Released at the same time as the first JackBox Party Pack on Switch, this allowed for Nintendo players to be caught up with the multiplayer hijacks of the series as The JackBox Party Pack 4 inevitably makes its way to the console. Without even going into detail, I can say that all of the JackBox packs are a great time with friends and family. The reviews I write up for them are more-or-less for going into detail on which one is better than the other. So what does the second installment have to offer? Well…
This is where the series started to branch out with differing graphical styles for some of the games included. The execution is overall still simplistic, but each game does have more of its own identity. Earwax, for example, primarily features yellow, blue, and purple colors in its palette, while Bomb Corp utilizes animated pixel art.
The audio consists mainly of fun background music, announcers providing commentary, and goofy sound effects indicating when players are ready. Announcers’ commentaries can range from being charming to forcefully unfunny (as is often the case with Bomb Corp). That said, the sound does at least complement the party vibe.
Like every Party Pack, there are five games included in the collection. JackBox Party Pack 2 includes the following: Fibbage 2, Quiplash XL, Bidiots, Earwax, and Bomb Corp. Also like every Party Pack, I went over this one by taking it to a group of fellow college students and playing the crap out of it. There are five games in each of these compilations. 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:
Fibbage 2 is…well, more Fibbage! Players answer to a statement or question, and they have to make sure they select the only real answer while avoiding the decoys each player set up. It was a fun mix of observation skills and player-induced comedy in the last Party Pack, and that is indeed the same case here.
Quiplash XL ups the comedic ante by having players’ responses to prompts be pitted against each other one by one for votes! If Fibbage 2 wasn’t the popular pick of the pack, it was Quiplash XL. It’s a very Cards Against Humanity-esque game with similarly hilarious results especially as there are more people joining in on the fun.
Earwax has a similar structure when it comes to pitting prompts against each other for, in this case, the judge’s vote. Instead of typing out anything, players have to select from the sound clips they have to create the funniest or most appropriate chain they could pull off for what they must answer to. It’s fun, but it can be limiting since one only has so much to pick from at a time – a contrast to the fact you can type whatever you want in the above games.
Bidiots takes the place of Drawful, for better or for worse. Players draw something, and the drawings would be up for auction. Players would then have to make sure they don’t bid too high, but only two items on each person’s phone would have their prices revealed. Should you not have enough money, you could receive a bank loan (provided you owe them later). You can also use the Screw from You Don’t Know Jack if the opportunity is there and you want to screw over a person by forcing him or her to bid.
Bomb Corp is an interesting case of not being like any of these other titles. This game focuses solely on cooperation and being able to understand the instructions given. There is actually a one-player mode here, which is something I didn’t ever think would be in a JackBox game. The idea is to cut the wires of the bomb or bomb-like substance on-screen. To do this, players are each provided with pages of a manual, and they have to tell the person cutting the wires how to proceed about it. One-player mode hands the one player all of the instructions on a single phone screen. Playing solo can be easier, but playing with friends brings an experience not unlike that of Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.
All of the games have something to offer, and they all can be a lot of fun for what they do. Of course, the people I play with would vastly prefer the user-induced comedy of Quiplash and sometimes Fibbage 2. That doesn’t mean the other games don’t have their own unique ways to provide kooky multiplayer experiences. Bomb Corp. is excellent for cooperation, Bidiots can be enjoyably stressful (if a tad luck-based), and Earwax has its quirks even if it is somewhat of a diet Quiplash.
The experiences vary, but all in all, The JackBox Party Pack 2 is another great compilation from the folks at JackBox Games. A single session of any of the five games included doesn’t even last as long as in other titles in the genre, but there are more than enough reasons to keep coming back for more.