If you haven’t had a chance to playing any of the Jackbox games up to this point, I’m telling you, you’re missing out. They are the perfect party game, even for those who rarely (or never) play video games. What works is the simplicity to get anyone involved. As long as you have a cell phone, tablet, or even a laptop handy, you can join along in an up-to-eight-player game of hilarity. No one even needs to pick up a controller; everyone answers questions or types in answers directly on their personal device, and the responses are displayed on our TV.
Developer Jackbox Games (formerly known as Jellyvision Games, Inc.) has released their third pack of party games this past month, and it’s just as fun and clever as the previous titles. The pack includes five games, one of which is basically an add-on to a previous pack, and the other being four brand new, original games. I had a chance to play through all five games in the new collection this past weekend with a group of friends, and I can honestly say that I don’t remember laughing so hard at a video game in quite a long time. It was ridiculously fun, and I can’t wait to introduce the game to other friends. For the purpose of this review, I will go through a brief synopsis of each of the five games.
I’ll start with the sequel to “Quiplash” (from a different Jackbox Party Pack), which is aptly titled “Quiplash 2”. If you’re not familiar with this game, it’s actually quite simple. Each player is given a random question on their respective device, and they are to answer it with the best/funniest answer they can come up with. One other player in the room is given the identical question, but no one knows who has which questions. After a few questions have been answered, the question is displayed on the TV for all to see, as are the two answers given by players in the audience. The remaining players who didn’t give an answer use their devices to vote for their favorite answer, and points are awarded for the number of votes received. The key to this game is knowing your audience and coming up with answers that they will find the most amusing.
My group of friends was most familiar with this game, having played the original. This version brings to the table many more questions that seem to get sillier and sillier the more you play. Couple that with very professional (yet funny) voice work and fun animations, the game keeps the energy in the room flowing from start to finish. There’s even an option to offer kid-friendly questions in case you’re playing with a younger audience.
The group favorite was a game called “Trivia Murder Party”, which is just as intriguing as it sounds. All players are given the same trivia question at the same time and answer it on their device. Those who guess incorrectly have to play a mini-game with each other; this could be a simple “spin the wheel” type game, or even ask players to memorize a pattern and recreate it on their device. Whoever loses the mini-game is “dead”, and rounds continue until only one player is left alive. What’s clever here is that being “dead” doesn’t mean you’re out of the game. After a lone player is left alive, the final phase of the game turns into a race. Remember that carnival game where you roll a cue ball into targets to make a horse move a few spaces from left to right? It’s kind of like that, but with your character instead of a horse. And instead of rolling a ball, you’re answering more trivia questions to move your character closer to the right side of the screen. The winner is the first to make it to the exit. Competitions get very exciting, especially because you are given three answers to choose from, and any or all of them could be right or wrong.
“Guesspionage” is somewhat of a fun twist on family feud. Surveys were taken for this game asking questions like, “Do you text while driving?” or “Do you have mail from an ex-lover that you will never throw away?” One player is asked to guess the percentage of responders who answered in the positive, and the remaining players are asked to guess if the correct answer is higher or lower than what the first player guessed. Points are awarded based on how close each contestant is to the actual answer.
“Fakin’ It” takes a couple rounds to get used to. If you’ve ever played the party game “Mafia”, this might seem a bit familiar. One person is assigned to be the “faker” (on their device), and it’s up to the rest of the contestants to try to determine who the faker is. The faker obviously has to do their best job to keep the rest of the group from knowing that they are the faker. The game will ask a series of questions, but the faker has no idea what question was given to the rest of the players. Everyone is asked on the TV to respond either with a hand signal, a facial expression, or even by pointing at other members in the group. The idea is to know your friends to determine who is lying by watching their responses. If you play the game right, it should be easy to spot who is faking their responses, however everyone has to vote for the same faker for the guess to actually count. If the faker can survive three rounds without being made, they are the winner.
By far, the game that got the most laughs out of my group is called “Tee K.O.” Players are asked to draw any random picture they want on their phones, complete with multiple colors and backgrounds at their disposal. After that, they are then prompted to write random catch phrases or lines from songs or movies. The computer randomly matches phrases with pictures and displays two “t-shirts” on the screen, and everyone votes on their favorites. The randomness of this game makes for hilarious results that has to be experienced to appreciate. The best part is that you have the ability to purchase physical t-shirts right off of your phone, if you so choose. Several of my partygoers were seriously considering dropping $18.00 to own a t-shirt that had them howling in their seats. Such a clever concept.
This might be one of the most difficult reviews I’ve had to write, simply because putting these games in words simply doesn’t do it justice. These are quite honestly some of the best experiences I’ve had with a large group of people around a video game. The only down side is that these games aren’t nearly as fun with only two or three people. To get the full effect of “The Jackbox Party Pack 3”, you will want to have as close to eight people available to play. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. I sure wasn’t, and I can’t wait for another round with a group of close friends.