I’ve long been a fan of the Jackbox Party Pack games. They’re amazing fun; each pack is a full game night for almost any number of players, with the added bonus that participants can use their phones to play the games. They’re wonderful, silly, funny and consistently witty games that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or experience (though some games have some risqué content, so you might want to be careful about skewing too young with your participants).
Of the three Party Packs I’ve played, the second is probably the one with the most consistent level of quality across the included games. As luck would have it, it’s also the one Party Pack that’s available as part of Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service (which, if you haven’t guessed already, I consider to be one of the best value propositions in gaming right now).
So let’s take a look at the games included in The Jackbox Party Pack 2!
In the Fibbage games, players are trying to sort the truth from fiction on a series of obscure facts, while at the same time trying to fool the other players into choosing the lie they’ve written.
There’s a reason the sequel made an appearance in the second Party Pack when the previous game was included in the first pack; it’s a fun, funny game that anyone can play – and the fact that players can be as creative, rude or silly as they want with answers – means that it remains fresh and funny regardless of who you play it with.
A more audio/music based game, Earwax sees players taking turns to be a judge and picking a prompt, which the other players must choose the sounds – from a unique selection on their phones – that they think most closely match the chosen prompt. The judge then decides which combination of two sound effects they think best describes the prompt they chose – and the winner is the first player to be awarded three points in this way.
Again, it’s really amusing and easy to grasp even for newbies; it feels pretty unique and the humour baked into the concept, with the daft sound effects, is always great for a laugh.
A game based around art dealing doesn’t sound like the most appealing proposition, but Bidiots is another game with some great ideas that just works. Players are given two prompts at the beginning of the game, which they use to draw pictures that are sold in auctions through the rest of the game. Once their art is complete, players take on the roles of art dealers, with the aim of the game being to make the most profit from winning and then selling paintings.
Each player has hints on their phone screen, telling them what certain paintings are worth – but the wrinkle here is that paintings often have very similar names, so you’re never quite sure if you’re bidding on a masterpiece or just a plain old piece of junk. Insiders with a little knowledge of what the other players are up to will also pop up on your phone, offering advice and hints along the way. You’ll also have to manage your funds or risk having to take out a loan – which you’ll pay for heavily at the end of the game.
It feels like a really original concept for a game, with a little more depth than the others on offer – and can get incredibly competitive. Another winner.
Vaguely along the same lines of Fibbage in terms of the player interaction and creativity in answers it affords, Quiplash is actually pretty different in practice. Given a theme, players must choose their response – answering however they wish – and everyone gets three votes to decide the best answer given.
Another fast, fun and simple to explain game that tends to thrive regardless of who plays and – like Fibbage – entertaining and fresh every time, especially when played in a variety of groups.
In Bomb Corp, players are new employees of a company who manufacture bombs, but are really bad at making bombs that won’t suddenly explode without warning. With instructions on defusing said bombs doled out piecemeal across each player’s device, communication and quick thinking are the keys to success in Bomb Corp.
The trademark Jackbox wit and style is on display in Bomb Corp; the pixel art gives it a visually appealing look that’s very different to other Jackbox titles, however. It’s more frantic, fast paced and based on quick thinking than many of the other titles in the pack, but is a very entertaining experience nonetheless.
There are now six Jackbox Party Packs available; each has at least a few games worth playing – if not more – but The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is definitely a high point for the series and one I’d unreservedly recommend. It’s perfect for anyone with a group of friends or family looking for a local multiplayer game that doesn’t require any knowledge or skill with the usual gaming conventions.
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