I can’t remember a get together where I haven’t fired up Quiplash for a few rounds of drunken banter. It’s almost as hard to believe that the latest Jackbox release is the sixth compilation, this time around featuring five games.
There’s only way one to road test a Jackbox Party Pack. Get some friends round, crack the beers open and let the antics begin. So that is exactly what I did.
Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Jackbox games, let me quickly bring you up to speed. One person, who owns the party pack, will host a room for one of the games. Then, using smart devices, others can join by typing in a randomly generated code which pops up on screen. All players then play via their, let’s say phones for arguments sake, whilst watching the action play out on the screen in front of them. It’s speedy and simple to set up, even when you’re a few beers in.
If you are unlucky enough to not secure a place in the game as a player – the max is usually 8 – you can still join the audience. Depending on the game, you can even win as an audience member, which helps to keep everyone invested.
First up in The Jackbox Party Pack 6, and the only sequel featured, is Trivia Murder Party 2. The scene is immediately set by a brilliantly stylised intro sequence. Basically, you’re trapped in the “Murder House” and need to use your general knowledge to escape the madman who is running the show. If you get a question wrong, you’ll need to play a mini game to survive. These range from games of chance to memory tests, and there are lots of them to keep things varied.
If you lose, you die but still play on; your only hope laying in the final dash to the exit. Here, all players answer multiple choice questions and move ahead for each correct answer. If a dead, or ghost, player leapfrogs the leader, then can steal their life force and go on to win. The final round is thrilling stuff, and usually goes down to the wire.
A round of Trivia Murder Party 2 lasts a decent amount of time, on average 15 minutes or so. The only snag is that some questions are clearly aimed at an American audience, and therefore can be very difficult to answer for us across the pond. Otherwise it’s loads of fun, and most likely the strongest game of the lot.
Next up is Dictionarium, a pretty simple but fun word game. Your job is to create definitions for made up words. Your ultimate goal is to get your new word into the dictionary. In later rounds you’ll be using it in a sentence, and it’s here where things can get ridiculous.
Dictionarium is fun but the weakest game of the collection. It lacks the replayability of the others, mostly due to how simple it is. That’s not to say it isn’t fun for a time, you’ll just be playing the other games far more often.
Role Models is the third game in the collection. To kick things off all the players vote on which category to play with. Shortly after this you are challenged to match your fellow players to categories, and see where the common ground lies within the group. It’s always a beautiful moment when everyone matches the same category to one person, which is certainly possible.
Role Models adds a bit of social science into the mix and is a fun way of testing just how well you know your friends, and they know you.
Joke Boat is next, and a strong contender for my personal favourite. You and your mates are competing to be the best amateur comedian aboard your cruise ship. Once your killer joke has been constructed, you’ll be performing it live on deck.
To build your joke all players randomly suggest topics, then use pre-created sentences to structure your jokes. Once you get the hang of it, you can try and set yourself up for some absolute crackers. In the end, you only have full control over the punchline which you can type freely without restriction.
After you’ve performed your lovingly crafted joke, the final round offers you a chance to rewrite other people’s in an attempt to make them funnier. Throughout the game your fellow comedians will vote for which they find the most amusing.
Joke Boat is a genuinely hilarious game which, step by step, guides you into creating some brilliant jokes. The tone of the game is light-hearted and slapstick, which when compared to jokes you may tell which are more serious in tone just makes everything even funnier.
Then last but by no means the least game in the pack is Push the Button. Aliens have uploaded a virus onto your spaceship, and it turns out one of you onboard is an imposter. You must find out who, all before the ship’s AI is destroyed by the virus. The AI will aid you by putting each crew member through various tests.
When you think you’ve found the alien, you need to push the button. This will then take you to a final round where you must all vote on one person to jettison from the ship. Get it right and you’re saved, but get it wrong and it’s game over.
You can’t take too long to make your decision either, as time is ticking away in the corner of the screen. If you wish, you can also tap the hurry up button to speed up people who are taking too long.
Push the Button is the only game that really needs to be played locally as discussion and flinging accusations are needed to get the most from it. However, it’s a great take on card games such as Mafia or Are you a Werewolf?, where as a group you must identify the disguised threat from within.
Of course, in every game of The Jackbox Party Pack 6 you’re playing to win, be it either points or money. You’ll be competing against your fellow players and fighting for their votes in one way or another. Each game has a distinct style, it’s own personal look and feel, and is really well presented. From alien shapeshifters to the the captain of the “Joke Boat”, the range shows there’s something here for everyone.
If you can’t get your mates round to play, there is another way to enjoy The Jackbox Party Pack 6 on Xbox One. You can join streams on platforms such as Mixer to play against random players worldwide, or setup your own stream if you feel confident of attracting viewers and players globally. To retain control, from the settings menu you can make your Xbox pad start the games, instead of it falling to the first player to enter the room via their device. Despite this alternative, local multiplayer still proves to be the best way to play; interacting with people is what Jackbox games are all about.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 does what is has always done well, no better or worse this time round really. The key thing to consider when deciding on whether to buy this game is if you’ll be able to get enough friends around the TV regularly enough to play it. If you can’t, you’ll be missing out on a key part of what makes these games so fun to play.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 on Xbox One is another solid compilation of games guaranteed to make you laugh. You’ll struggle to enjoy the full extent of what this bundle has to offer without getting your mates round, however if you do you’ll struggle to find a more entertaining way to spend an evening.