Developed and Published by Jackbox Games, Jackbox Party Pack 7 is the next offering in this prestigious party game selection. Being a massive fan of Jackbox games I was eager to try this new selection but I am also aware that some of the party packs are incredibly weak compared to their siblings. The party game genre was blessed with this series and its mobile device interaction has been a revelation since its introduction as most of us struggle to put down our mobile devices these days.
If you don’t know anything about the Jackbox Party Pack series then A) where have you been and B) its time you got some friends. Essentially, each Party Pack contains around 5 games, usually unique experiences though there are some based on well known and popular ideas. The Xbox console plays the part of a server that hosts the game and provides a link and password for players to join via the internet using a phone, tablet or computer as your controller for the game. The Xbox plays out the instructions of the game and you must play along on the device of your choice.
The five games on offer in this pack are Quiplash 3, Blather Round, Talking Points, ‘The Devils and The Details’ and Champ’d Up. They each require a specific skill to succeed from creativity, drawing skills, vocal presentation skills, good general knowledge and a lot of craftiness.
Quiplash 3 is the 3rd iteration of this game type and is usually quite popular as it gains laughs for people being outrageously crude or crass. The game fires you questions to your device, usually setting you up with a question that allows for maximum creativity. For example, the question could be ‘A good name for the newest greasy burger bar that just opened?’. The goal is not to be smart but to be the funniest as your answer is pitted against another player’s and the rest of the participants have to vote for the best (funniest/dirtiest/crudest) one. If played with the right attitude this game can lead to many laughs with the funniest player taking the title. In this new version of Quiplash, you can now add in your own custom questions to personalise your experience.
Champ’d up is the drawing game of the bunch. In my opinion, the drawing ones are the hardest to get people to play as everyone plays down their artistic skills, but I don’t think that matters as there are certain restrictions which block most people from creating works of art. Most of the time people play with their phones so the canvas to work with is quite small. You get a bit more leeway with tablets and laptops but not much. There is no eraser and you only have a small selection of colours. The idea is that you have to draw a being that best represents the title sent to your phone. For example, you may be given the title ‘the champion of the cat people’ and so you have to draw your being that bests represent it. Again, these will be pitted against fellow players drawings of the same thing, with the other players voting for the winner.
Talking Points in my opinion was the weakest of the bunch and it will be the hardest to get friends to play. Partly because not many people like public speaking but also the concept is a tad confusing and absurd. Essentially one player is designated as the public speaker and another player is their information provider. The speaker gets given a topic to talk about to the other players and the information person feeds the speaker with pictures and taglines to ether help or trip them up. Whilst the player as the speaker is presenting, the other players have to tap their screen with how interested they are in the presentation, with fast and more taps meaning you are enjoying the presentation. But the presentation topics, tag lines and pictures rarely seem to connect and I assume that might be the point to make it difficult for the person speaking to stay on topic. All this amounted to though was meaning I struggled to enjoy this game.
The Devils and the Details is for those with quick hands, minds and good communication skills. You play the part of a family of devil’s who have to do day to day tasks to earn points. The more tasks you do the more points you earn. Some tasks require assistance from other players to earn bigger rewards for you both. Some times you can perform a selfish devil task that boosts your points at the cost of the other players unless they can prevent you from doing so. So you have to work quickly and communicate well with other players to rack up points and not be the worse contributor in the family.
Blathers is my pick of the bunch. It is a guessing game in a similar vein to Charades. One by one each player is given either a famous person, film, song or item and they have to get the other players to guess what it is. But they can only use the extremely vague descriptive words on offer to get the others to guess correctly. The other players can keep posting guesses to be the first to get the answer correct and throughout the main player’s round, they might reference someone’s guess and say its similar to this or nothing like this to steer people to the correct answer. It’s delightfully frustrating when what you have to describe is so simple but the information available for you to provide the others is so vague; it is like an your grandparents trying to describe an item of modern technology accurately.
The Jackbox games have always been a great accompaniment to a party with friends. It is an icebreaker and way for all your friends to get involved and have a laugh. However, some of the games really do only work with people of a specific personality, and its rare everyone is that similar at the party. While I’m not overly keen on Talking Points and The Devils and The Details, I think Quiplash, Champ’d up and Blathers are going to be the main winners here to encourage fans to buy the new pack, making the price of entry worth it – especially if you’ve got a gathering (virtual or otherwise) coming up soon.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.