Out now on all major consoles as well as PCs, What the Dub?! offers some of the biggest laughs we’ve seen in the party game/quiz genre. Here are our thoughts, based on the PS4 and PC versions.
When we first entered a pandemic/lockdown situation last year, a few game genres surged – especially those with a social element that could be played online with friends you could no longer have over at your dinner table. The Jackbox games were a great example, and especially the PC versions, since that one was easy to stream and share with friends joining you from across the city or even the globe.
What the Dub?! from Wide Right Interactive taps into that same energy with its formula, which feels like it could have been part of a Jackbox collection but is available at a fraction of the price of those packs. Of course it’s best played locally, and supports up to 12 players at once, but if you have the ability to stream (we used Zoom) you can create something very similar online if you’re not able to physically meet.
Central to the What the Dub?! experience is a selection of over 300 clips from TV and movie history – though most of them you’ll have never seen before as these are part of the public domain rather than snippets from big blockbusters or major shows. In a way that’s a good thing, because it stops you from filling in the blanks with something that’s too close to the real thing.
Blanks? Yes – each clip plays, and at some point the audio cuts out and you have to fill in the blank when it happens. You do this through a text interface, after which a text-to-speech converter inserts your dub into the clip and plays it back as you intended – often with hilarious consequences. This happens for everyone’s dub, and then you and rest of the crew get to vote on who wrote the best dub.
When playing with a large number of players this process can drag a little, as you have to sit through each and every dub that was entered before you can vote. So while you can play with up to 12 people, we’d say that half of that is probably the sweet spot, with enough players to have that “who said what?” dynamic but not too many answers either. Inputting your answers is easy by the way – as with the Jackbox games, you enter a URL and put in your answers through a web browser. So yes, bring your own device, but there’s no need to connect locally, thus enabling play with others online.
The timing and pacing can be a bit of a thing though, and not just in the way described above. Answering is done on a timer, so it’s smart to extend that time before playing to give everyone more time to come up with hilarious answers. Something you can’t change is the ability to only view each clip once, which is a shame. When it plays, that’s it – drift off and you might miss the opportunity to come up with a great dub, so hopefully a ‘play again’ feature will be added at some point.
What the Dub?! is an absolutely hilarious party game though, and it’s one where anyone can play because the rules of the game are so simple. There’s a lot of stuff to dub with over 300 clips, but at the same time we wish there was more diversity to them as well – although we realize that not having a licensing budget is part of the reason for that and doing otherwise would have driven up the cost for the game.
Ultimately that may hurt What the Dub?! in terms of lasting appeal, but for a night of fun with friends, either in person or offline, it’s one of the best options we’ve seen so far. Some of the best Jackbox games might have that lasting appeal, but even they rarely reach the levels of laughter we reached with this one.