The kings and queens of the party game are back. As punctual as ever, The Jackbox Party Pack has returned this Autumn with its ninth instalment. It’s time to get your phones out and grab your mates, it’s Jackbox time!
Once again The Jackbox Party Pack 9 consists of five games that are guaranteed to spice up your party plans. On offer here is quickfire wisecracking, head scratching trivia and often dreadful drawing in which everyone can get involved in.
First up is Fibbage 4, which is a callback to the very beginning. As you may have guessed, this is one of the longest running games having featured in the very first party pack. The premise is a simple one; try to decipher the truth from the fibs.
Each player is given a prompt and will then need to come up with a believable near truth designed to trick their opponents. It’s not just written prompts either, in this edition there’s a video round too. Not only this, but “Final Fibbage” will challenge players to come up with something that fits two statements simultaneously in a high stakes bluff where the most points of the game are up for grabs.
There is also another mode called Fibbage Enough About You, which offers the opportunity to pretty much slander others as opposed to making up silly facts. This works in the same way as the main game, but puts the players at the heart of the prompts which will test everyone’s sense of humour. It’s brilliant fun and a great party starter, with laughs aplenty and questionable in-jokes guaranteed
Next up is my favourite type of Jackbox game. The trivia one. Representing the genre this time around is the quickfire sorting game Quixort, and it’s a belter. Firstly you’ll need to split into two teams, then work together to choose a prompt and sort the answers into the right order along a timeline. If you don’t like the subject, you can take a chance on the mystery option.
However, these will fall at you like Tetris blocks and you’ll have to physically guide them to drop where you want on the conveyor belt below. Be careful though as not all prompts are genuine and will need chucking away. The tension ramps up seamlessly in Quixort, especially as you and your team frantically try to decide where to place each answer.
It doesn’t take long before one team is trying to put the other off during their turn too. Quixort will instantly expose the competitive players amongst you, and you may even learn some interesting facts along the way. What’s not to like?
There is also Quixort Forever, which offers that rare occasion in a Jackbox game where you can go it alone. In this mode you play until you run out of space, or “top out”. It’s a bit like Tetris where solid blocks stack if they aren’t sorted in the right order. This endless mode is a real test of how long your trivia knowledge can keep you going.
Junktopia is another new entry which joins the roster this time around too. It sees you creating interesting backstories for all sorts of random items in the hope of impressing your fellow players. Think of it like an enchanted version of bargain hunt.
I say this because you begin by searching for oddities during the shopping phase. Once you’ve made your purchases, they’ll need a name and a couple of interesting “facts” to boot. You can even write entirely your own prompts if you wish to go completely off script. Votes from other players, known as appraisals, will earn you cash. If you’ve done well, “flipping” your treasures will mean you have earned a tidy profit on them.
There are some pretty odd items in Junktopia, as well as others which are downright creepy, that allow players to get creative. The final round sees you vote for your favourite item set, although scoring matching ones is a small miracle in itself.
Nonsensory is next, and aims to test how much of a mind reader you are (or more likely, are not). You’ll answer certain prompts and other players will need to judge where they rank on certain scales. For example, you may be asked to name the star of a drama series but choose one which is only 30% likely to actually be used.
It’s a little confusing at first, but after a few rounds Nonsensory starts to make, well, sense. Leading players to the right place on the scale, or at least near it, will earn you points. If you’re somehow super confident, you can also lock in your choice for extra points.
Some rounds, including the final one, will require players to draw something. I must be honest, if one person is bad at drawing (as I am) everyone else will struggle. But I guess that’s part of the fun. There’s barely any logic to the written answers, so the visual ones often see you shooting in the dark. It’s a clever idea, but one that doesn’t quite land as well as the other games in the pack.
Finally it’s Roomerang which finishes in the line-up in The Jackbox Party Pack 9. This game requires the most players to get a match off the ground (four), and works best in person due to the need to stitch each other up. It’s all about the roleplay, placing you in a reality TV setting and offering you the chance to be whoever you like, as long as you can convince the others of course.
Voting for your favourite answers to prompts and avoiding elimination is the crux of the game, but those who are booted out can easily return. Everyone’s score is also hidden until the end which is a little different to how things usually go.
As with previous games of this type such as Push The Button, expect arguments and accusations to fly as everyone decides who they want to eliminate in each round. However, advantages can be earned by players to help avoid this. Roomerang works best with more players, so maybe save this one until you have the numbers.
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 feels like the most comprehensive offering yet, not just down to the variety of the games but the fact there are additional modes contained within a couple of them. Quixort and Fibbage 4 are clear favourites for me, and I found them much easier and quicker to get my head around, but the others are solid entries even if they follow well trodden gameplay paths from previous editions.
As ever, streaming is a key part of the Jackbox experience for many players these days and up to a whopping 10,000 audience members can join games and get involved themselves, often affecting the outcome.
Accessibility has never been better too, with small but welcome tweaks added. Moderation options and family friendly settings are present, but for this edition there is the filtering out of US centric prompts (handy for us here in the UK) and the ability to have the room code read out aloud. The latter is not a game changer, but a clever little addition nonetheless. The Jackbox team are also working on localisation for numerous European languages which are due to be added post launch.
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 demonstrates the impressive consistency of these now famous collections, and shows there is plenty of life left in the series yet. The beauty is that everyone will have different favourites but there is a well balanced, if not tried and tested, offering here which will cater for all tastes.
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 brings new ideas without losing that winning formula, which makes this not only another brilliant entry in the long running series, but a contender for the best compilation yet.
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 is available from the Xbox Store
- Trademark Jackbox style
- Some games feature multiple modes
- Even more accessibility options
- Plenty of laughs to be had
- Little changes to core gameplay may disappoint some
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Jackbox
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch
- Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
- Release date - 20 October 2022
- Launch price from - £TBC