The nights are getting colder and longer, there’s not much point venturing out now winter has arrived. It’s probably best you gather round with friends and family for a spot of fun and laughter. Board games can take an awfully long time to get going, so you’re far better off on console, which just happens to have a new party game in its library. After achieving a relatively positive response to their first and second packs, Jackbox Games are back with a third title. Can The Jackbox Party Pack 3 deliver a party experience worth delving into? Or will you be forced to locate that dusty old Monopoly?

Although a controller is necessary for launching any of the five party games, the entirety of the play time will be spent using a tablet, smartphone, or laptop, on a browser – there’s no app to download or anything. Obviously I can’t guarantee what combinations of devices and browsers definitely will or won’t work, however Firefox and Chrome browsers had zero issues throughout my sessions.

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Channelling the horror greats, Trivia Murder Party encapsulates a sadistic vibe for a killer quiz style game. A serial killer wants to end you and all your fellow players in a trivia game, where your in-game life depends on providing correct answers to him. Failing to do so results in those players getting sent to the kill floor for one last chance at survival in a range of mini-games that involve arithmetic, recreating patterns from memory and pot luck by choosing a non-poisonous chalice to drink from. Answer enough multiple choice questions and you’ll make it to the end-game – here you are presented with a chance of escaping by picking all the correct answers in front of you, in order to escape the ever-chasing shadow of death.

As the only real brain-testing game in the pack, it provides an eerie challenge that covers a really wide range of categories to be tested on. I like a good quiz and the setup is chilling enough for a dark night of gaming, albeit one that makes you laugh from time to time. The only drawback comes in the form of questions that can sometimes be more suited to our American counter-parts – a problem I’ve regularly discovered in Jackbox Games’ titles.

Does anyone remember “Play Your Cards Right”, where surveys were taken and people had to guess what percentage of people said a certain response, which then led to others guessing higher or lower than that to earn points for themselves? That’s basically how Guesspionage works, and it feels as dated as the show does on its 50th series re-run on the Challenge television channel.

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Everyone takes a few turns across some rather obscure surveys and points are earned for guessing really close to the exact percentage. The final round brings in a multiple choice question such as ‘Name the top female singers’ and a grid of names are given with three picks to be made. Least popular from the pre-launch survey gets the least points awarded, and the most popular clearly receives the most points. In truth, it’s a bit of a drag and was the only game in the pack that didn’t lead to genuine enjoyment.

Tee K.O. is at the complete opposite end of the scale – reminiscent in style of a Saturday morning Japanese cartoon – providing brightly coloured animals to represent players and a platform to unleash everyone’s creative juices. The idea is to draw logos or motifs, to go on any of the four different coloured backgrounds, and come up with a few slogans, before placing a combination of the two onto a tee. Then all players vote on which are there favourites during battles between the tees, to ultimately crown the winner from a final showdown of the round’s best tees.

It’s absolutely brilliant fun if you’re alongside creative minds, but incredibly tedious when no one can muster up a slogan for their artistic delights, or even draw up something in the first place. As long as you know the players well, you can decide for yourself how suited Tee K.O. is to your party; it’s not for just any old partygoer. If you’re in the U.S. then Jackbox will even allow you to send your design off to be printed for a relatively reasonable fee. What a great idea for a Christmas present – the look on their face when they unwrap a tee with their stick figure drawing plastered all over it!

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Ever wondered who’s the biggest liar amongst your friends and family? Fakin’ It will separate the ‘honest Jims’ from the ‘Billy liars’. An innovative concept, Fakin’ It gives random tasks to perform via each person’s device involving the following actions: raising hands, holding up a number using your fingers, facial expressions and pointing at others. One person won’t get the specifics of the task and will have to decide on the fly as to what they should do. For example, it may require you to be raising your hand if you’ve recently passed wind.

Subsequently, everyone must try and convince the rest that they aren’t a faker, explaining their response once the question is revealed to all. Blagging is the key to avoid being caught out and voted as the faker, but should you avoid detection from the majority for the whole round then you’ll be rolling in the points. I have to say, Fakin’ It is a double-edged sword; there’s great hilarity to be had from obvious fakers being embarrassed and a sad realisation that your whole family and network of friends are damn good deceivers. Still, bloody good fun and generates decent interaction with each other.

I left Quiplash 2 till last, mainly because it’s a terrific way to show off your wit and quick thinking. It’ll throw prompts to participants such as ‘An untitled Air Bud movie’, or ‘Places to put Grandma’s ashes’, to which everyone can try to impress each other with their best quip. Prompts can be hit and miss, but when it isn’t too ‘out there’, there are many laughs to be garnered from the often silly responses.

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Although not fond of having to do all the work myself, the option to create your own custom game, full of your own prompts that’ll be more specifically suited to the group, is a welcome one. Sure, it means extra effort, but think of all the preparation that can be done to ensure you’ve thought up the most hilarious and witty answers. Everyone will be super impressed and rave about what a top host you are…

The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a definite step up from its slightly lacking predecessor, with far more settings to tweak in regards to filters and audience participation. Although the number of players required fluctuates between games, having three ensures all are playable, with a maximum of eight for each one except Fakin’ It. The wide range of different games on offer provides quick bursts of fun, with a game for every type of gathering. Fakin’ It proves to be the all-round best experience, whilst Guesspionage is one to avoid. The rest all have good and bad points, but ultimately turn out to be enjoyable.

Physical board games are a thing of the past, as Jackbox have already shown with The Jackbox Party Pack 3 and their previous technologically geared game packs. This really is the future of party games; embrace it!

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