The JackBox Party Pack 3 made a pleasantly surprising splash on the Nintendo Switch a little while back. This still left Nintendo gamers with just one entry in the series while all the other consoles have the rest of it. What did the folks at JackBox Games decide to do? Port the first two compilations to the Switch, of course. Now we are all caught up. Huzzah!
JackBox games have a habit of adopting a simplistic visual style for just about every game in the pack. There aren’t any real standouts here, either. Nevertheless, everything is visually straightforward and to the point. There can even be some cute cartoon-y graphics to add to the overall appeal.
I thought the announcer was funny in JackBox Party Pack 3. For some reason he sounds more forced here when it comes to cracking a joke as he explains how to play a game. Along with the fact that there are different narrators for certain games in the sequels, I guess the voice actor was still trying to get a feel for it back when this was first in development.
Just like with Party Pack 3 and Use Your Words, I took this game to the college gameroom to play with other people. There were plenty of laughs to be had.
Fibbage and Drawful were easily the ones everyone wanted to keep playing from JackBox Party Pack. This is because both of them involve entering your own fake answer prompt to fool players around you into thinking it’s the right answer. Fibbage applies this to filling the blanks for bizarre facts, while Drawful applies this to drawings poorly crafted by players (Let’s be honest: No one will ever draw on a phone screen well). There is actually some skill involved in terms of finding ways to figure out which is the right choice to click on, which goes well with the laughs that would ensue from player-involved hijinks.
Three other games appear in the collection, but unlike JackBox Party Pack 3, not every game is a winner.
You Don’t Know Jack is certainly a classic (even if this edition has a “2015” at the end of the title). It’s a trivia game that can screw with your head and then some. My only issue is that I feel like Trivia Murder Party from Party Pack 3 does the same thing, but also provides ways for losing players to still participate and adds variety with its super-quick minigames should a player get a question wrong (and therefore adds further incentive for getting a question right).
Lie Swatter is a game that can be played by ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE!! As crazy as that fact sounds, the game itself comes off as a diet You Don’t Know Jack. There are prompts for you to answer to onscreen, but this time, all you do is select whether or not the statement is true or false. That’s it. It’s nothing really special, but I do suppose its hundred-person count can be put to good use when the game is projected in front of a big audience.
Word Spud is a Word Dud. It’s not even made clear how to play the game. You type a word or phrase out. Then what? Although it looks like the words should form a sentence in the background, the automated tutorial doesn’t even say if they do. Worse, the game highlights what person is typing on the screen; this makes it very easy for other players to rig scores against said person’s favor when they vote on whether or not they like what’s put down.
There’s nevertheless a lot to enjoy in the original JackBox Party Pack. Fibbage and Drawful are always lots of fun to play, and those willing to set aside the laughfests can get a few kicks out of You Don’t Know Jack. If you can get past the simplistic mechanics of Lie Swatter, it could probably be enjoyed like You Don’t Know Jack, too. Unfortunately, Word Spud is just plain bad. If you had to pick one of these JackBox compilations, I say buy the third one. Should you want more, though, there’s no harm in checking this goody out.