Jackbox Party Pack 6 review (PS4)

The Jackbox Party Pack 6 is a new collection of creativity-fueled party games from Jackbox Games, out now for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. We’re reviewing it based on the PS4 version.

We previously covered Party Packs 4 and 5, and have played the first three quite a bit as well. They all follow a familiar pattern, with a collection of a handful of minigames that are guaranteed to add fun to a social gathering – with the more players joining in, the better. They don’t have to be video gamers either, since all games are controlled using a smart phone or tablet that you use to log into Jackbox’ own online environment – the PS4 just serves as a host of sorts, delivering assignments and guiding you through the game.

What’s also familiar is that not all of the games in the pack are going to resonate equally well with everyone, and your fun with the games depends in part on how fun your group of friends is. No pressure. Party Pack number 6 features five new games, although one of them is a somewhat surprising sequel to a previous entry. Making up the pack this time are Push The Button, Dictionarium, Joke Boat, Trivia Murder Party 2 and Role Models.

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Dictionarium is a good example of Jackbox’ signature word-based games. It throws out a random (completely made up) phrase, and players have to come up with answers as to what it could possibly mean. Players vote on the best answer, then come up with a synonym and a sentence that uses it. Completely taking away the original (fake) phrase at the end, the results are potentially hilarious. We found that this one got better as time went on, as we started out with a semi-serious approach but had the most fun when we just tried to be hilarious.

Trivia Murder Party 2 brings back one of Jackbox’ more obscure minigames, and it’s a polished version of the original rather than a complete reimagining. Basically a slasher-themed trivia game with little minigames, the biggest improvement is that the game now gives players who died earlier on in the game a chance to come back for a shock ending. It’s great fun when you’re looking to try something different, but no one had much interest in going back to it the second day we fired up the Party Pack.

The opposite was true for Push The Button, which is a minigame that essentially combines a whole lot of minigames and throws in a bit of Werewolves Within for good measure. You play a crew of astronauts on a space ship, with one of you being an alien, getting different assignments than the rest of you. Based on the way everyone answers, one player might become the object of suspicion – and each player has the ability to ‘push the button’ and express his doubts (and potentially win the game). If a decision is unanimous, the potential alien is ejected off the ship.

If you’re the alien then there’s also the option to mess with the assignments that others get, so there’s a fair bit of paranoia at work – and it’s lovely to see it unfold no matter which side you’re on. Playing into the social elements of their games incredibly well, Push The Button is quite possible the best title of this edition of the Party Pack.

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Joke Boat doesn’t fare quite as well, as a game that pretty much tasks players with the job of becoming a comedy writer by completing partially made jokes. Topics are generated by the group, but the game comes up with an assignment to complete a joke based on a pre-existing format. Think “two ____ walk into a bar and ____”, which doesn’t always result in a great joke and asks a lot of players and their sense of humor. It could just be us, but we had more fun joking around with some of the other minigames.

The last game in the pack is Role Models, which is a game of “who among you would be the most likely to….” – a bit like the Sony Playlink game That’s You. In a round, you get a scenario presented to a group along with a set of possible roles, and you vote on who’d be the best fit for each role. Vote with the majority, and you score points. The game potentially includes non-playing audience members as well (as there is a maximum of six active players), but we found it was far more fun to play with couples or duos because there was far more involvement that way.

If you have any previous experience with Jackbox games and enjoyed them, then you know what you’re in for with this new bundle. Push The Button is worth the price of admission alone, with the other games offering nice diversions along the lines of familiar concepts. If you have social gatherings planned during the festive period ahead, consider firing this bundle of fun up and surprising even those least likely to enjoy a video game.

Score: 8.0/10

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