I’ve always had a great kick out of the Jackbox Party Pack compilations, so it was obviously a privilege for me to get to review the latest installment in the series. That is especially considering the series finally made its Nintendo debut! Sure it’s released plenty of months after it already appeared on other platforms, but the fact that it is here at all is something Switch owners like myself can and should appreciate.
The visuals aren’t going to win awards for being the most detailed ever or anything like that, but there certainly is an appeal to them. Each of the five games included in The Jackbox Party Pack 3 features their own unique style, whether the graphics consist of (for example) cartoon-y characters or stock “camera” footage. Trivia Murder Party can have some legitimately disturbing imagery occasionally, yet not really be gory or horrifying. Tee K.O. has the most vibrant and stylistic visuals of the pack thanks to the execution of its hilarious “fighting tournament with T-Shirts” premise.
While far from the first thing to come to mind regarding the Jackbox games, the music does set the mood finely. There are a lot of fun lighthearted tunes that play in the background when people are conjuring ways to outdo each other. I can also never get enough of the extremely snarky announcers; Trivia Murder Party‘s intentionally refuses to take the horror thriller setting seriously, and Quiplash 2‘s can even go as far as to make fun of one of the players if he/she puts down an answer so uninspired and obvious that the game expected it!
One thing everybody must know is that The Jackbox Party Pack games are primarily multiplayer experiences. Single-player is not a thing, so you better make sure you grab some friends to take along for the ride. For this review, I took my Switch to the college’s gameroom and played with people I would often play the Super Smash Bros. games with. The result was a laugh-out-loud marathon that lasted about NINE HOURS!
There are five games in this compilation. Rather than controllers, each player uses either a smart device or laptop to select choices, draw on the screen, or write responses. The games themselves consist of the following:
Quiplash 2: Players come up with their own responses to random prompts that depict setups for quirky situations. It’s kind of reminiscent of Cards Against Humanity, except two responses compete against each other head-on as other players vote on the better answer. After a couple of rounds, the final one would change things up by having people do things like write a comic punchline, an acronym, or use a word in a specific way.
Trivia Murder Party: This one’s a trivia game that tries as hard as possible to screw players over with mostly obscure questions and dastardly minigames that take place when their lives are on the line. Those that get “killed” don’t necessarily lose right away, though, as they’ll have chances to either help murder other players or get revived when things get intense.
Guesspionage: One selected player guesses the percentage of people that have done or seen (or whatever else) something. The other players try to see if the percentage should be higher or lower. It’s more fun than I’m making it sound, since many of the prompts can throw people off in ways they wouldn’t expect.
Fakin’ It: Players have to actively find out which one of them is not responding to the prompts. The “faker” has to try and blend in to make it hard to get caught. As such, people have to pay close attention to each other.
Tee K.O.: Players draw on their screens – not necessarily to the best of their ability – to create T-Shirt designs and slogans. Said slogans and shirts will get randomly re-arranged for the players to mix and match for the best (read: funniest) results possible.
If there’s anything all of the games have in common, it’s the sheer amount of fun that can be had with a more than a few people. Just watching everybody go absolutely nuts over diving into extreme guesses, scrambling to point fingers at the faker, and sneaking memes into responses can make even the most anti-casual gamers go ballistic! Interestingly, whereas we always wanted to either play Drawful or Quiplash in previous Party Packs, this third installment had us hopping back forth from game to game because we found just about all of them to be extremely entertaining in their own right!
If anything, Guesspionage was played the least because there wasn’t much more to it than pinpointing percentages. It wasn’t like Trivia Murder Party where contestants were constantly at the risk of losing and had to suffer through chaotic games of chance when they do screw up. Fakin’ It also has this flaw where the number of votes needed to call a person out as a faker is stricter than it should have been; I feel it would be better if the person with the most votes gets called out instead. It would help keep results from being inconclusive often.
That said, there is no way anyone wouldn’t want to play Quiplash 2, Trivia Murder Party, or Tee K.O. The former is the most quickly gratifying when it comes to getting laughs, being that anyone could type anything they want and use it to compete against what anybody else shamelessly brought to the table. Tee K.O. has more build up to its competitive nature, but the way it handles the process works because it adds more to the surprise factor. As a result, the laughs that result from the “T-Shirt battles” could be even bigger than from Quiplash 2 on account of what slogans may have been applied to what T-Shirt – much to the shirt artist’s dismay or satisfaction. While Trivia Murder Party doesn’t have this much creative control, it has more than enough to mess with people’s expectations with its own insanity.
What we’re left with is an addictive package that players can’t help but go back to for more and more hilarity to ensue. Look at any of these screenshots I took and tell me we weren’t busy enjoying ourselves and laughing our butts off! A single session of any of the five games included doesn’t even last as long as in other titles in the genre, yet there’s a reason most of us went on for as long as spending our whole day playing for hours straight. Even when we did lose people, others filled in because they wanted to see what the fuss was about. To say The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a vital purchase for your Nintendo Switch if you have friends on hand is a massive understatement. It is one of the best party games out there, bar none.