With the Xbox One being able to accommodate up to eight controllers at once, party games have always been a clear choice for the platform. Some games like Knight Squad and Obliteracers take advantage of this by having all players on the screen at the same time. While this works well and fine, the team at Jackbox Games had already figured out how to allow several people to play their games without using all those ‘clunky’ controllers. Since nearly everyone owns a smartphone in this day and age, it only made sense that a party game would use them as a way to allow many people to play at once.
For the uninitiated, all the Jackbox games require players to sign into a site on their mobile device so they can perform various tasks asked of them by the game. These tasks can range from simply answering trivia questions to deciding which other player is actually faking. In Jackbox Party Pack 3, players will be greeted with five games that make wonderful party games for seemingly any number of players. With each game accommodating varying numbers of players, it can be frustrating to figure out which games will be available for varying party sizes. Luckily all but one game allow eight people to play at once, meaning most parties won’t have trouble finding a game or two to play. Besides the normal players, all the Jackbox games allow audience members to join in and make an impact on the game in their own way.
The first (and possibly best) game in the Party Pack is Quiplash 2, the sequel to the much loved game of the same name. In Quiplash 2, players are given various prompts to answer in the funniest way possible. These answers are pitted against one another so that players that didn’t get that prompt can decide which is better, awarding the players that answered points based on how many votes they got. Because of this, this game requires at least 3 players so that there will always be 1 player to judge the other 2 players’ answers. Besides playing the game normally, players also have the choice of creating their own prompts to put in custom episodes that can be played in any future game. Everything in Quiplash 2 works wonderfully. Entering prompts is fun and easy while being able to play with 8 players (and a huge audience) means that the bigger the game, the more fun their is to have. With the addition of custom episodes, Quiplash 2 manages to become infinitely more fun than the original simply because any prompt that can be imagined can now be used. For this reason alone, Quiplash 2 is my favorite game in this Party Pack.
The next game is called Trivia Murder Party and is sort of like a soul-successor to the classic You Don’t Know Jack trivia game. In TMP, players will be asked trivia questions by a murderer that simply wants to play a game with his victims before he kills them. If a player answers a question correctly, they will be allowed to live for another round. If a player answer incorrectly though, they will be taken to The Killing Floor. This is a sort of mini game that will decide which players die and which players move on to the next question. If a player dies, they can still participate (and even win the whole game) by answering the trivia questions along with the living players. To win, a living player must answer enough questions correctly to get to a sort of lightning round that will decide if they can escape or not. As far as I’m aware, a dead player can only win by earning more money than all the other players, but I was unable to actually try this out. Either way, between the unique charisma of the narrator and the interesting questions and mini games, Trivia Murder Party makes an interesting addition to the Party Pack.
The third game in the Pack is called Guesspionage and asks players to guess what percentage of people do a certain thing. For example, the game may ask what percentage of people walk through museums with their arms behind their backs. A player will be asked to guess the percentage and while the other player(s) will be asked if they think the answer will be higher/lower than the player’s answer. Personally, I really like this game because it plays on players’ perceptions and biases about other people. By making a game about situations and actions most people don’t really think about, players are forced to think out of the box while also being careful not to unintenionally give other players a lot of points due to guessing incorrectly. As with most of the Jackbox games, the more players available to play, the longer the game will run and the more chances players will have to earn points. Also, like most other Jackbox games, players talking to each other can often help one another or, more often, deceive one another to benefit another player.
Speaking of deceiving other players, the next game in the Party Pack, Fakin’ It, literally asks players to trick the other players. This has to be the most unique game in the pack as it is the only one that requires players to perform actions outside of the actual game. In Fakin’ It, all but 1 player will get a prompt to perform an action such as “point at the person you think has the most speeding tickets” (or the one’s in the picture below this paragraph). The 1 player that didn’t get the prompt will have to try and fake out the other players by performing the action without actually seeing the prompt. In the example above, the faker would simply point at another player in the hopes of pointing at a player that could believable match the prompt. Whichever players aren’t faking will have to try and agree on who this faker is unanimously in order to call them out. If this is successful, then the faker will not earn many points while everyone else does. On the flip side, if the faker manages to trick the other players or at least get them to disagree, the faker will earn points by avoiding capture. Since this game requires 1 person to fool the others, it is impossible to play without at least 3 people and only goes to a maximum of 6. Even though this game has the lowest maximum players of all the games, it is still plenty of fun and is fun to watch as it requires players to talk and debate to figure out who the faker is. I enjoy this game plenty, but the final round feels a little unfair and wound up ruining my first playthrough of the game because it put me in a position that felt impossible.
For the final game, I am going to explain why it is so important to be clear on how a game works before asking players to play that game. This last game, titled Tee K.O., asks players to create t-shirts to compete against one another to see who can create the best shirt design. The trouble isn’t in how the game works or how it’s played, but in how confusing the game makes this endeavor. At first, it seems like players will make several shirt designs with matchign mottos to compete against several other shirts from the other players. To some extent this is true, but it’s how these shirts are created that can be the most confusing part. As a quick explanation, the rounds go something like this: players create shirt designs, write out some mottos, players receive several designs/mottos (created by other players), players create a shirt with these designs/mottos (NOT their own), then the shirts are pitted against one another so everyone can judge them to decide the best shirt of the round. The entire problem with this game is that it does not explain the rules at all before throwing the players into a round of absolute confusion.
This issue isn’t really an issue once a round has been played and at least 1 player can explain it to everyone else. In fact, once I understood the rules, I was excited to go for another round but all the other players were too annoyed to actually start over and try again. Much like other Jackbox games, Tee K.O. requires at least 3 players and can entertain up to 8 players. I cannot stress it enough though, this game has the potential to be really fun once players understand it. Besides being the only game in the Pack that requires players to draw a picture, it is also the only game with as many goofy animations. To this end, I believe the game should have been put higher in the list so players don’t get annoyed with it as quick as me and my friends did. Either way, Tee K.O. is a fine game with a simple issue that could be fixed with a small patch.
After playing through all the games a few times, I can say that Jackbox Party Pack 3 is the best in the series and will get plenty of play time from me and my friends. By having players use their phones to play, these games allow nearly anyone to play without much setup. Simply put, Jackbox Games makes the best party games out there and isn’t showing any signs of stopping anytime soon. To me, these games can come out as fast st they like so long as they maintain this level of creativity and fun. The game may not take many chances or add much to the series, but it does do a great job of what it sets out to do. Even though the game is not about its looks or sounds, it does a decent job of being bright and colorful while also having funny sound effects and great voice actors. Realistically, it is really hard to find many issues in the game as it does everything very well. If you or your friends are looking for a new party game to play when you all get together, I can easily suggest Jackbox Party Pack 3.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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