It has become a yearly tradition to have five new Jackbox Party games. This year’s The Jackbox Party Pack 5 continues that trend, succeeding yet again with flying colors, but some major connection issues and a few gameplay mechanic mishaps can spoil the experience.
You Don’t Know Jack
Let’s start with the classic You Don’t Know Jack, which in this installment, has much needed changes to alter the balance and format of the mobile controller. In this game, you answer unorthodox questions that require extra thinking and knowledge of the question’s context. Many of the questions are incredibly clever, making my group think, “How the hell did the writers think of this?”. Some were head scratching, especially if you don’t get the context of a random TV show or actor you’ve never heard of. Instead of having specific episodes to choose from, this You Don’t Know Jack has random questions in a Netflix-style display. I haven’t had the same question twice.
There are still rounds and screws, but the point designation for how much time is left is gone. Instead, you get $2000 for the right answer and lose $2000 for the wrong answer. Games feel much more competitive than previous iterations because of this. Screws, rather than reducing the amount of time, affect your screen in creative ways like having to go through a EULA-like contract to answer the question. It’s a great twist that keeps the mobile format in mind. You also get money with a successful screw.
Like always, the last round is the most important in Jack Attack. This is where some problems haunt the overall experience. In a quick-fire pace, you match up answers to prompts and wrong answers make you lose money while correct answers give you money. However, the fastest person to answer gets the most cash. This is where the issue lies. With the mobile format, the answers came up after my friends received them, so I was penalized for having a laggy experience. In a neck-and-neck game, this makes a huge difference.
It’s great to have Cookie Masterson and You Don’t Know Jack back for this party pack, and with the format changes, it’s even better. However, the connection issues really plague the game.
Patently Stupid, hosted by a morally bankrupt ex-couple, is a game in which you pitch your ideas to a company for a ridiculous problem, then have them stolen.
At the start of the game, you create your own problems by filling the blanks in a prompt. After that, players choose between two prompts randomly designated to you. Then, you create an invention to help that situation and pitch it to the group with a tagline and drawing. Hilarity ensues. Almost every time we play this, we laughed our butts off. I even rolled over on the floor, gasping for air as the laughs kept coming out.
The way to win is simple: Get the most money for your concept from the group. This game is well designed and hilarious to play, especially with more people in your party. Definitely try this out.
Split The Room
When you think Jackbox has thought of everything, they surprise you every year. Split The Room presents yet another interesting premise. In this case, you’re given a situation and have to fill in the blank. As the title suggests, the game’s aim is to split the room and get more points by coming up with a difficult situation that the players would be split on. You really have to use your smarts for this one, consider the people in your group, and where their morality lies. The idea is interesting, but results may vary depending on the players’ creativity.
Most of the time, the players I had a similar answer to the situation due to the similarities we share, but as more join the group, the more likely there will be a split. Some of the prompts make come up with precarious decisions difficult. If the other players have a better prompt, you will be at a disadvantage. When Split The Room works, it’s a fun time as you learn more about each other and laugh at each other’s morally grey decision making.
Mad Verse City
I have to admit something. I’m whack with this game, but I’ll beat your ass down at Jack Attack. Mad Verse City is a lot of fun, but either you’re dumb or a genius.
Mad Verse City is a rap battle game, pitting players against each other to get the sickest rap in three rounds. Your friends or the audience on the stream votes on who has the best rap in a 1v1 match each round. This game really comes down to your group’s creativity. If you can’t think of anything, the AI-driven line it creates fails as it doesn’t rap with the previous line.
The prompts can be difficult to understand, especially if you’re not great with grammar. The first line of each rap in two verses is made up for you with your own word at the end. However, if you don’t understand the prompt, the line might not make sense. In some cases, it asks you to come up with a proper noun. Does a regular person know what that is? The prompt might also make you think of things that don’t make sense with the line they’re attached to.
Mad Verse City can be mad fun with a creative group when the assigned prompts are easy to understand. The burns my group made were laugh out loud hilarious. Keep practicing if you’re not good at it. You’ll eventually get better. Results may vary, though.
This is a review-in-progress as I haven’t spent enough time with Zeeple Dome to critique it. My friends have a lack of interest in it so it’s hard to get proper time with the game. So far, it is lacking as it’s unresponsive and the tutorial wasn’t particularly fun. I’ll include my thoughts on this within a week as I will be playing it over the weekend.
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 once again reinvents the formula with fresh ideas. It has perfect party concepts that help you learn more about your friends and family. The return of the excellent You Don’t Know Jack has new mechanics to fit the mobile format in a more polished fashion. However, connection issues are still present, and there are a few mechanics that could have been tweaked to enhance the experience for everyone.
A review code was provided by Jackbox Games.
The Jackbox Party Pack 5
The Jackbox Party Pack 5, once again, reinvents the formula with fresh ideas. It has perfect party concepts that help you learn more about your friends and family, and the return of the excellent You Don't Know Jack has new mechanics to fit the mobile format in a more polished fashion. However, the connection issues are still present, and there are a few mechanics that could have been tweaked to better the experience for everyone.
- The games are inventive and make you think in more ways than one.
- You Don't Know Jack is even better with its new format.
- Lots of hilarity can ensue from the new games, Mad Verse City and Patently Stupid
- Connection issues from You Don't Know Jack plague the experience.
- Some of the mechanics need a bit of tweaking like the AI made rhyme for me option and the Mad Verse City descriptors.
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