What’s in the Box?
Jackbox Party Pack 3 keeps the party going with a new set of five multiplayer games: Quiplash 2, Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, Fakin’ It, and Tee K.O. While the selection is diverse, there are a few duds that won’t appeal to most groups and are unlikely to sustain a party’s attention. Each game requires players to use a phone or tablet to answer questions or draw pictures, and anyone with an internet-ready device can play along, whether a party guest or online stream viewer. Most games support up to eight players, and an audience of up to 10,000 people can join in too. The humor can get raunchy, but censoring options allows groups to cater to younger players.
Of the five games, Quiplash 2 is the only returning game and is the most consistently entertaining. Players respond to prompts with funny answers. During each round, two responses are pitted against each other, and each player votes on which one more hilariously completes the prompt. Quiplash 2 plays out like a tournament version of Cards Against Humanity. If you have a group with a good sense of humor, then you’ll enjoy cracking jokes with your buddies. This is nearly the same game as the original Quiplash, which is fine since it was already fun before. The only noteworthy addition is the ability to create your own prompts so you can tailor the game for your group. Otherwise, it’s not recommended to get this pack just for Quiplash 2.
Trivia Murder Party
There are other reasons to pick this pack up, but it will wholly depend on the kind of friends you have. Trivia Murder Party is a quiz game with a horror twist. The premise is simple: answer multiple-choice trivia questions to get through a haunted house. If you get an answer wrong, you play a penalty game. The minigames vary from memory challenges to math tests and even games of chance. You die if you lose. The final round places the lone survivor in a trivia race to the finish where he must decide which of three possible selections fit in a category. The goal is to get to the end as quickly as possible to avoid getting caught by the shadows. Meanwhile, other players that have lost may catch up to the survivor and snatch his body for a last-second victory, keeping everyone engaged. Although the horror-based tension is fun, the jump scares aren’t. Quite often, the game presents gruesome and disturbing images, usually without warning, in an effort to frighten you. Not only is this unnecessary, it can ruin the tone in parties of casual players. If your group can handle it, then Trivia Murder Party is a fun diversion.
In Guesspionage – one of the weaker selections – players make guesses on random statistics, such as what percentage of people have ever had a mullet. One player guesses a number on a pie chart, and other players decide if the true percentage is higher or lower. The final round engages players in a Family Feud-style game of guessing the top three answers to a prompt. All of these factoids are based on real world statistics, so some may lead to interesting discussions. However, it lacks Jackbox Games’ trademark humor. As such, there’s only so much you can do with this statistical guessing game before getting bored. You might try it out once at a party, but it’s unlikely to hold its own.
On the flip side, Fakin’ It is a party game in the truest sense. Instead of answering questions on a device, the game asks you to either raise your hand, hold up a certain number of fingers, point at someone else, or make a face. For instance, you may raise your hand if you’ve ever broken a bone or make a face as if you had brain freeze. The catch is that one person, the “faker,” doesn’t actually have the prompts and must try to blend in. It’s a basic test of how well you can bluff. After everyone has made their move, players vote on who the faker is, and a majority vote leads to a proper accusation. The faker has three chances to outwit the others. Whether or not he is caught, someone else becomes the new faker for the next round.
With the right group, Fakin’ It can get very funny, especially when the faker accidentally admits to something like farting in an elevator. From a gameplay standpoint, it can be outright unfair to the faker. For example, the prompt may ask players to hold up fingers to represent how many times they showered this week, but then just tells the faker to hold up a random number. If the number he gives is much lower than seven, then it’s immediately obvious that he’s the faker—or has poor hygiene. With only four types of games and a text-based final round, Fakin’ It gets old but is fun while it lasts. It’s best to play this game for laughs and humiliating your friends.
The final game Tee K.O. may as well be considered an art experience. The aesthetics are impressive with energetic anime-styled creatures serving as the game’s mascots. However, that’s all for show because the game is actually about your art. Each player makes three drawings on their mobile device. You’re free to draw anything you want, using any combination of colors. There is no direction, but players can ask the game for suggestions. After drawing, you write down several slogans, like catchphrases or memes. Afterwards you receive an assortment of your friends’ drawings and slogans to work with. Your job is to mix and match options to make the best t-shirt design.
Finally, players vote on which t-shirts they like best, tournament style. Two shirts fight, one shirt wins. The winning shirt goes on to face the next challenger and so on, but there is no rhyme or reason to matchups. It feels pointless to play this game unless you have a group of people who love drawing. If that’s the case though, Jackbox Games’ Drawful is a better option. Overall, Tee K.O. is worth a try for those interested, but be warned that the game is so drawn out (no pun intended) that you could finish an entire game of Quiplash 2 within the time it takes to get to your first t-shirt tournament.
Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a mixed bag of interesting party games and subpar experiences. At the very least, the pack looks and sounds good, with appropriate aesthetics matching each game’s tone. Each game’s announcer is consistently humorous, making light of each situation and reminding you to have fun. If at least a few of these diverse party games sound entertaining, then give this package a try. Otherwise, stick to some of Jackbox Games’ older offerings.
Note: A PS4 review copy was used for this article. This review was originally posted on DarkStation in November 2016.