When Jellyvision re-booted the You Don’t Know Jack series in 2011, fans praised it as a return to form for the trivia party game. When Jellyvision rebranded their company to be called Jackbox Games, they were able to find even more trivia game fans with Fibbage. Now, Jackbox Games has released The Jackbox Party Pack just in time for the holidays. Party game fans will likely find this five-game pack is the perfect way to spend an evening with friends.
You Don’t Know Jack 2015 is going to be the big star of The Jackbox Party Pack. Remaining largely unchanged from the 2011 release, YDKJ can be played with one to four players. You are given ten multiple choice trivia questions to answer. Any player can buzz in within 20 seconds of the question being asked. The faster you answer, the more points you can gain or lose. At the end of the ten questions, players have to face the “Jack Attack.” Players are given a word or phrase and, depending on what clue they were given at the start of the attack, they need to match those phrases with a different word that will flash on screen.
YDKJ 2015 does retain a lot of the humor that made the 2011 reboot of the series so successful. Cookie Masterson does a fantastic job as the host and the questions can be incredibly clever and well written. However, this version does retain many of the issues found in the 2011 reboot, as well. Failing or succeeding with the Jack Attack can either make or break your entire game. If you aren’t fast enough on the buzzer in those sections, you will almost certainly lose, no matter how well you did earlier in the game.
The Jackbox Party Pack also features a re-packaged version of Fibbage called Fibbage XL. This version is identical to Fibbage, which saw console release earlier this year, albeit with new questions. In it, you are given a question. Each player can then use their phones to type in an answer that they think will fool the other players. Once each player has entered their answer, they need to try to figure out what the actual answer is amid all of the false answers. It’s a lot of fun and feels like it’s the sort of game that is meant to be played on a Twitch stream.
Reaching consoles for the first time is Lie Swatter. Lie Swatter can be played with one to one hundred players and has you being given a random fact. You need to decide if you think the answer is true or false. This is probably the surprise hit of the whole pack, if you’ve not played it before on iOS. There are some hilarious facts that you will learn, but the scoring system is a bit incomprehensible. In one game, you can have a commanding lead and then miss one question and lose. The game doesn’t explicitly say how scoring is determined and it can be a bit frustrating to figure out.
Drawful is one of the two new games featured in the Party Pack. It’s essentially part Pictionary and part Fibbage. Each player is given a word or phrase and needs to draw it. Then, the game shuffles them up and shows it on screen. Players then try to figure out a phrase that sounds like it fits the picture. Then, as in Fibbage, players need to try to answer correctly and gain points for fooling other players. It’s actually quite a bit of fun but it does feel like you need a stylus or a large screen device to play properly.
Finally, and most disappointingly, is Word Spud. Word Spud starts a player out with a word. That player then needs to add a word to the original word to create a good phrase. Other players then vote on whether or not they feel that phrase sounds good. If it does, another player needs to build off of the new word. If they don’t feel it’s a good fit, a new word appears on screen. It’s a pretty bland game, especially since this is the only game that lacks any announcers.
While almost all of the games in The Jackbox Party Pack are extremely fun, one major issue that players may encounter is using their mobile devices to play all of these games. Each game (minus single player You Don’t Know Jack) uses a mobile device to enter in answers. Some devices work incredibly well with this system. However others (such as the new Nexus 6) fail miserably. There can be massive input lag between when you press a button and when the game registers your answer. In other cases, your device won’t work at all.
The worst example was during games of Drawful. Using the aforementioned Nexus 6, players may only be able to draw a single line on screen. As soon as you try to draw a second line, your first line simply disappears. It’s not known if this is an issue with the game itself or with the device but it makes playing this game on this device nearly impossible.
The Jackbox Party Pack is a fantastically fun set of games, minus some major input problems. You Don’t Know Jack and Fibbage are still tons of fun. Drawful and Lie Swatter are great additions. Word Spud might not be that great, but there’s still an insane amount of content for this price. If you have the right kind of devices, The Jackbox Party Pack will give you and your friends many nights worth of laughter.