If you’ve never played Fibbage, it’s all about lying to your friends.  You are presented with a fact, with the object of the fact being blank.  It’s up to everyone to create the best lie to try to fool the other players into picking that lie instead of the truth.  Beyond getting to be a sneaky with your friends as possible, the facts themselves are always obscure and humorous meaning fun all around.  The main game has all new facts and a slightly snazzier presentation to keep everything fresh from the first two games.

The secondary part of Fibbage 3 is a whole new mode called ‘Fibbage:  Enough About You’.  In this version, everyone is tasked with creating their own facts and lies about themselves.  Once you do this, everyone else gets the opportunity to add in additional lies to create the more traditional Fibbage format of trying to trick the other players.  Even if you’re playing with a family member who knows everything about you, if you get really creative with the lie about yourself, you can still trip them up just by being careful with your wording.  As fun as the normal game is, this new twist really deserves to be considered as a standalone entity that you might find yourself playing more than the regular.

Survive the Internet

Of all the new games, Survive the Internet happens to easily be the best, which also happens to be the second game in the pack.  Survive the Internet has a mix of different prompts where it typically will ask your opinion, such as “What do you think of Starbucks?”  Whatever you write as your answer will be passed on to another player who gets to be creative and decide what you were writing that opinion about as if it were a social media post.  The whole point is to make your friends look like terrible human beings and get the most laughs as people choose who made who look the worst.  The host is a little anemic and could use a shot of energy, but the rest of the presentation is amusing, set up like an old Windows 98 desktop and Internet Explorer Browser.  After trying a few games of this, it had just as good as a reception as Fibbage 3.

Monster Seeking Monster

Of all the new games, Monster Seeking Monster had us the most intrigued when it was announced, but turned out to be the biggest disappointment.  In it you will choose to be one of several monsters, each with their own special powers.  Using the in-game chat, you send messages to the other players and try to convince someone else to date you.  If you choose to date someone and they choose you, you both get a point for that round.  Otherwise if you get rejected, you might end up losing a point.  The special powers come into play with various effects, such as your monster might show in last place for the entire game even if you’re in first, with only you knowing this to give you a little extra strategy.  Another power could be if you are rejected, whoever rejected you loses a heart.

If you stick to a strategy, you could work your way to the top by breaking hearts and a little backstabbing.  However, in the two groups I played with, each time the first round just opened up with everyone sending dirty messages to one another for some quick laughs.  By round three of the five, most people became disengaged and were ready to move on.  It was really disappointing this became so boring so quickly, because the host actually does a great job and the presentation is one of the best on the pack.

Bracketeering

Everyone loves brackets, don’t they? NCAA brackets, fighting game tournament brackets, so why not make an entire game based on brackets?  Well, they certainly aren’t the life of the party as we found out in Bracketeering.  Each round you enter an answer to a bracket and then each answer is pitted against each other, one against one.  Whoever’s answer wins each pairing earns points, but everyone can earn points by betting on which will win.

For example, we were asked to write the name of a video game character.  With all the answer entered into the bracket, the full bracket was, “which video game character most deserves a vacation?”  There are a left and a right bracket, in which someone in the same bracket cannot enter the same answer.  There is nothing holding back the same answer being on both brackets, hence us having a finale Sonic against Sonic.  While the game isn’t necessarily bad, just going through one full bracket can take quite a bit of time depending on how many people are playing.  Beyond that, it just doesn’t elicit the laughs like Jackbox’s other games which you go in expecting.

Civic Doodle

The final game of the pack brings us to Civic Doodle.  You are tasked with helping out your community by submitting new murals for specific spots around town.  How this works is that you are pitted against another friend in making the best drawing under a time limit.  Everyone watching can submit emojiis for each picture as they’re being drawn, and then pick their favorite of the two.  The picture with the most votes is then passed on to the next two players who add to it.  The same process happens and then that picture is given to the next two players, so on and so on.  Eventually you will move on to the next spot and it starts again.

The drawing games in the pack are always a little hit or miss, just because even the best artist in the group isn’t going to be able to create anything that amazing by drawing on a phone with your finger.  Part of the fun can come from the terrible drawings, and Civic Doodle makes it fun by passing you a drawing that was already started.  One of the best parts can actually be once the mural is finished, everyone submits their choice for a title for everyone to vote on.  It definitely can add a funny punchline after you’ve already had fun drawing.

Overall

While we already knew Fibbage 3 would be a great addition just based on the previous versions, but adding in ‘Fibbage:  Enough About You’ really put it over the top.  Survive the Internet will certainly become a staple at your parties for some come to come, and even Civic Doodle should be your new go to drawing title.  However, Bracketeering just doesn’t bring the laughs you want when you’re throwing on a Jackbox game and Monster Seeking Monster is just a boring mess.  For a compilation like this, you can’t expect every game to be a gem, luckily Fibbage 3 and Survive the Internet carry the rest to still make this an attractive package.  As a full pack, this might not be Jackbox’s best, but it still carries enough laughs that your next party will be better for it.

 

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