An irreverent and amusing minigame bundle
Game review: Jackbox Party Pack
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / PC
A PARTY game can be difficult to pull off. The social nature of the genre means they are routinely developed with families firmly in mind and have a certain, innocent tone. The games themselves may be fun at first, but after a while the bland presentation can begin to get on your nerves, and once your friends and relatives are gone, chances are the game disc will be filed away, never to be played again.
The Jackbox Party Pack rejects this convention with aplomb, putting its own idiosyncratic stamp on the genre. Questions and answers are irreverent, rounds are conducted at breakneck pace and the overall tone is highly creative, often taking the form of a series of imaginative skits and sequences that fly by at a frenzied rate.
You Don’t Know Jack is the standout game in the collection
Released digitally last year, the compilation of games has now been given a retail release, with a sequel also coming out boasting more of the same party style minigames. Thanks to some of the more mature content, it is slanted towards adult players and comes at an opportune time in the lead up to Christmas when folk are having friends round.
Nowhere is Jackbox’s strong individual style more evident that You Don’t Know Jack, the centrepiece of the collection. What could easily have been a straightforward trivia game has a great energy and vitality thanks to the strength of the writing and creative presentation. Many of the questions involve puns or jokes, but a few thoughtful puzzlers are thrown into the mix - look out for the early Odd Couple question, for example.
It is unrelentingly whimsical, but this sets it apart from the competition
Two other games in the collection also provide a lot of fun. Drawful is similar to a game of Win, Lose or Draw, while Fibbage maintains the irreverent tone of the entire package. The other two titles, Lie Swatter and Word Spud, are less involving, but will still keep a group occupied for an hour or two.
With a simple interface that allows multiple players to join in by using their smartphones or tablet, this is a well designed and entertaining title that proves party games do not need to be a dull mix of trivia questions. It may be a little too whimsical for some, but in a marketplace crowded with titles that play it safe, that is its strong suit.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Make sure cookies are enabled on your phone or tablet in order to connect to the game on a console.
Try and use a tablet when you are playing Drawful, as phone screens are too small to do your artistic creations justice.
Speed is of the essence in Lie Swatter, with the player to give the first correct answer rewarded with bonus points.