The Jackbox Party Pack Review

  • Developer:  Jackbox Games Inc.
  • MSRP:  $25
  • Rated Teen
  • Released on November 19, 2014 
  • Platforms:  PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Steam
  • Review:  ★★★★☆

The Jackbox Party Pack Review

Note:  Review based on a Xbox One copy.

It’s a party in here!  The Jackbox Party Pack from Jackbox Games is here, five games grouped together that will make you want to have all of your friends assembled at one time.  Ensuring you should have enough controllers to accommodate any size get together, each game actually has you use your phone or tablet as a controller.  As typical with a compilation, sometimes you will find some duds that will bring the mood of your party down.  In the case here, in a majority of the cases the games were hits, but that does not mean there are not a few flaws packed in as well.

The first game included in the collection is sadly one of the biggest disappointments as well, You Don’t Know Jack 2015.  The trivia game is hilarious as ever, featuring up to date references on pop culture.  The lovable host Cookie Masterson is back bring you to stitches with some of the old style rounds we know and love as well as new ones.  With fifty episodes to play through, it will give you plenty of questions to come back for.  Sadly it’s the controls that get in the way from making this the best game of the compilation.  If you choose to play by yourself you can use a regular controller no problem.  If you play with friends, everyone is required to use a phone or tablet.  The problem comes from a slight online lag in button presses this presents going from your phone to the console.  With two different groups, there was always the problem of the game not registering a button press as fast enough as it can affect your score, which becomes the biggest problem in the final Jack Attack round which scores you the biggest points.  The frustrations came to the point where several people just did not want to play anymore of it because of the controls, even though they loved the trivia questions.

Drawful, the next game in the compilation finds you and your friends using your phone or tablet to draw a word or phrase that the game specifically gives each person at the start of the round.  Once everyone has drawn what they were asked for, the game starts by showing one of the pictures.  Everyone but the artist of the picture types either what they think the picture is, or a good enough lie to fool everyone else.  You are then given the choice to choose from the lies and the correct answer.  If you guess correctly, you and the artist get points.  If a person picks someones lie, the person who wrote the lie gets points.  The game was a lot of fun, having a unique take on Pictionary of sorts.  The words or phrases  are always going to be very bizarre and hard to draw, which is a big part of what will make you laugh;  looking at whatever terrible picture your friend made to draw human chess or telekinesis.  The only negative we had for the game is the host, who unfortunately is just not very funny, even though she tries to crack jokes.

The absolute worst game of the compilation is Word Spud.  You and your friends are given a word on the screen and then one person types in something to finish that word.  As an example, someone is given the word rough.  They can type in morning to make rough morning.  The next person has to create something from morning, so on and so on.  After someone enters their submission, everyone else has the choice to either like or dislike it.  Each like nets the person a point, each dislike takes a point away from them.  For half of one game we were laughing at some of the words we created.  Soon, however, it became apparent that there was nothing else to this as most answers got likes and the dislike button was really never used.  The timer moves very slowly and we found ourselves wondering when the game would come to an end.

Lie Swatter is one of the more simple games in the pack, which does not mean it is not really fun or really hard at the same time.  The game, boasting that 100 people can play at once, goes through three rounds.  In the first two rounds, it will give you 7 “facts” from random categories.  You simply use your phone to tap whether the “fact” is true or false.  Get it correct, earn points;  be the fastest to get it right, earn a little bit of extra points.  The final round is basically the same thing, as it will give you 7 “facts,” but all from the same category.  What makes the game tough is many of the facts are fairly obscure from even the best trivia players.  What makes it a fantastic party game is that sometimes what is you find out to be true is much more outrageous than what they came up as a lie.  The categories themselves will sometimes be normal enough, such as being about water beds, but then wait until you get to a final round all with “facts” about buttholes, at least in our case, we were near in tears from laughing so hard.

The final game of the compilation happens to be one of the best on the compilation.  Fibbage XL is Fibbage, which you may have played on the consoles already, but with 50% more questions.  In Fibbage, you will be presented with a fact, such as “The Mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky is a ___.”  Everyone playing will submit one lie, something that they think could fool everyone else playing.  After everyone has submitted their lie, the game collects those on the screen with the correct answer.  If someone chooses your lie, you get points from each person that does.  If anyone actually chooses th correct answer, they get points.  The statements you get will sometimes be so crazy that you will laugh from those alone, but wait untill you see the les your friends create.  It might be morally wrong, but there is no better feeling than getting a room full of your friends to fall for your lies.  You Don’t Know Jack’s host Cookie Masterson comes over to host here as well, though unfortunately his hosting duties are cut back much more than in the trivia game.

The Jackbox Party Pack is not perfect, featuring a frustrating, gameplay related, multiplayer version of You Don’t Know Jack and the drabness of Word Spud.  On the other hand you have the three excellent party games with Drawful, Lie Swatter, and Fibbage XL.  Even You Don’t Know Jack 2015 will still bring you hours of trivia humor if you play by yourself.  There is plenty of content in each game that can occupy your get together for hours without running into the same question, category, or word in fact.  Avoid the trouble areas from killing the atmosphere, but if you play the right games, you will have a parties that will still entertained all night for quite some time.

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