Jackbox Games have a resounding reputation for creating fun, quirky and wholly outside-the-box party games for the fun-loving and sociable gamer. From their beginnings in the You Don’t Know Jack quiz game series through to the now-six instalments of its Party Pack minigame packages, the creative minds at the Jackbox offices have barely missed a beat. You can appreciate my excitement, then, that I once again have the opportunity to play, enjoy and review the latest release from these would-be titans of entertainment; The Jackbox Party Pack 6.
“…a solid, challenging and well-fleshed-out addition to the Jackbox Party Pack library.”
Trivia Murder Party 2
The first game in the latest Party Pack package is a returning favourite; Trivia Murder Party 2. Trivia Murder Party is a game which is part quiz, part brutal, Mario Party-style minigames. Players are tasked with answering questions to earn prize money; an innocent enough start. Should a player answer incorrectly, however, they will find themselves forced into one of a variety of challenging and potentially fatal games in which their opponents will try their best to overcome and lynch them from the proceedings.
These minigames range from deft-typing challenge that is Dictation, in which players must accurately type as much of what is being read to them as possible on their device, to the devilishly unfair and entirely luck-based Loser Wheel; a random chance-based minigame with a high chance of death. Although there are a few, frustratingly luck-based games in the mix, there is a healthy variety on offer which keeps the game moving and feeling fresh each time you play. Losers aren’t gone forever, though. At the end of the game, the ghosts of players passed return and have a chance to steal the bodies of their former killers…
The end game challenge is to try and escape from the Murder Party with your prize money in hand. To do this, you must attempt to identify the items on a list which do or do not fit into a given category. Each correct answer puts you a step closer to the exit, and a step further away from the pursuing ghosts and encroaching darkness. The premise of this part of the game, and indeed the game as a whole, is simple but hugely effective. It is intense and competitive from start to end, but light-hearted and wittily-themed, giving it plenty of life and replayability. Trivia Murder Party 2 is the perfect headliner for Party Pack 6, and possibly the best game on the roster.
Dictionarium is an all-new game in The Jackbox Party Pack 6. As with many past Jackbox Party Pack games, Dictionarium hands much of the success criteria over to the players themselves. In this case, players are given a made-up word to create a definition for. Then, a round of voting determines which definition remains attached to the word for the remainder of the game. Naturally, the type of definitions which do well in Dictionarium entirely depends on the people you are playing with, so knowing your audience is the key to victory in this game.
Once witty words have been humorously defined, the second round of the game challenges players to create a synonym for the winning definition, before a final round tasks you with using your word in a sentence. Once subjective election of the winning word has taken place, your new and wonderous creation is saved into a dictionary which you can return to and marvel at any time. Dictionarium is devilishly simple compared to the other games in Party Pack 6 but is another successful iteration of the classic Jackbox game style. Whilst much of the entertainment value comes from you, the players, the framework for fun which Dictionarium provides ensures maximum hilarity will ensue.
Push the Button
If Dictionarium was devilishly simple, Push the Button is anything but. Push the Button is a twist on the classic traitor game genre, placing your group of friends in a frantic spacefaring calamity. Some players are innocent crew members, simply trying to keep their ship afloat amidst the endless dark of outer space. Other players, however, are secretly aliens whose am it is to take control of the voyage. To win the game, crew members must attempt to oust and remove the aliens from the vessel, but if even one alien survives then the aliens take the W…
At its core, Push the Button emulates a previous Jackbox Party Pack game, Fakin’ It, but adds a number of additional features and twists which make this a largely new experience. Over several rounds, players are elected to take part in one of a variety of test by their captain, who is randomly chosen each round. These tests range from expressing opinions on a given topic to drawing a picture based on an on-screen prompt. The twist is that aliens are always given a slightly different prompt or statement to respond to than that which the crew members can see; hence challenging them to attempt to blend in and blag their way to victory.=
Having played this game with both a large and small group, the latter seemed to suit the game better. In a large group, with the added complication of everyone’s “hilarious” nicknames in the mix, it can be hard to keep track of who is who and who has done what. The game does attempt to help you with this by providing a record of events thus far on your device, however it can be hard to look through these at pace and make the snappy decisions which the game demands. The additional element of a need for all ousting to be unanimous can make getting a large group to all agree on one thing exceedingly difficult as well. With a smaller group, though, and subsequently less confusion in the room, Push the Button can be fantastic fun. It is a solid, challenging and well-fleshed-out addition to the Jackbox Party Pack library.
As a purveyor of what my girlfriend refers to as “obscure Australian comedy podcasts” like The Little Dum Dum Club, I thought that Joke Boat would be right up my alley. Joke Boat is a game about being a stand-up comedian on a cruise ship. Players come up with joke topics at the start of the game and must respond to prompts which use these ideas to create the best jokes possible. The punchlines, however, are of course up to you. You also get to come up with your very own comedy catchphrase to follow-up your outstanding concoctions.
As ever with Jackbox, your friends will be the judge of what is funny and what is fluff, voting on yours and each other’s jokes to single out the masterminds in the room. However, that being said, revenge is never too far away… This game’s final round recycles all of the previous jokes which have been made, allowing you to try and one-up your friends’ performance with a twist of your own. Make sure you put in the leg work, though, as your friends will once again decide if you have in fact improved upon the original.
Joke Boat relies on the players in the room having a good and vaguely similar sense of humour. If this crucial factor is in place, then this game is one of the most hilarious in the package. Nonsense meets hysteria if the right mix of players and content is in play, with Joke Boat simply providing a platform for your inevitably naughty behaviour. Played with the right set of friends, this game alone will provide you with hours of entertainment.
Role Models is the game in Party Pack 6 which is best left until last. This is not for any lack of quality, but simply because in provides a perfect finishing touch to proceedings. Picture this; you have had plenty of fun out-quizzing, out-witting and out-funnying your friends, but one thing still remains to complete; a good ol’ healthy round of judging them!
Role Models sees players select a category from a list; take music, for example. The game then offers up as many different options from that category as there are players in the game. In the case of our example, these options may be song titles. Players are then tasked with matching each song to the person in the room whom they think it best suits the personality of. Of course, this being Jackbox and all, nothing is particularly polite about what happens next. Choosing which of your friends fits to “Let’s Get it On” whilst another has to be decorated for eternity with “Dancing Queen” is both quite the challenge and very much a judgement-fest. When all choices are locked in, the player with the majority of votes for an option against their name has that item attached to them for the remainder of the game.
As the game goes on, depending on how you have labelled your friends, the game will reveal their personality within your group. This is often thematic to the categories being played, so in the case of our example we might end up with a “helpless romantic” or “diva” in the mix. This alone makes for fantastic fun, but of course there also has to be a winner. In Role Models, players are awarded Science Points if the person they voted for in a given category is ultimately assigned the label they chose. Essentially, if you judge your friends correctly, you win the game.
Provided there are no fall outs in your friendship group, Role Models is good clean fun. It holds your hand a little more than some of the other game modes, providing you with all of the options that you need to play, but the end result is just as enjoyable as any other game in the package. Another easy win for the Jackbox development team.
It is clear from each of these mini reviews that The Jackbox Party Pack 6 is another fantastically funny albeit nonsensical instalment in Jackbox Games’ now long-running series. Each game offers its own style and quirks, but none is any less entertaining, silly or hilarious than the last. Hours of fun await at your next house party if you choose to put your hard-earned pocket money down on this title. All you have to do is add the right group of friends.
Developer: Jackbox Games
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Platforms: Android, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Amazon
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