The Jackbox Party Pack 3 (Switch) Review
You’ve been to some parties to play ‘party’ games and you spend half the time setting up games, or the plastic equipment to play said games and it’s not a lot of fun just sitting there while your host stresses over where the AA batteries for the Wii Remotes are or why the Kinect camera won’t work for that stupid dancing game. We’ve all been there.
Then there are some party games that just work, that people can pick up, play, and know what to do. The Jackbox Party Packs and the individual games included go one step further, they don’t even use the console and there are no controllers to setup. Jackbox uses everyone’s smartphone or tablet to answer questions or draw – all it requires is for the players to log into a website and play the games through that. It takes that barrier of complication and removes it entirely unless for some reason you don’t have a smartphone.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 has five different games included to play through; Quiplash 2, Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, Fakin’ It, and Tee K.O. Together, the five games work well together, even if some of them are not as strong as one another – they all are worth investigating.
The first game, Quiplash 2, is certainly the standout title and can be played with friends in the same room or one of the few games that can be played via streaming quite well.
Quiplash works by giving out each player the ‘set up’ of two jokes and you have a-minute-and-a-half put in a response. The game will then cycle through the jokes and the players will have to vote on the one they find funniest. If your answer gets the nod from all players you’ll get the ‘Quiplash’ and a bonus score. Up to eight people can play this one, and the more the better. You can also invite an audience to play as well – up to 10,000 people, to be precise. The audience can watch and vote as well as the players, but the audience’s score is weighted less than the players’.
Quiplash 2 contains a tonne of different settings to customise it for streaming purposes on Twitch. You can’t stream from the console itself, you’ll need an external capture card for that, but there’s a bunch of options for making the game more broadcast-friendly. The game also adds the ability to create your own set of questions; the game’s voiceover won’t read them out, but it’s still great to create your own set to play with your friends.
Trivia Murder Party is probably the biggest addition to the Jackbox. While Quiplash 2 is a refinement and enhancement of an existing game, this one is all brand new. It’s a devious quiz that has you answering questions so you don’t get murdered. If you get a question right, you’re safe. If you get one wrong, you go into a challenge mini-game with everyone else who got it wrong. If you answer the question incorrectly in this mini-game, you’ll receive a penalty going into further rounds, like not being able to pick one of the answers. If you get killed, you can still compete as a ghost and have a chance of coming back into the game. We’ve had games of this go down to the wire and the lead flip right at the last minute. It’s ‘just a quiz game’, but it does it with an awesome style and theme.
Guesspionage is probably the weakest game included in the bundle. It’s not terrible, but it is based on survey results, survey results that skew very American at times – that’s fine for Americans but sucks for everyone else in the world. The game has everyone take turns at guessing the percentage from a survey question. For example ‘What percentage of people usually correct those who misquote lines from movies’? The selected main player has to guess the percentage. Following this, everyone else guesses if it’s higher or lower than the original player’s estimate.
Fakin’ It is the only game in the bundle that supports only six players instead of the eight of all the other games. It’s probably a good thing because it could get confusing with more players. Fakin’ It sees everyone get a task on their device, except for one person – the Faker. That person must then quickly try and work out what everyone else got as their task. If you don’t do so well at faking it, it’s up to you to lie about it and try and break the consensus. This game is best played with people you know well and all in the same room. We’ve had fun with this one before but there’s a bit of a learning curve compared to the other games.
Tee K.O. is the creative game in this pack. It’s not quite as good as Drawful, but it’s pretty funny once you get it going; there’s a lot of downtime at the start of the game and during with everyone drawing on their phones. Everyone in the game has ended up on T-Shirt island, you have to battle it out not in a fist-fight or with a gun, but fight with t-shirt designs instead. Everyone draws pictures and writes some slogan, they’ll get swapped around and then you have to draw a design based off that. The shirts will then ‘fight’ it out and the players will pick the best design. in practice it sounds amazing, but the later designs always end up winning. You can get the designs printed too, but it’s not something that’s really practical for Australians due to the cost.
So how does the Jackbox Party Pack work on the Switch? On the TV it works just as it does on any version, but of course you can take this wherever you go – or at least where there’s the internet. You won’t be playing this one offline, and if it wasn’t obvious enough you’re going to need people to play it with.
The Jackbox Party Pack is an investment for parties just like any other tabletop or board game. It’s not something you’ll play every day, but if you have friends or family over a lot, you can work through the games and have a tonne of fun. There’s nothing remarkable about the Switch version, but it doesn’t need to be – The Jackbox Party Pack 3 stands on its own.
Now where are the rest of the Party Packs, we want some Drawful.