Party games aren’t going to appeal to all, but in those times of need – think family get togethers, Xmas gatherings and New Year parties – they can be an invaluable tool to keeping the masses entertained. Much of their draw is the ease in which they can be picked up and played, needing to be suitable for all ages, from the very youngest, right up to granny sitting in the corner.
Whilst Use Your Words is obviously only really playable by those who can spell, from that point on it is about as good as you allow it to be. Think you’re funny? Great. Have absolutely no wit? Use Your Words caters for you too!
But does it have enough variety and panache to allow it to go toe to toe with the likes of the awesome Jackbox Party Packs, which currently have the whole console party scene to themselves?
Well yes it does. But like I mentioned earlier, it really does require some decent input from the players to make that happen.
Use Your Words ditches the standard controller that us gamers are accustomed to, and utilises the internet browsers that we all use on a daily basis. In fact, if you have a smartphone, a console, a laptop or any other device which comes complete with a web browser, then you can get involved. The main action is however limited to between three and six players, but that doesn’t stop others from getting involved in the fun, as the Spectator mode caters for up to 1000 viewers.
After visiting www.wordsgame.lol (yep, even the url points to the fun Use Your Words will bring), a game is created with the simple press of the A button on your controller. That is however the only time you’ll need to pick up the gaming peripheral, as from that moment on the web browsing magic kicks in.
The first six players to enter the 4-digit room code have the chance to participate or spectate, whilst all others after that will just be able to watch on, adding humour in their own unique way. But as soon as the players are locked in, with their names entered, the action kicks off.
This comes about in a steady stream of humour filled events, each of which requires you to use your own words to fill in the blanks. This may come in the form of a short non-English film which requires you to decide on the witty punchlines for the actors, the completion of a simple newspaper headline, or the quick fire captions competition. Be funny, be witty or just be downright miserable with your answers, but whatever you decide, just make sure you enter something before the timer ends. Thankfully, if you come a cropper and get hit with a comedic mind blank, the option of running with the house decoy answer is always in place.
Once things end, the question is replayed on screen, this time with all the answers included. It is then up to you to choose the funniest (or be tactical and try to work out how to ensure the mother-in-law never wins), with each vote giving the answers’ creator valuable points. Voting is quick and easy via your internet enabled device, with a couple of simple taps letting you register your intention. Beware though, at least one of the answers in place will be a house decoy and choosing this will lose you points. Granted, it’s fairly simple to pick out which is the one to avoid, especially if you know how the minds of your fellow players work, but should you be playing with others who try to be clever, creating their own ‘decoy’ answers in an attempt to raise the humour stakes, then things do get a little trickier.
After that it’s pretty much a case of rinse and repeat until the mini-game run is complete, with the end of competition, double-points ‘Survey Says’ final game dictating the winners and losers. A quick leaderboard rundown ends proceedings, crowning a Use Your Words champ before giving the chance to run through everything again; this time with a whole new set of word teasing videos and missing headlines.
Whilst all this has been going on for the players, those who decided to spectate, either because they wanted a quiet life, were late coming to the party or just have no wit or humour, would have also been able to vote for their favourite answers. They may get no points themselves for doing so, but the spectator responses bring some gloriously funny awards to the leaderboards, giving even the unfunniest answers the chance to shine.
Apart from one initial connection issue, the Use Your Words servers have been solid from start to finish. I’ve yet to see anyone struggle to either participate or spectate, and the entire setup and gameplay is super simple. The premise is a great one, at least if you need to entertain a party of people and as of time of writing, I’ve yet to stumble across any duplicate questions. It would be nice to see a bit more variety from the standard video, headlines and caption competitions though, and over time you may find yourself becoming tired with the four mini-game options in place. Thankfully, unless you’re playing Use Your Words 24/7 – which isn’t really very likely – each time a new scenario pops up, it’s more than worth participating in. If only for instant bragging rights.
Unfortunately, once each game ends, that’s pretty much it, seeing your answers and your funniest gags consigned to history forever more – very much like the whole thing never took place in the first place. You see, other than achievement collecting, there are no statistical collections in Use Your Words and whilst that in itself is fine, it would be good to see those who play it over and over again recognised in some way. This is a casual party game though, one that provides quick entertainment in short bursts, and so the lack of progression isn’t something that actually matters too much.
All in all and Use Your Words is a great way of entertaining the entire family for a good couple of hours. Whilst you may have played that old board game to death, knowing all the answers it brings, Use Your Words mixes things up so much that no matter how many times you play it, the responses you see, and the joy it brings, will always be varied. The included Family Mode setting is a lifesaver for those moments when you’ve got younger children enjoying its fun, ensuring nothing too controversial can be found, and that in itself allows players of all ages to get involved.
If you have worn out the Jackbox Party Packs and want something else to please the entire family, then you could do worse than check Use Your Words out.