Party games have long been a key party favor in my eyes. From board games like Sorry and Monopoly to more recent console hits like The Jackbox Party Pack series, party games bring people together (while sometimes tearing them apart.) Use Your Words is a brand new, modern take on the classic party game, falling closely in line with the aforementioned Jackbox series while maintaining a style and character all its own. While being inspired by the Jackbox structure, one that uses mobile devices in place of controllers and private game rooms to get your party on, Use Your Words brings the fun into the living room with a variety of mini-games and near endless laughs.
Use Your Words was developed and published by the Canadian crew Smiling Buddha Games. It features an assortment of minigames that are strung together in the form of a sort of pseudo game show that plays out in about 25 minutes, roughly. With three to six players, you can enter a lobby and let the fun begin. Have more party-goers that want to get in on the fun? Startup spectator mode which allows up to 1000 viewers vote on their favorite answers. This makes the game approachable for both large get togethers as well as stream viewers. Across four mini-games, players will bring out their inner comedy writing skills and put best their best efforts in hopes of winning the game. The mini-games are Sub the Title, Extra, Extra!, Blank-o-matic, and Survey Says!. Though different in scope, each have one common goal: Earn the most votes!
In Sub the Title (my personal favorite of the four), players watch a movie clip in foreign language that is supplemented by subtitles, but only momentarily. The latter portion of the clips subtitles are left to be filled in by none other than you! These clips are all from real movies, with some having characters I managed to recognize like Gamera. Using the clips setting, characters, and any other details that might peak your curiosity, you can get really creative here and come up with some big laughs. I personally liked to try and pace my prompt to flow with the on screen dialog, but that’s just my personal touch. As is in all four games, after all answers are logged in, they are then presented one after another and subsequently voted on. Be leery though, as in each and every round of each mini-game there is a house answer, and picking that one results in a loss of points! Players not quick or creative enough for a particular prompt may also have an answer generated for them, resulting in half points earned for the user if picked and lost points for the user who chose it. These same rules apply all throughout the game.
In Extra, Extra! You are put into the role of a magazine editor! Well not really, you are shown a quirky stock photo of sorts that you are then tasked with giving a proper news article styled headline. You can easily come up with equally if not more quirky answers, some of which can be pretty raunchy given the set ups. It’s always easy to take the vulgar and shock value route, which often earned votes in my experiences, but with my love of writing I would sometimes construe more complicated or lighthearted jokes that would be mistaken for house jokes. The game gives you tips that actually suggested this turn out, noting that inside jokes are more likely to be picked via fear of picking a house answer. Playing this mini-game made that tip all the more true. Same turn-out in Blank-o-matic, which presents a prompt that you must finish, much like in the recently returned “Match Game” game show. You can get creative from the pretense, but more often than not getting a little vulgar is going to up the chances you get picked, assuming your punchline is still well written.
Last but not least is Survey Says, which is a final round of sorts, is a rapid fire type mode. This is the only one of the four games that only appears once per session, as the others get to be played twice per game. In this mode, everyone answers three prompts, each of which only allow 60 seconds to answer, but give double points. Play your prompts right here, and you can end up winning even if heading in with a large deficit. All of the modes offer big laughs, but this one is by far the most competitive.
The game is well put together, with servers being very strong and having not offered any issues during my time playing. A huge improvement over the Jackbox structure is the ability to recover your connection if something goes wrong with the connection. So, if for whatever reason your phone kicks you out of the game, you can go back in and resume play with your points and name, unlike in the Jackbox servers. The in-game tips that show on your device are also fun to read as well as offering actual help. Overall, Use Your Words is a great shake up to the current offerings, bringing a fresh take to the table. The old-school gameshow vibe it gives off is stellar, with fun narration and scenes that are nostalgic in a way. Nothing tops the “snack” style scene that plays between waiting during Sub The Title, which is reminiscent of the down time between movies at the drive in. This game is an easy buy for fans of the genre and those looking to have yet another great option for their guests during get-togethers. Smiling Buddhas great party game will certainly bring a smile to your face if you give it the chance.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
FINAL sCORE: 8/10
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