The Best in the Series
By Edwin Velez
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on October 20th, 2016 for Xbox One (Also availible on PS4 & PC)
Developer: Jackbox Games Publisher: Jackbox Games
Another year, another Party Pack from Jackbox. Ever since the original Fibbage launched, I have been wildly infatuated with the titles Jackbox Games have come up with for the current generation. Jackbox Party Pack 3 is here to bring their current game list on this gen to a whopping 18 (each Party Pack consists of 5!) These 18 games have made me the self-proclaimed game night king! They used to be movie nights, but the sheer genius of the crew at Jackbox Games tends to put a halt to that. The third entry of packs is by far the best in the series, introducing a sequel to a fan favorite as well four brand new titles. While the previous packs have had at least one title that underwhelmed somebody participating, JBPP3 impresses on all fronts.
For sake of familiarity, Jackbox games on this generation all integrate the usage of mobile devices as the controllers. This makes hosting the game a breeze, as many of us in the modern age have a device (cellphone or otherwise) that can connect to the internet. The controls can be a simple as answering a prompt or trivia question, and in some cases will test your artistic skills. In Quiplash 2, your main function is to answer prompts. Just like in the original, your answer goes head to head with one other player’s answer, and the remaining players vote for the favorite. This game is simple enough participation wise, and usually the raunchier or more ridiculous answer gets the win, at least in my household. It is a blast to play with all new questions, and even comes with the option of making your own. Quiplash 2 is always a safe bet for a good time.
The new stand out in the crowd, well one of them anyways, is Guesspionage. Whether is was inspired by the NSA or Nielsen, the outcome is a really enjoyable game. In this title, players will all take a guess at what percentage of people do a certain thing, according to polls they have taken. So questions like “What percentage of people have bought caviar and enjoyed it” or “What percentage of people leave the tags on clothes they are wearing in case they want to return them?” come about and one player guesses the percentage. Everyone else chooses higher or lower, and if they are right they get bonus points. As for the one making the guess, the closer you are to the answer the more points you get. In the end, a question is given with 9 potential answers. Each player picks the three answers they think polled highest, and the more they get correct, the more points you gain! Guesspionage may not be the most hilarious of games in comparison to some of the other available titles, but it is easily the most accessible and casual. For that, it definitely deserves some top billings in the pack.
Next up is Trivia Murder Party, a new take on traditional trivia games. In this trivia title, it is all about the end game. Answering questions correctly saves you from potential death, whereas if you answer wrong you must compete to survive in several mini-games. These mini-games are often luck based, and sometimes involve safe or already dead player’s participation. It is really fun to unknowingly set yourself or others up for failure to see it play out moments later. Most of the questions are pretty hard from what I saw, but it is all in good fun. The final round of the game is one of the best aspects across all their titles, and I do not say that lightly. Each of their titles typically features a very important, make-or-break final round, and Trivia Murder Party is the most fun and engaging one yet. Each player will answer prompts in order to move towards an Exit. Dead players start further back, while living players start closer up, all ultimately positioned by score. Each prompt features multiple answers, with several usually fitting the prompt. Correct answers put you forward, and wrong answers set you back. The catch here is that “dead” players that catch up to living ones get to steal their body, potentially winning the game if they can reach the exit. This creates some tense moments that will potentially destroy friendships like the spiked blue shell of Mario Kart fame, but the end result is one hell of a finale.
Fakin’ It is another creative entry in this bundle, one that focuses more on real time, real life engagement as opposed to answering prompts or fiddling on your phone. The theme of this game is that each round, someone is “the faker”. This person will have to blindly blend in with the other players, all of which received directions and prompts that the “faker” did not. Each round consists of three prompts, which is three chances to catch the faker. After each prompt, everyone gets to guess who the faker is. The vote MUST be unanimous for it to take effect. If the players do not catch the faker in time, the faker walks away with more points. Those who vote correctly, whether or not it is unanimous, ultimately get points for being correct. Like a more engaging game of Clue, it is really a battle of wits. On the very first game we took part in, I was the only one to remain undetected when it was my turn as the faker. It is a scary moment as it winds down to each voting session, hoping no one outs you. It is all about blending in. Every round may feature a different style of actions that are being done. One style has a prompt pop up on the non-fakers phones, and whoever that prompt fits most accurately they have to point to when the timer is up! It is hilarious and dastardly, but that is Jackbox for you! My only suggestion with this particular title: Make sure everyone is paying attention. It can be a bust if no one understands the concept going in. If they do though, it is smooth sailing and good times.
Last but not least is Tee K.O., another drawing title to throw into the mix. For me, this one takes Drawful 2’s place as the best drawing title in the overall line-up. In Tee K.O., players draw up t-shirt designs and come up with catchphrases to pair with them. The catch? You won’t be drawing the design you will use. Instead, player’s designs and slogans are shuffled amongst the group, allowing for a huge pile of outcomes. It is hilarious to see pairings working together, some ironically fitting more than others. The drawing is great too because you get both several colors and backgrounds to work with, making the possibilities more open ended.
Jackbox Games have another winner on their hands, no doubt. I think this is the most creative and approachable pack yet. With the continued support of audiences as well as the stability of Jackbox.TV, you really cannot go wrong here. Each title has its own aesthetic and themes that are pulled off fantastically, and are supported by equally great hosts who voice the narratives. If you host game nights, movie nights, or like to have multiplayer games, there is no excuse why you should not own this one. Jackbox Party Pack 3 shows just how creative the team is and why they keep coming back with more for the fans.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 9.5/10
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