It’s officially summer time and you know what that means… party season! Naturally you’ll want to grab a few friends, some light snacks and have a jolly good time, which can be made a whole lot easier with a decent game to play. And unless you’re fancying a bit of physical exertion via Kinect then, as far as Xbox One goes, all that remains as an option are the not very hip Hasbro games; until now that is! The Jackbox Party Pack is here to raise hell, get everyone having fun and provide unorthodox party games. Will it make you want to party all night, every night?
Well, there’s certainly a varied selection within this party pack of games, ranging from knowledge based types to those that inspire creative thinking. I need to point out that if you don’t have smart phones, laptops or tablets at hand then this game isn’t for you as your controllers are no use here. At least now there’s a good excuse for your pals to whip their phones out in the middle of a gathering.
Where better to start than the only one I’ve heard of before, You Don’t Know Jack 2015. It’s a quiz game for up to four players (this is the only game playable on your own using a single controller) but not as you’d expect, mainly due to the way in which the questions are posed and even rewarding bonus points for the sponsor’s “wrong answer of the game”. You read correctly I said the sponsor; each episode is sponsored by a made up company and there’ll be a wrong answer amongst one of the question’s answer choices that relates to this company.
There are fifty episodes, each consisting of ten questions, gimmicks and a final round where big points are on offer. All presented by a charismatic host who reads everything aloud and makes a couple of smartarse comments now and again. Generally, the questions themselves are almost a question within a question due to the fact that they are asked in a way that makes you figure out what it’s actually asking. For example, if I said “How many lives would you expect the grumpy cartoon character Garfield to have?”, first you would have to use the logic that he’s a cat before coming to the conclusion it’s nine. It’ll certainly weed out the thinkers from the brainless. Taking roughly 10-15 minutes per episode means you can cram a few episodes in and they don’t drag on.
“Lie Swatter” throws various supposed facts at you and up to 99 other people – that’s one hell of a party – who then have to decide whether they are true or false. It’s a very simple game to be honest and possibly the least humorous, although you do learn some darn odd facts about things. “Word Spud” has a simplistic nature to it too, relying on the minds of those around you to inject the fun into it. Once given a word, players take it in turns to add letters or a word to the end of it to finish it off and then whatever was added becomes the start of the next person’s word. It’s all about impressing the other players enough to get a tick (and subsequently points), even if that means being the one to add filthy words into the mix for a laugh!
Everyone knows a fibber and if you don’t then it’s probably you, but don’t worry because that’ll come in handy for “Fibbage XL”. Imagine Blankety Blank where you have to fill in the blank that’s a part of a sentence, except all of the players need to first give an answer that’ll fool everyone else into thinking it’s correct. Then you all attempt to pick the correct one from a selection of possible answers, for every person that chooses your lie as the answer you’ll gain points. It’s a glorious feeling when somebody thinks it’s your outlandish answer that correctly fills in the sentence.
Last up is a dream for the creative bunch, however it’s even better when no one has an artistic bone in their body. “Drawful” gives each player a different caption at the same time to recreate in a picture for others to then work out what it is. I don’t know what was funnier, seeing a picture that looks like it was done by a small child or finding out what it was supposed to be in the first place.
Given the modern era where nearly everyone has a smart-phone or a tablet, having The Jackbox Party Pack rely on these doesn’t hinder the experience the way I thought it would. It saves having to buy a shed load of pricey controllers that you’ll barely use any other time. As long as the Jackbox server holds up then there’s no issues in the way it works. I was even able to play the games that use less visualisation with people in other parts of the country that didn’t own the Jackbox Party Pack, although obviously they couldn’t quite experience the whole darn thing. There is no actual official online multiplayer though which is a shame.
This pack has enough variation in short stints to entertain people of many ages and is certainly more geared up towards the adult gamers. Forget the long drawn out board games that send everyone to sleep, instead get acquainted with The Jackbox Party Pack. It’s full of fast, enjoyable fun that only gets better the greater the number of players involved.
As long as you can look past the Americanisation of the themes, then this is a bargain that can be brought out for every social gathering or party.