It’s almost inevitable that at some point a Jackbox game will make an appearance whenever I get together with mates for a few drinks. It’s easy to forget just how long the series has been around. Infact, a new game pack has been released every year since the very first back in 2014.
Today, thanks to technological advancements and our lives moving pretty much entirely online during the pandemic, players have taken to streaming their copies of Jackbox to bring online multiplayer functionality to the party. There is nothing built into the game itself in terms of matchmaking, and instead streaming is positively encouraged.
For those who are unaware, The Jackbox Party Pack 8 (just like all the others) is played via your mobile phone. Just one person needs to own the game, who will then create the room for others to join. You can also have the room code read aloud by hitting up on the D-Pad as players are joining. The best way to play is still gathering your mates round the telly for some local co-op or competitive carnage.
As usual, this latest pack contains five games of varying types. The main menu will tell you what genre of game is on offer, along with the minimum players needed and roughly how long a match will take. If you wish, a family friendly mode can also be toggled on and off depending on your audience. But let’s take a closer look at each game in The Jackbox Party Pack 8.
Drawful Animate is the first on offer, which is actually a sequel to a game from the original Jackbox pack. Players can choose from themed rounds created by the Jackbox team or they can make their own if they wish. However if they don’t want to bother with customising the content, they can just dive straight in.
The aim here is to draw a moving picture consisting of two frames in an attempt to describe something. The other players have to guess the correct description of it, whilst also providing decoys to throw others off the scent. Players get points for guessing correctly, but the creator will get more points from multiple players matching the description to their picture. Players can also double down for more points and award likes for the efforts of others, so if you don’t win on points, you may be named the most popular as a consolation prize.
Drawful Animate is a right laugh, especially if you are terrible at art like me. It’s also a lot of fun trying to fool other players with accurate but incorrect descriptions of whatever monstrosity they have created. The options to personalise the categories give this one a lot of replay value.
The second in the pack is quite a mouthful, entitled The Wheel of Enormous Proportions. It’s a trivia based game in which players race to be the first to earn 20,000 points. They earn wedges for correct answers which can be placed on the wheel at the spin stage.
After this, players then take turns to spin the wheel and may win points or lose them to others, depending on where they land. This cycle of answering questions and spinning for points continues until the first player reaches their 20,000 point target.
It’s at this moment where the player in the lead can spin to win, however the odds are stacked against them as the skull (or lose) segments outnumber the win segments at first. If they don’t succeed, the game continues as normal until a winning spin is achieved
The Wheel of Enormous Proportions is good fun, especially for those who like quizzing combined with the element of chance. It’s also a fairly quick game if you’re looking for some brief thrills, and you only need a minimum of two people to play.
The next game, Job Job, is all about word play. Players answer questions using as many words as they can. These are then jumbled up and they must choose their words carefully to answer a new question, with often hilarious results which make little sense.
Players pick up extra points for using the same word as their opponents, as well as if they win votes for their answers being the most amusing. There are three rounds in total, with an increasing amount of points available in each.
Job Job takes place under the guise of an interview with some cracking old school WordArt and motivational posters to boot. It’s a good laugh depending on how far you and your friends want to push your use of language.
The Poll Mine is a game about preference and personality, and is actually my least favourite. Players are split into teams, ranking their answers in response to a question. Each team then takes it in turns to guess their opponent’s list of answers and the order they have been sorted into, a bit like in Family Fortunes/Family Feud.
There are three rounds, and torches are offered to the top answers in the first, then those placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th before finally being awarded for players guessing the answers in reverse order. During the final round, if a team runs out of torches (one is lost for each incorrect guess) and their opponents guess correctly, they lose.
There is also a “Streaming Mode” which allows your group to play against a random online audience for a different challenge. The Poll Mine is a guessing game that may reveal a few interesting nuggets about who you play with, but ultimately it’s not as entertaining as the other games in the collection.
The final game in The Jackbox Party Pack 8 is Weapons Drawn, which is similar to games such as Among Us which have recently seen the social deduction genre hit it big. Yes, there’s a murderer on the loose and players must figure out who it is before it’s too late. What better way to do that than by distracting others with more murders? Well, the twist here is that you’re all murderers as well as detectives.
Crucial clues are drawn by players, and these are used to try to solve the crime. However, the real aim is to stitch up your opponents and appear innocent for as long as you can. Each player also has a calling card which can reveal their identity to the others, unless concealed properly.
Points can be earned by guessing correctly who is innocent or guilty of each murder, along with every attempt on your accomplice’s life. The trick is making sure that their name doesn’t reveal who they are partnered with. Murders are presented in pairs, so if players decide to try and solve the murder you have committed you’ll need to skillfully try and convince them to go for the other one.
It’s hard to describe on paper, but Weapons Drawn is an interesting take on the social deduction genre which benefits from having as many people playing as possible. As such, you’ll need a minimum of four for this one.
Each game once again has its own theme song in The Jackbox Party Pack 8. Up to ten players can get involved, with space for up to a whopping 10,000 audience members.
Overall The Jackbox Party Pack 8 is another splendid serving of mini-game madness. There’s nothing radically new or different here, but the same established formula works as well as ever, especially when your mates are up for a game or two.
Pick up The Jackbox Party Pack 8 from the Xbox Store, fully optimised for Series X|S