Title: Jackbox Party Pack 3
Available On: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Developer: Jackbox Games
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Official Site: Jackbox Games
Release Date: October 18th, 2016
Where To Buy: Xbox Live, PSN Store, Steam
With a growing trend finding the majority of civilization becoming more and more absorbed with their smartphones, social interaction has drastically diminished. Even when a rare social gathering occurs with friends and family coming together, it is not too surprising to see the attendees attention slowly become attracted towards their small glowing device. How then can ‘Party Games’ survive in this era?
Jackbox Games refused to fight change and instead embraced it by utilizing these smart devices to replace the traditional, albeit limited, buzzers we were accustomed to in the past. Using the TV as the host, it is laughably easy for up to 8 players to join the fun with their phone, tablet or laptop. Jackbox Party Pack 3 continues the stellar work done with the previous titles and delivers a more varied, enjoyable and exciting collection of games than ever before.
As was the case with the two prequels, Jackbox Party Pack 3 brings a total of five games to your living room. Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, Tee K.O, Fakin’ It and returning with a follow-up, Quiplash 2. The standout improvement within Jackbox Party Pack 3 is how different each game plays. The core mechanics exist throughout however your controller can now do more than simply type and select answers and believe it or not, you may even find yourself looking away from the device all together.
Quiplash 2 is a further continuation of what came before. If you have played the popular game ‘Cards Against Humanity’, Quiplash will instantly feel familiar. Questions are asked on the screen and by using your controller, you must use your creative or vile mind to devise amusing answers which other players will vote for as their favorite. The questions are deliberately posed to evoke inspired responses with laughter, shock and cringe inducing situations soon to follow.
Tee K.O, although contrastingly different to the more formal Quiplash 2, re-treads the familiar footsteps that Jackbox Games are known for. The concept however is unlike anything seen before. Players choose their seemingly adorable avatars and witness them evolve into aggressive and violent anime heroes. The animation and presentation looks impressive with a flurry of exotic colors, loud explosions and spellbinding music. Tee K.O begins triumphantly but soon descends into familiar territory with players designing pieces of art and slogans which can be rearranged by others to produce whimsical T-shirts. Tee K.O possesses a lot of potential but only if players are willing to reciprocate with creativity.
The remaining three games require less work on the participants part and offers much needed innovation into the series. Guesspionage is a game of percentages. A bizarrely curious question is posed to the audience and the player must decide on the percentage of people who agree/disagree. The remaining players can then vote higher or lower than your submission to acquire additional points for themselves. It feels refreshing not being the creative force at work in Guesspionage which allows for the group to discuss and bond over some shocking statistics.
Trivia Murder Party feels far more fleshed out that the other games within Jackbox Party Pack 3. Firstly the production feels well executed from the opening title sequence featuring terrifying montages to the narrator who’s voice is morphed using a voice changing tool. Although the premise is dark and terrifying, the host had our entire group sniggering with his poor attempts at being a ‘serial’ killer.
Trivia Murder Party makes use of the smart device in ways previous games have never dared. Every round requires the participants to answer a fairly difficult question. Those who fail must fight for their survival by completing a minigame on their controller. Quick math or remembering patterns are just a few ingenious methods the executioner uses to decide who his next victim will be. As the game continues and more hostages fall, the final round tasks the remaining survivor with dashing for the exit. As they attempt to escape, the souls of the perished pursue in an effort to regain their body and escape themselves. The momentum continually changes and rivalries begin to emerge. As only one survivor can remain at the game end, if you start a ‘sequel’, the survivor is captured once more with the children of the deceased taking the place of their parents…
Lastly Fakin’ It attempts to encourage players to avert their eyes away from their smart device and into the faces of others as you lie to win. Each round, a participant is selected as the faker and as such, must attempt to blend in. A way to express yourself is selected by a player which could range from striking a facial expression to simply raising a hand. Everyone is given a question and on the count of three, must express themselves in the appropriate way. The catch is the faker has no idea what the question is. As the deceiver, I found myself accidentally claiming to have not showered for the day whilst attempting to look accusingly at others. Everyone participating found themselves looking more at one another than their phone which in today’s age, is a huge achievement for Jackbox Party Pack 3.
The crux of Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a huge success as the games are all entertaining and engrossing but there is certainly still room for improvement in the future. As an Englishman living in Australia, I found a lot of the questions were aimed towards an American audience and my Australian friends found this issue a problem too. The ability to create your own questions and answers has returned from Drawful 2 but this always means that someone will not be able to fully participate. Being able to modify individual games would be a welcome addition too with longer rounds negating the need to restart a new session every five or so minutes.
Aside from these minor concerns and thanks to the brilliant Twitch integration where thousands of viewers can be in the audience of your game voting for their favorite answers, Jackbox Party Pack 3 is the ultimate party game. There is still room to evolve but considering how Jackbox Games have improved upon their brilliant second outing, the future is bright for the party game genre.
- Gameplay: Varied Party Games Utilizing Smart Devices
- Graphics: Appropriate, Great Animations
- Sound: Hilarious Commentary
- Presentation: An Incredibly Well Balanced Collection
- Ease of Access
- Varied Package
- Aimed Towards Americans