GAME NAME: Jackbox Party Pack
DEVELOPER(S): Jackbox Games
PUBLISHER(S): Jackbox Games
PLATFORM(S): Xbox One
RELEASE DATE(S): November 18th, 2014
I love a really good party game, especially if trivia is incorporated within the game. Jackbox Games, which is an independent developer from Chicago, Illinois has created a party game that revolves around the extremely famous YOU DON’T KNOW JACK games. If you haven’t heard of YOU DON’T KNOW JACK then I seriously think you should consider leaving from under that rock. I’ve played those games for years when they originally were a PC only game and I enjoyed them immensely with all the slap stick humor and the absurd announcer. This Jackbox Party Pack consists of five games for the party enthusiast: YOU DON’T KNOW JACK 2015, Fibbage XL, Drawful, Word Spud, and Lie Swatter. These games are indeed multiplayer, but require everyone who plays to either use a smart phone, tablet or PC to connect into the game from a website the directly will link you into your party room. Once you choose multiplayer in either game (Some are multiplayer only) you will be given a “room code”, which you will enter on the jackbox.tv webpage and choose your name to be entered into the game.
YOU DON’T KNOW JACK 2015
This game is as original as ever and has the same feel that YOU DON’T KNOW JACK has had for many years. You can play this game solo if desired and are able to use the Xbox One controller to do so, but if you want to play with other people you will have to use your smartphone, tablet or PC to play the multiplayer option. That is actually kind of frustrating simply because if I’m having 3 people over they should be able to use controllers since the on screen buttons of your smart device literally shows the controller buttons. Either way, I dived right in using my smart phone and immediately noticed the same familiar announcer humor thrown at me with the typical rude humor that stuck with me for years. Each category has a “clever” name about it and is directed towards many subjects, especially in pop culture and will definitely keep you on your toes. There is a timer to each question of course and in between each question there is an animation for the next question #, but I found these all to be the same rehashed animations even on later episodes. There are 50 episodes to test your knowledge on with YOU DON’T KNOW JACK 2015 and the questions will definitely test your knowledge about categories that you may know nothing about. I did experience a problem about every time I played this game, which was when we were in the middle of the game our phones would get disconnected from the jackbox.tv server and was unable to reconnect. That was a huge issue for me since we would always be so close in points and it would kill the mood of that party experience.
You will need at least a minimum of 3 players to even start this one and of course each person will need a device to play. The game revolves around you being, shall I say “Drawful” at drawing whatever is needed. Once you login to the jackbox.tv you will be asked to draw a portrait and I drew a little mouse just because drawing on my phone is awkward, even though I wanted to draw a cool picture it just couldn’t happen. Everyone will get a turn to draw what they are asked to and everyone will have to guess what they think it looks like even if it looks “drawful”. This game is mainly another game I felt to be fun if there were maybe some drinks here and there to create a more interesting drawing approach, which can have a better and more humorous experience.
Word Spud is a game that is highly dependent on your imagination and whether your party members will approve. Having said that, this game can be hilarious if done right with people using either inappropriate word choices or just off the wall “that makes no sense” type of stuff. The game will start out giving one word and one player will be choosing the word that “should” go next, all the other players can type in suggestions that will float on screen for them to choose if they get stuck. Once a word is chosen everyone can vote on it whether it should be the word to go next in this sentence creating disaster. That is literally the whole premise of Word Spud and seems like it would be a fun party game with a lot of drinks involved to create absurd results.
This game can actually be played with up to 100 people and yes they will all need devices to play. There will be names or categories being thrown out for you to see the upcoming content and choose whether they are lies or the truth. Once a category is placed there will be many flies that expand per question and will give each player an opportunity to choose lie or truth. It is a race against the clock just like every other game within this party collection and honestly it didn’t seem to hold my attention as much as the others did for a bit. One thing I did like about this game was the fact you didn’t know what your score was until the end of each round and that made things tense on who we thought was winning. If you answered the fastest and were correct you will gain an additional 75 points, which can make a big difference when you answer the fastest on all the questions.
Now this was by far my favorite game on the whole Jackbox Party Pack. Fibbage XL is definitely a game that will keep you guessing and wonder what the truth really is. You will be given a question or sentence and you will be required to create an answer or ending to a sentence. The whole point of this game is to “Fib” and make your typed out word or words to be believable among the other players. Once everyone has chosen their words then the game will place their the answers from everyone on your device’s screen along with one that is the game’s “Fib” and one that is the real answer. I had a lot of fun creating answers that literally seemed real even though they were far from the truth and I constantly had angry faces being made at me for being so creative that it was believable. If you guess the right answer then you obviously gain the most points and if someone chooses your “Fib” then you will gain a few points for being cleverly deceitful.
All of these games are not graphically intense and they don’t have to be since these are party games. The sounds are just buzzes and noises created around the questions to make a more enjoyable experience. The announcer was definitely the most focused area on the sound, especially in YOU DON’T KNOW JACK since that game is highly dependent on the announcer’s humor. Jackbox Party Pack’s soundtrack is very fitting with creating the party mood and at times tense feelings when time is running low. There is no online multiplayer and usually on party games I wouldn’t mind, but having the requirement of needing a smart device or PC to login to a website just to play the game is a feature that seems to beg for online play.
Jackbox Party Pack is definitely a lot bundled in one game with five to choose from. This game is digital only for $24.99 and seems like a good value, but since everyone will need a smart phone, tablet or PC to join in the fun it makes this game unplayable for people without any of those. There should’ve been an online option since devices other than controllers were required for play and that can cause a problem for most that might not have one accessible. The concept is definitely cool with using other devices to play, but since I experienced server disconnects quite often I got quickly annoyed and it seemed to ruin the party mood. If they didn’t have a lot of server disconnects then I probably would’ve given this a bit higher review, but since it requires the use of their web interface on smart devices it seemed important to have that function working properly. Fibbage XL was definitely the game I constantly went back to and I would probably buy another full game of just Fibbage for $9.99 alone, especially if they implemented online play.