A great bridge between traditional party games and videogame entertainment, the Jackbox titles have been a favorite for a number of years now. This holiday season people can play with the Jackbox Party Pack 4, a brand new compilation of titles to play. Available for numerous platforms, we tested it on a Playstation 4.
One thing that the Jackbox games do extremely well is integrate the non-gaming crowd. It might be hard to believe for some, but many of us don’t have a gaming console set up in their living room. What they do have, almost without exception, is a smartphone or tablet – and they use them often. With the Jackbox party packs, that’s all you need to get a game going – since they don’t even require regular controllers but instead rely on the smart devices that many already have. This low entry barrier has been a key to success ever since the first Party Pack was released, and applies to number four as well. Of course, it’s nothing without a few solid and fun games to play, so we were more than curious to see what was new and improved.
Starting with what’s both new and improved, series favorite Fibbage returns in the shape of Fibbage 3. This proved to be an instant favorite when we played it, probably in part due to our experience with Fibbage 2 and 3. Essentially a quiz game where you fill in the blanks for a series of statements, it comes with a great social twist. Guess the answer correctly and you’ll be told so – and given the chance to enter a second (fake) answer to trick others with. After this, all answers are displayed on screen and players have to select the correct answers from the ones available. Pick the right answer and you score a point (this should be easy if you got it right the first time), but you also score extra points if others end up picking your fake answer. Fibbage 3 adds a new game mode that’s a bit more personal as well, revolving around facts you may or may not know about your friends, so there are more ways than ever to play this Jackbox favorite.
The ‘monster dating app’ game Monster Seeking Monster didn’t resonate as well with us, since randomly “dating” with people in the same room as you never stopped feeling a little awkward, despite a few decent laughs during initials plays. The game “Surviving the Internet” was a lot more fun, since it relies on you taking someone’s innocent answer to a question and twisting it by taking it completely out of context. You do so by attaching it to a question you make up yourself, which can lead to hilarious results. The “internet” aspect is mostly represented through a nineties-style audiovisual presentation, which is neat in a retro sort of way.
The last two games, Civic Doodle and Bracketeering, got more neutral responses from our group. Civic Doodle has you producing (horrible-looking, in our case) art to decorate murals and also cooperate in doing so, but the lack of artistic inspiration in our group had us going back to games like Fibbage pretty quickly. If you enjoy doodling though, then this would no doubt be a fun game to play with a bunch of friends. The same is true to Bracketeering, which applies a tournament-style bracket system to a game where you choose the best answers to questions. The best answer might not even be the correct one, because an incorrect answer can still move through the brackets and “win” just on account of getting the most votes. Knowing the people you’re playing with is a good way of winning here, making for an interesting social dynamic.
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is another great collection of games from Jackbox Games. If I had to mention any negatives (besides the so-so Monster seeking Monster) it’s that nearly all of the games in this edition really rely on a fairly large number of players to be truly enjoyable, leaving few options for games with two or three players. If that’s your regular group size, then you might want to explore the previous Party Packs first. If you play with a large group, you can’t go wrong here.