The Jackbox Party Pack was a very well-designed and therefore successful collection of party games, thanks to their laugh-out-loud results reminiscent of physical card game, Cards Against Humanity, and its unique, highly accessible multiplayer system. Any smart phone could be a controller, and you didn’t need to be local either, allowing up to 100 people to enjoy a party game together whilst scattered all over the world. The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is posed to continue this success, utilising the same tried and tested multiplayer compound on some enhanced or new game types.
Once again the set up couldn’t be simpler. On the Xbox One you pick a game, then place the controller down and grab a smart phone or tablet. On the screen you’ll be given a four character code, which allows you to login to the game through your smart device by going to jackbox.tv. Once all players are logged in and ready to go, you can start the game.
Five games come with The Jackbox Party Pack 2. Fibbage 2 and Quiplash XL are likely to look familiar. The Fibbage sequel plays much like its predecessor on the first Jackbox Party Pack, where up to eight players are given a sentence that features a missing word. Each player then types in what they think is a believable (but incorrect) replacement for that word, with the objective being to fool other players into voting for your lie. When all the lies are in, everybody chooses an answer, hoping to avoid the lies and find the truth. Fool people with your answer and/or select the truth from the list of available responses and you score points. It’s a simple game that can end up in hysterics as the lies get sillier, but there’s a remarkable amount of strategy involved as well. More than double the questions of the original are included as well as two new options to narrow down the answers that can be used, 50/50 and DeFIBrillator.
Quiplash XL is the same as the standalone Quiplash that’s been available on the Xbox Store for some time now, albeit with the included DLC and an addition 100 prompts. Here a prompt will pop up that asks you to write a creative answer which is then anonymously shown to your audience – of which there can be up to 10,000 – who then vote on the answer they like most. Much like Fibbage this brilliantly poses to cause hysterical laughing as the answers get more absurd.
The other three games are entirely new. Earwax plays similarly to Quiplash, where a judge chooses a prompt from a selection and task the players to best represent that prompt with two sounds from a selection of sounds. Once again hilarity inevitably ensues.
Bomb Corp. is a challenging game of bomb diffusion for up to four players, with the players having a collection of bombs to defuse whilst vague instructions are scattered between them, requiring strong teamwork and communication to figure out how to diffuse them all. It’s a fun game of high tension logic but intermittent scenes of office comedy that often fails to amuse can frustrate.
Bidiots is the weakest of the five, where players draw pictures to represent two words they’re given, then bid on other player’s works. Artists take cuts of any of their work that is won in auction and clues that appear on your smart device give you a hint to what picture are actually worth based on their subject matter. In the end your accumulated auction cut and the worth of the pictures you bought are tallied up to declare a winner. It’s a confusing game that doesn’t fit with the rest of the collection’s simplicity and the quality of the art itself isn’t taken into account at all when it comes to the worth, so it all feels a bit arbitrary.
Overall it’s another solid collection of games with Fibbage 2, Qiplash, Earwax and Bomb Corp. easily making up for the misstep with Bidiots. Each game inevitably turns into fits of laughter and it’s a great way to being in a party together, play online with friends and strangers, or play with a large audience. It’s a shame you still can’t adjust game setting to increase their length, and there’s no persistent registration to hold you previous scores, but this is otherwise a spectacular set of amusing party games.
Thanks to Xbox and Jackbox Games for their support
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