I’m a massive fan of the Jackbox Party Pack games – they’re simple, hilarious and inventive game collections that pretty much anyone can play – and the barrier to entry is incredibly low, given that players can use any internet connected device to play while the main action plays out on the TV. There are six Jackbox Party Pack collections available now and though there are a few sequels included along the way, they’re generally made up of unique experiences that feel unlike anything else you’ll play.
So how does The Jackbox Party Pack 4 stand up in comparison to the other games in the series? Very well, as it turns out – and given the high standards set by the rest of the series, perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising. What is surprising is how the Jackbox team continually find new and consistently funny ways to bring multiplayer gaming back in a way that appeals even to non-gamers.
You pick a game, everyone enters the room code in the browser on their mobile device and the rules are given in a clear, concise and fun way every time. It’s incredibly easy to get yourself playing with a Jackbox Party Pack. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s included in the fourth collection, shall we?
Firstly – and, perhaps at first, a little disappointingly – is Fibbage 3. Don’t get me wrong – Fibbage is and always has been a hilarious game, which sees players trying to fool their friends by filling in the blanks on facts with ridiculous answers. The reason it’s a bit of a letdown initially is that – given the level of inventiveness we usually see in the Jackbox collections – we didn’t really need a third Fibbage, especially as the only pack of the first four it’s missing from is The Jackbox Party Pack 3. However, it does justify its inclusion with the excellent Fibbage: Enough About You mode, which takes away the general knowledge focus and makes the facts about the players. It’s a great twist on the formula and very welcome.
Next up is Survive the Internet, in which players first make a comment following a prompt, which other players can then twist by providing the headline that the comment is a response to. It’s full of neat little references to the internet of the late 90s/early 00s and is a really amusing premise, delivered with the trademark Jackbox wit and humour.
Monster Seeking Monster is a bit of an oddity; essentially a dating game in which each player has a secret role that’ll help them win, perhaps more than any of the other games in the collection it really relies on the players being invested and creative with how they play. Each player has four messages per round that they can send to others, with the aim being to secure successful dates each night to win hearts. The player with the most hearts at the end of the game wins, though the secret roles can change this. The mobile interface is neat, looking like a chat app, but with few prompts it does need players to come out of their shells a bit – and the dating/flirting aspect may feel a bit awkward, depending on who you’re playing with.
The fourth game in the pack is Bracketeering, in which players vote on the best answer that everyone chooses for certain categories. Sometimes categories are twisted or revealed in full only after answers are given, which adds a neat element – but this one’s as lightweight as they come. It’s still fun and the simplicity makes it a good choice for a ‘first’ Jackbox game, but it’s probably the least interesting of the games included.
Finally, we have an art game with Civic Doodle – in which players are tasked with prettying up building in different districts of a town, collaboratively adding to pieces of art as the round progresses. The interesting touch here is that you can see what players are drawing in real time on the big screen when you’re not involved in drawing, which is a first for the series. Like the other drawing-based Jackbox games, Civic Doodle is really good fun – and the fact that players take turns to add to the drawings gives it a nicely co-operative feel, even though everyone is still ultimately competing to win.
So another excellent collection of games then; for what it’s worth, The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is still my favourite overall – but there’s so much to like here (even with the slight let downs of Bracketeering and the potential awkwardness of Monster Seeking Monster) and in the other packs I’ve played that it seems silly to recommend one collection over any other. Superb stuff, as always.
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