Review: Jackbox Party Pack 3

Game: Jackbox Party Pack 3
Developed by: Jackbox Games
Published by: Jackbox Games
Available for: PC, Mac, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, NVidia Shield

For years, when I’ve gathered to play games with friends, the Jackbox Party Pack has been a staple, and though the Jackbox Party Pack 4 is out now, the third party pack offers a separate selection of games that all hold their entertainment value steady. As with all Party Packs, though, your enjoyment of the pack heavily depends on your enjoyment of the individual games included.

NOTE: Setting the Jackbox Party Packs apart from other games is that you and your friends need only one internet-connected device each to play. Put away the controllers, as long as everyone’s got a phone, laptop, or tablet, you’ll be able to play.

GAMES

Quiplash 2: Quiplash is a simple game; given a prompt or two, enter the funniest answer you can. After a short answer period, each answer will be matched against what one of your friends entered for the same prompt. The rest of your friends vote, and points are allocated based on how many votes each player receives. After two rounds, a third round begins where all players answer the same prompt and divvy medals (gold, silver, and bronze) to their favorite responses. Players are awarded points based on the medals they receive and the player with the highest combined score at the end of the game wins.

Trivia Murder Party: The out-of-the-ordinary game of this pack, Trivia Murder Party is a trivia game with a horror theme. You and all of your friends are fighting for your life in the form of answering general trivia questions. Get a question wrong, and you’ll have to either take a punishment or play a minigame to survive. Once all players but one have died, the final player begins a race to the dungeon’s exit, and though this survivor has a head start, they’ll be trailed by the ghosts of their fallen friends. If a ghost manages to catch up to the survivor by answering more questions correctly, they’ll take over the survivor’s body and continue the race. Whichever player, living or dead, makes it to the exit first is declared the winner.

Guesspionage: Using polling data, Guesspionage challenges players to estimate the percentage of people that have done a given thing. For example, one question asks “What percentage of people have written on bathroom stalls sometime in their lives?”. In Guesspionage, players take turns to guess the exact percentage of people that responded positively to a given question. After you’ve made your guess, other players get to guess if the real percentage is higher or lower than your estimate. After the correct percentage is revealed, players earn points for being close to the real percentage and for being correct in the higher-or-lower assessment. At the end of the game, whichever player has the most points wins.

Tee K.O.: Tee K.O. is a battle to create the best T-shirt with what you have at your disposal. The game begins by asking players to contribute to a pool of images and taglines before moving on to deliver a random selection of those images and taglines to each player. From your random supply of images and pieces of text drawn and written by your friends, it’s your idea to create the most best T-shirt combination possible. When all players have created their shirts, the game continues to its next phase, a gauntlet-style battle to the death where each shirt is compared with the others and voted on to find the best shirt. Players win points at the end for making and contributing to the best shirt, and whichever player has the most points wins.

Fakin’ It: Fakin’ It is a game about trying to blend in with your friends and justifying your reaction when you fail. Each round, the game selects one player to be the “faker”. Every player that isn’t the faker receives the same instructions, which could be anything from ‘raise your hand if you own a hockey jersey’ to ‘point at the person you would most want to share a two-person horse costume with’. After a countdown, everyone follows the instructions, including the faker, who doesn’t know what the instructions are. Players can then accuse and vote on who they think the faker is, but the faker isn’t caught unless the vote is unanimous. At the end of each round, points are awarded for catching the faker and to the faker for evading capture. Whichever player has the most points at the end of the game wins.

WHAT I LIKED

Quiplash 2: Quiplash may still be my all-time favorite Jackbox game. It’s incredibly simple in execution, but there’s something about a battle for funny answers that I find infinitely entertaining. For a casual and funny experience limited only by who you play with, Quiplash 2 is a great time.

Trivia Murder Party: It’s just trivia with a twist, but damn if it isn’t fun. Getting to the final portion and racing against your friends to survive is a tense experience that leads to a feeling of absolute victory.

Tee K.O.: Tee K.O. drags on a little long, but it’s fun to see what ridiculous image-and-text combinations you and your friends can create, especially when everyone goes for the absurd from the start.

A LITTLE OF THIS, A LITTLE OF THAT

Guesspionage: I certainly wouldn’t argue that Guesspionage isn’t a good game, but it definitely didn’t pull me in as other Jackbox games have. Guesspionage is a fun guessing experience, but it’s worth noting that nothing about the game is particularly funny. You may be surprised by how many people admit to public flatulence, but there’s no opportunity for comedic input from your friends, making it a standout in an otherwise fairly funny party pack.

Fakin’ It: Fakin’ It is another game that may suffer from me not having played it as much, but the time I spent on it with friends led to something of a confusing, unenthusiastic experience. The directions given to the fakers don’t always clarify that they’re the faker, and as much as it tries to hit that level of Jackbox charm, it’s not one of the better games in this pack.

CONCERNS

What You See is What You Get: The games described above are the games included in the Jackbox Party Pack 3. If they don’t sound fun now, they probably won’t be fun in practice.

Multiplayer: The Jackbox Party Pack is designed to be played in a local multiplayer setting. The more recent packs are somewhat more stream-friendly, but they require multiple players nonetheless. If you don’t have friends that would be interested in the games above, you may not find yourself playing them very often.

Device-Controlled: The Jackbox Party Pack can be played with any internet-connected device, but each player needs their own. As long as you have a phone, laptop, tablet, or similar device for each player, you’ll be fine, but the less technologically-literate members of your family or group may have to sit this one out.

WHO’S IT FOR?

If the games listed above sound fun and interesting, and you’ve got a group you’d love to try them with, give the Jackbox Party Pack 3 a shot.

If you’re not sure the games listed above sound right for you, or if you don’t have a party of people to play them with, consider giving the Jackbox Party Pack 3 a miss.

STATISTICS

From Steamspy unless otherwise noted.

Average Playtime*: 10.5 hours
Average Cost per Hour**: $2.38

Median Playtime*: 5 hours
Median Cost per Hour**: $5.00

* Playtime rounded to the nearest quarter-hour
**Costs calculated using a price of $24.99

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