Party games have a very interesting line to ride. They need to be fun. They need to make everyone comfortable. And they need everyone to be equally engaged in the setting, whether it’s two people or a large group. It may be easy to churn out a game that two to eight people can huddle around but creating a game that’s involving, fun, and exciting for said group of people, that’s something differently entirely. Jackbox Party Pack 3 not only succeeds at vaulting over this challenge but it manages to do so in a way that feels new, different, and exciting compared to many other party games. With its newest iteration on the Nintendo Switch, it feels like it’s finally come home to place it belongs. The pick-up-and-play nature of the Nintendo Switch creates even more possibilities for impromptu fun and craziness. All you need to play is some friends with phones, the Nintendo Switch console, and a Wi-Fi signal. Luckily in today’s world, it’s easiest to find the last thing on that list…
There are five different games to choose from on Jackbox Party Pack 3 and a high level of variety present across the lot to help mix things up at your next party or gathering. Three of them require at least three players to play while two of them can be played with just two people. All but one of them supports up to eight players with just the one game supporting three to six players. They all vary in how much fun and entertainment they offer but the games I prefer may very well differ from your favorites. I will say though that the more people playing, the more fun you’ll probably have. Two or three people in a game is still a lot of fun but Jackbox Party Pack 3 shines the brightest when groups are bigger and more involved with the antics spread across the collection of games.
It’s a pretty simple premise and it shouldn’t be hard to convince people to jump in and play with you. For starters even if it’s parents, family, or friends who aren’t traditional gamers you can reassure them immediately that this isn’t like other games. First of all, they can use their smartphone or tablet as a controller. In today’s society, everyone is always within three feet of their phone anyway so as long as they have one you know they’re probably comfortable using it. It’s almost like the stereotypical board game commercial in its set-up which helps not only make everyone comfortable but it also helps make the games more fun. Everyone just needs to grab their phones and sit around the TV together. Obviously, on this newest version on the Nintendo Switch, you can also all surround the Switch tablet as well. It works well in this setting but unless you’re at a coffee shop or sitting at a picnic table with a group of three or four, I’d recommend blowing this up on the big screen if at all possible. Once everyone’s sitting around the TV (or Switch screen) you just connect your console to the Internet and choose a game. Once you’ve selected what game you’re all going to play it’ll have everyone go to jackbox.tv and join the room with a room code. It only takes a couple of seconds and then you’re off!
Games work by having the questions and on-screen action display on the big screen while everyone uses their phones or tablets as their own personal controller. You’ll typically be selecting words, typing, or drawing so it’s actually a pretty great set-up. This kind of premise works so well because it keeps everything moving quickly while they use a device they couldn’t be more comfortable with. Spectators can join in too and participate a bit as well but I honestly don’t know why they wouldn’t just see how much fun everyone is having and jump right in–unless the game is already full of eight people, which is entirely possible with games this fun.
I played with my Wife, Mother-in-Law, and Brother-in-Law for a few hours. I don’t even think we intended to play as long as we did but the time flew right by. The night was planned a few days in advance when I requested some help in reviewing a multiplayer party game. Everyone committed to checking out each game at least once with me and despite games not being too long, I think we ended up playing for two or three hours. There were requests to replay some games and we all had a really great time. When I reminded everyone it was downloaded on the Switch and we could play whenever everyone was interested they all seemed pretty receptive to revisiting it in the future for some more family fun.
It’s pretty hard to pick a favorite because they’re all pretty fun games so we’ll just start with the two that were most popular with my group.
Tee K.O. was my group’s favorite hands down and it’s pretty easy to see why. There are multiple different phases and objectives in this game and while at first, we weren’t sure how it was going to line up, it was soon clear and we were thrilled with the result. It starts off with everyone drawing pictures. You can draw anything you want (for better or worse) and if you’re not very creative or confident you can always hit the suggestion button on your personal device and it’ll give you a prompt like “Gorilla eating pizza” or “Cat riding a bicycle.” These are going to be quick drawings. You only have so much time to draw and you can complete more than just two or three drawings if you’re quick enough. This helps push players to try to hurry so they can create more content and of course, it helps increase the zaniness and creativity with the short amount of time as well. We drew all sorts of crazy things across our many different games. My Wife drew an adorable penguin that I wish I could have framed forever. My Brother-in-Law drew a pretty cool drawing of Albert Einstein and a silly looking snake hanging out above the water. My pictures were so great and creative that I feel no need to mention them. Just picture the best stuff and you’ll have my pictures.
Mine actually weren’t too bad. I mostly drew Bernie Sanders, dogs, and a man with green hair that was crying out blue tears. I don’t have any excuses though because I could have hit the suggestion button. I just enjoy drawing Bernie Sanders and dogs. Once the time’s up and everyone’s drawn at least a couple pictures then the game moves onto the next phase where you type out random catch phrases and sentences. Now, this is where my group and I got a little confused and wondered where this was going. After this phase though we learned and we couldn’t have been happier.
The third phase takes random pictures and sentences that people created and tasks them with pairing them together for the best (or their favorite) combinations in the form of T-Shirts. They will not necessarily be your pictures and/or sentences. In fact, they’ll normally be the other players’ creations. Now the first two steps were already a lot of fun but this third phase really brings it home. The random pictures and sentences can be combined for some really great and hilarious results that get blown up on the TV for everyone to enjoy. It also gives new life to the pictures and sentences because you’re already to see them combined in such perfect ways. Our group’s favorites were probably a picture of Albert Einstein with the phrase “Where’s LaMar?” and a picture of a spoopy ghost with the phrase “Don’t tell me what to do” attached. The lack of context, rhyme, or reason is what makes them so great. We couldn’t help but play this game the most. We love playing Game & Wario‘s ‘Sketches’ on the Wii U and this just took that concept to an entirely new, personal, and involved manner. In fact, we were even treated to a final surprise that just made everything even more perfect at the end of our first game. I kept commenting how much I’d love to own so many of these T-Shirts to wear everywhere for all the world to see for my own (and the world’s) amusement. Well, you can absolutely buy these shirts. I know this feature may go away eventually because perfect things don’t last but I hope it never does. It was already a great time that we all can’t wait to experience again but the fact that we can click a link on our phone at the end of our games and order our custom made T-Shirts just makes the sauce that much sweeter in this delicious dish we devoured. I’m going to make sure to throw some money into my PayPal before we play again because I need to buy a couple shirts for my and my group next time. And you know, for the world to appreciate because we’re the best.
Quiplash 2 is a lot of fun. It would have been number one in my group if it weren’t for Tee K.O. being so perfect. The easiest way to sum up Quiplash 2 is that its kind of like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity but–and this is key–with a more personal touch. That’s right, in Quiplash 2 you answer some questions with your own answers and then the rest of the players will vote on them. It’s really fun and would easily be a great beginning to any party setting. The questions can be quite ridiculous and funny but with the right groups, they’ll pale in comparison to how ridiculous (or dark) the answers can get!
The other plays being able to vote on the answers helps make the answers feel like everyone’s since everyone is taking part in the madness. The game, of course, moves around to different players too so it’ll move quickly and be equally involving the whole group. My group had a lot of fun with this one. Some questions can be a little sexual or adult oriented which might not be a problem but just in case it is, you can change the settings at the main menu in case you’re playing with kids or I don’t know, maybe you’re like me and playing with your Mother-in-Law. It was still fun before we changed that. Some questions were just a bit awkward.
Everything flows quickly in this game and it’s honestly a really great time. Questions are random and fun and with the right group, the answers will be too. Quiplash 2 is for three players or more but I would try to get as big of a group as possible because this will more fun with bigger groups. We played in a group of four and it felt right but if another sibling or parent had jumped in then it would have made it even more fun. This is definitely one of the highlights of this package and I’d say Jackbox Party Pack 3 is worth it for Tee K.O. and Quiplash 2 alone.
Okay, now we’re getting into the pretty tricky territory. We enjoyed all of the games on here but these next two were hard to rank. I think Guesspionage is easier to jump into and a little more pick-up-and-play so that’s why it’s the next game on the list. When you want a break from designing the best T-Shirts and laughing at crazy answers to ludicrous questions you can take a quick breather with Guesspionage. It’s still a lot of fun but requires less creativity so you can give your creative muscles a little rest.
In Guesspionage players will be tasked with answering percentage based questions. You’ll be asked questions like “How many people do you think wear underwear everyday?” or “How many people do you think brush their teeth everyday?” These questions were asked in surveys online and the Jackbox crew compiled them all into a fun guessing game for you to enjoy with friends and family. You’ll also learn a lot about us as a species–for better or worse. Questions will pop up on the TV screen (or tablet screen) and they’ll be directed at one person. That person will pick a percentage between 0 percent and 100 percent and they’ll earn points based on how close they are. The other players will get to participate even when it’s not their turn too though! Other players will guess on how much lower or higher they think the percentage is that the other player chose. It’s a little friendly competition because you can straight up call out other players’ guesses and earn points if you’re right and they’re wrong. It’s pretty fun and it keeps everyone engaged.
At the end of the games there will be a tile based ranking game with questions like “What nerd fandoms do you think are most popular?” and you’ll rank a few of them like, for example, “Star Wars, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Star Trek” and then everyone gains points based on how correct they were. It’s also fun because, like the rest of the game, you get to see everyone’s answers at the end. This game has fun music and effects with engaging and involving gameplay that will keep everyone entertained for quite some time. I know my group had a lot of fun with it and I’m sure we’ll end up playing it again.
Trivia Murder Party is your standard trivia game–except you’re trapped in a haunted house, threatened with death, will likely have a finger or two cut off, and have a demented (and silly) host. Other than those things though it’s your standard trivia game though so not too many changes. I’m kidding of course! This game is a lot of fun and has a nice little dark but tongue-in-cheek edge that keeps it lighter and funnier than you’d expect from the title. The host is a riot and will draw a lot of laughs. My group really enjoyed this game.
My Wife and I played some of this game with just the two of us and while it was fun, I will say that it worked better with at least four people. The game goes on a bit longer and there’s a bit more going on with the bigger settings. In this game, you’ll answer trivia questions as a group and anyone who’s wrong suffers the consequences and is called out. Questions pop up on the TV screen (or tablet screen) and everyone picks their own answer on their mobile device. Questions vary across a wide range of topics but can include history, science, and anything else you can think of. It’s a lot of fun and the humor is consistent in its decision on tongue-in-cheek and slightly dark. The theme works well. It’s dark enough where it’s different and has an interesting premise for a party game but it’s also lighthearted and fun.
It may sound like your typical party game with a different theme, like Monopoly with a different theme, but there’s more to it than that. There are a few unique twists in this game that help separate it from different party trivia games. My favorite two really affect the flow of the game and how it works. The first one is when you get a question wrong and get a finger cut off. You get to pick which finger gets cut off and while at first it may not seem like a big deal but it affects the game more than you’d think. See I thought it was just supposed to be “Oh no, my finger got cut off!” but it’s a video game and not real life so I didn’t really care. Yeah, I was wrong. You can’t answer certain questions without certain fingers. See the questions are multiple choice and if you’re missing a ring finger then you can’t select certain options. It’ll vary on which row you can’t select based on which finger was cut off but it’s a pretty interesting concept. I thought it was pretty funny when I knew the answer but couldn’t select it! It made it a bit more intense because I’d be getting questions wrong that I knew the right answers to. It not only feels like a good consequence and keeps everyone laughing but it also encourages you to take extra care not to get questions wrong. It goes beyond not getting points on that question. You could also not gain points on questions down the road.
Another neat concept I like that’s fairly unique is that one people die they turn into ghosts. Here’s the catch: you may be dead but you can still escape the horrors of this haunted and demented house at the end of the game. You can still answer questions and if you catch up to whoever is in the lead you’ll steal their body and can escape that way. It really makes things intense in the end of the game. Ghosts also have an extra option for answers in the final round, which can give them a little boost. See, in the final round questions will be in the ‘Select All That Apply’ format and so that extra option could potentially give you an extra space to move forward in the final round. You don’t move around a game board or anything. This movement based reward only applies to the final round of the game when everyone’s racing towards the door to escape. The rest of the game is just answering questions, staying alive, and not losing your fingers. If this sounds pretty crazy then it’s because it is. I’d highly recommend you bust this out in your next social gathering. It was fun with two people but I definitely think it benefits when more people are added to the game.
Fakin’ It! is not a bad game. It’s not. It’s a good game. I can just say with complete honesty that I doubt we will revisit this game that often. It’s fun enough I suppose but the rest of the games greatly eclipsed this game for my group. We spent the majority of our time with Tee K.O. and Quiplash 2 with a few rounds of Guesspionage and Trivia Murder Party sprinkled in for good measure.
Fakin’ It! will ask questions of everyone but provide specific questions that are different to one person. Players will raise their hands, make faces, and react based on the prompts but the player that receives slightly different prompts, questions, and instructions can stand out a bit if people pay attention. Each round everyone will guess who the faker is and at the very end, players will receive points based on if they were correct on rounds and overall. To give you an example of how it works everyone might be asked “What’s your dream car?” and the one player will be asked, “What was your first car?” Another example would be “What’s a face you’d make to show disgust?” for the one player while everyone else is asked, “What’s the face you’d make when you’re trying to seduce someone?” It can create some laughs as everyone is reacting and of course at the same time players are going to be looking for the faker. The faker will see everyone reacting and be trying to blend in as best as possible.
It’s a neat concept but I just think it’s as fun or lands as gracefully in its settings as the other games. I definitely think it’s worth trying with a few friends once or twice to at least see what you all think of it. It could be fun I suppose. We just didn’t enjoy it as much. We also loved Tee K.O. and Quiplash 2 and really enjoyed Guesspionage and Trivia Murder Party as well though so there was no point in trying to force ourselves to enjoy something we weren’t digging. We already loved and enjoyed four other games.
There’s a lot to love in Jackbox Party Pack 3 and I’d recommend it to anyone who plays games with friends at least once or twice a month. It’ll really turn your next party or gathering from “Yeah, this is pretty cool I guess. I wish there was Doritos though.” to “Oh man. I don’t need chips when I got these good laughs coming out of my laughing face!” It’s a really fun experience and despite my group and I not enjoying one of the games very much, we loved two of them and really enjoyed two of the other games. This game only costs 25 bucks and I think it’s easily worth much more than that. This game is also available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC but I honestly think the Nintendo Switch is the best version to purchase. I wouldn’t run out and purchase a Nintendo Switch for it but that should definitely be the home for this wacky and fun game. The Nintendo Switch is going to be a fun machine and this is a great addition to its growing list of great games.
You don’t have to take my word for it though–check out the video above of the developer playing the two games that my group and I loved the most. These are two games that I know we’ll be playing a lot over the next few months and I hope you all decide to as well. Let us know on Twitter at @BagoGames if you play it and what you think! You can also reach out to me on Twitter at @Mrjoshnichols and let me know what you think! As always, play good games, have fun, and see you all soon in my next review!
A Nintendo Switch code was provided by Jackbox Games for the purpose of this review.
Jackbox Party Pack 3
- Five party games for one great price of 25 bucks
- A good variety for different gameplay styles and fun
- Tee K.O. and Quiplash 2 are more fun than I can put into words
- Trivia Murder Party and Guesspionage are a lot of fun as well
- Engaging and involving gameplay for groups of two-eight people both at home and on the go
- Fakin' It! could be fun. It just isn't as fun as the other games