Title: Jackbox Party Pack 4
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Mac, Amazon, iOS, Android
Developer: Jackbox Games, Inc.
Publisher: Jackbox Games, Inc.
Genre: Party, Humor, Trivia
Official Site: https://jackboxgames.com/project/jbpp4/
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Where To Buy: PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace, Steam, Nintendo eShop, Google Play, Humble, Amazon Fire TV Store, Fanatical, Apple Store
Another year, another ridiculous party game compilation. The Jackbox Party Pack 4 does not do anything dramatic with the formula we know and love, but it does add some quality of life upgrades, some interesting options for streamers, and some stability improvements. Most everyone will be able to find something they like here, it is just a matter of matching game to group.
If you are unfamiliar with the series, the Jackbox Party Pack 4 contains several party games that are easy to pick up and learn. After starting a game, players sign in with a wi-fi enabled device, like a smartphone or tablet, and get ready to begin. This easy barrier of entry (not needing a traditional controller is huge for non-gamers) makes the Jackbox Party Pack 4 an excellent pick up for family gatherings or a diverse cast of friends.
You’ll get different mileage out of each game depending on several different factors. Ultimately, each game is contingent on the group you are playing it with, so let’s dive in and see what five (or five and a half, as the store page claims) silly party games are available.
Fibbage 3 – One of the iconic Jackbox games, Fibbage is back with updated questions and a kitschy, 70s aesthetic. Fibbage has always been the most widely enjoyed game whenever my group loads up party games, and the version in the Jackbox Party Pack 4 is no exception. The host will give you a prompt with a blank to fill in, usually about some bizarre bit of news or trivia. Each person will then have a short period of time to try to make up a lie that will fool the other players. You get points if people choose your lie or if you pick the correct answer from everyone else’s lies. Games of Fibbage get pretty heated, provide a lot of laughs, are easy to explain, and usually finish up in about twenty minutes. Always a fun option.
Fibbage: Enough About You – The “half” game of the “five and half” claim. Very similar to regular Fibbage, except now the host will prompt each player to answer a truth and a lie about a specific question (“What takes up too much space in your house?” or some such nonsense) and challenge the other players to guess which is which. Maybe a decent ice breaker, but not quite as enjoyable as the regular game, especially if you are playing with couples or friends who already know each other very well.
Bracketeering – Basically a different version of Quiplash. Fairly similar to Fibbage, but instead of choosing a plausible lie, you just try to come up with the funniest/cleverest answer to a prompt. A good bet for people who like games like Cards Against Humanity. The problem with Bracketeering is that it can tend to get less funny as it continues on, but you also don’t want to hurt people’s feelings by telling them their responses aren’t clever. The final round is a blast, where the prompt gets manipulated to make your responses sound more bizarre.
Civic Doodle – There’s always an art game in Jackbox collections, and Civic Doodle is the pick for the Jackbox Party Pack 4. No Jackbox art game has come close to matching the genius that is Drawful, but Civic Doodle makes a valiant effort. Two players will start with a small, simple drawing and be tasked with quickly adding to it to turn it into something else. The drawings show up in real time, and the group votes on which drawing is better. The winning drawing is then passed on to two more people, who must add more to it to transform it into something else. It’s hectic and extremely fun to jeer people as they attempt to make quick artwork on their touch screens, and the final round involves everyone competing at the same time before showcasing the best artwork of the round.
Monster Seeking Monster – Love the atmosphere of this one, but it did not stick the landing with everyone who played it. The host and the bizarre disco theme are a blast, but pretending to try to date your friends is more stressful and awkward than hilarious. Everyone in Monster Seeking Monster has special powers (the zombie turns everyone they date into zombies, for example) and a special win condition. You then take turns on a Tinder-esque monster dating game, trying to convince people to date you in order to fulfill your win condition. There are a lot of good elements here, but you need the right group to make it work.
Survive The Internet – This one is a blast. Each player is given a prompt and told to answer it honestly. Each response is then sent to another player, who must try to come up with a different prompt that will make the other person sound insensitive/silly. There is a lot of one-upsmanship in Survive the Internet, and it’s a game where inside jokes can develop quickly and take on whole new meaning. The only downfall is the last round, which uses pictures. It isn’t as fun as the first few rounds, which is a bit of a letdown.
All these games are easy to explain and join in on, plus they all have options so a streaming audience can participate to mess with the players. There is a lot of value, and each game is fun to mix up with different groups to find different dynamics. However, don’t expect anything dramatically new here.
Verdict: There’s a lot more to the Jackbox Party Pack 4 than it initially seems, and it is a good mixture for either close friends or the awkward holiday “Let’s play a game, since I don’t want to talk to you all directly!” crowd. It seems unlikely that your main gaming group would not be able to find a couple games to enjoy in this pack, and boisterous party game crowds will get a lot of mileage out of it. The Jackbox Party Pack 4 may not have a ton to offer if you already own one or two other games in the series, but it is a great place to start if it is new to you.
- Easy for anyone to play
- Lots of room for humor and inside jokes
- Something for everyone
- Not much new
- Very reliant on the group to be successful