It seems in today’s industry, party games have gone the way of music/rhythm titles. They were once very popular but have now largely started to die out, with only a limited selection of titles to choose from. Of those titles, Jackbox Party Pack has always consisted of great games for the entire family to enjoy, and while the group at InformedPixel is nothing short of mature, we gave it a run through its paces to see we would recommend to our readers.
Jackbox Party Pack 3 is made up of five different board-like games, pitting you against your friends in a variety of different challenges. The one feature that has remained stable for these party packs was its support for mobile platforms. You see, the game uses your mobile device as the controller, meaning anyone can jump in and join, even if they are entering online through Twitch. This style of play makes it a very accessible option for anyone wanting to hop into a game, even if they’re nowhere near each other, as the majority of people do have a mobile device on hand. The comfortable style of player interaction is what makes Jackbox Party Pack 3, and the others in the series, an appealing investment, as it doesn’t require the use of expensive first-party controllers.
Enough about the game’s technology, though, how about the games? First, our favorite game out of the selection is Trivia Murder Party; a trivia game pointed at players who know a lot about useless information. By useless information, of course, I mean information that the average Joe may not know, such as “What animal statues are fixed on the top of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburger Gate?“. There are tough questions that each player will have to answer, and those who get it wrong are threatened with their in-game life. Intense situations and a small bit of fear play with the player’s feelings, making for an attractive style of gameplay. At the end of the game, the last player standing will then proceed to the outside world, followed by players who earned the most cash throughout the round. We dimmed the lights, to create a scarier atmosphere, but regardless, this is one game that everyone in our group enjoyed. The questions were difficult and built strategically to have even those who know the answer second guess themselves. I wouldn’t say it is an easy game by a long run, in fact, it’s just so obscurely difficult that it makes everyone give their head a scratch.
One game we didn’t quite enjoy was Guesspionage. The reason being that random people on the internet were surveyed, leaving it up to interpretation on how the general public answered the questions. The problem with this is that you will never be able to come up with an accurate statistic, and this game plays purely off that fact. The questions are presented as a guessing game, where players must use their best approximation to obtain a good score. It made the overall system very unrewarding, and the winner doesn’t feel any justification of his/her actions. I suppose when you develop five different titles for one party pack, you are left with one that doesn’t suit the same experience as the rest of the titles.
The game Fakin’ it provides a different experience. Players will have to judge their like-minded friends and family members based on their truthtelling. Each turn, players will be given a question on their mobile device except one player. The one who doesn’t receive a question is then forced to make something up and try to blend in with the crowd. Given my impressive poker face (Editor Note: This is a lie.), I was able to blend in relatively well when I was forced to fake the action. Of course, the actions involved are all profoundly silly, and each one revolves around incredibly bizarre behavior, such as making a certain face, holding some fingers up, or everyone pointing at a particular individual.
A fan favorite, Quiplash, made a return as Quiplash 2, with the added functionality of having players add-in their questions. This game focuses around asking a hypothetical question, where the player needs to enter in the missing words. At the end of the questioning, each player will then vote on the best answer, defined by whatever the individual feels like should win. Of course, you can be as crude as you want with this solution, combining swears and gross puns can bring you to victory, depending on the audience you play with.
Lastly, we have Tee K.O., a game which struck a chord with some and felt dull to others in the group. Similar to Quiplash, players will take turns choosing the best option, this time with t-shirts and quotes in place of answers to questions. After each player designs their shirts and quotes, they will receive a random assortment of other player’s shirts and quotes to match up. After which, the combinations will reveal themselves on the big screen, where everyone votes for the best pair. A feature I wish they would have implemented is the option just to design your shirt and quotes, and then give players the chance to vote. If you aren’t playing with like-minded individuals, this experience can get rather boring and dull, with quotes not aligning with the t-shirt designs. Everyone has to be on the same playing field to the full enjoy the gravity of Tee K.O., otherwise, you may receive a lot of weak, uninspired quote tee shirts. Depending on the level of professionalism in each player’s minds, shirts are as crude or as family-friendly as the individual decides.
Now and then, you just need to crack open your favorite drink with a group of friends and play a game. Usually, that means a board game or a video game, but rarely both. Jackbox Party Pack 3 is both and is a hell of a great value for the amount of entertainment it provides. Another bonus is that it is ultimately suitable for all ages, not just for those who are naturally immature. The developer, Jackbox Games, offers a warm-hearted experience for whoever is joining in on the festivities, and we couldn’t recommend this title more.
Jackbox Party Pack 3 is available for the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.
Thanks to Jackbox Games for providing us with a review copy of Jackbox Party Pack 3