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The Jackbox Party Pack 7 Review

The Jackbox Party Pack 7

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Release: //15/10/2020
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Developer: Jackbox Games
Genre: Switch ReviewsXBox One Reviews
PEGI: 12+
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There’s no better way of rounding out a dinner party than to load up Jackbox. The mini-game compilations are fantastic fun, often come to Gamepass, and, more amazing than anything, are now up to their seventh pack. This latest compilation brings with it five new games, each worth looking at.

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For what it is, there’s nothing quite like the Jackbox compilations, and I think if you know you’ll get the use out of it, it’s worth every penny. But the relatively high price, the niche opportunities for use and the need for a basic minimum of three players means you might be better off waiting until you need it, until it’s cheaper or until it hits Gamepass.

Like previous entries, the game is mostly played through your phone or tablets. Use the code in-game to access your server and then follow the instructions. And as with all party games, the more the merrier.

Quiplash 3

Be clever, be funny – the game will give you a prompt and you have to come up with something witty in response. Then people can choose their favourites. The winner is the one with the most popular responses across the game.

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It’s a simple idea that works really well, and that can genuinely descend into fits of laughter, but this is one of the games where playing with three just doesn’t feel like you’re hitting the potential. You want a room of people, preferably drunk, to take full advantage.

And although I didn’t have this problem, the potential is also obviously limited by who you play with. George, from the office, who collects American Civil War magazines in a special binder? The guy who blushed when Jenny from accounting kissed him at Christmas? Yeah, he’s not going to cut it.

The situations are purposefully a little rowdy, so it’s also pretty easy to descend into bum jokes and Dee Reynolds style stand-up routines. Classy gent that I am, I have very little problem with this, but those that do probably won’t enjoy Quiplash.

Talking Points

Public speaking always has the potential to go wrong. Insert lazy election joke here.

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In Talking Points, the whole aim is for it to go wrong. Players create the titles of speeches that others must give. A second player acts as assistant, picking picture slides that the speech-giver must somehow work into their talk.

This is my favourite of all the games. It’s so player-focussed – there aren’t really any prompts or hints from the game. You just have to think on your feet, to often hilarious effect.

So, for instance, a speech on sex education that has pictures of clown puppets, inflatable flamingos and, obviously, freaked out cats.

The surprise of the speaker when a new picture pops up and utterly destroys the direction of their speech is wonderful. It’s like improv for people who can’t do improv, and the result is fantastic.

The Devils and the Details

The winner of this year’s most addictive theme tune goes to…

If you’ve been playing Among Us, The Devils and the Details will seem fairly familiar.

There are a list of tasks that you must complete as a family to fit in with your human neighbours. Each of you plays a family member, completing mini-games as best you can. Some mini-games require you to team up with other players, while others are purely selfish and net you extra points. But other players can call you out for doing selfish tasks, so be careful trying it out.

This is probably the most involved of the new mini-games, and I think it suffers from it. It’s good fun, but give me Talking Points any day. Like Among Us, a lot of the minigames are just busy work – tapping the screen in certain places, dragging stuff.

I can see there being situations where this is hilarious, but we didn’t really come across them. It was planning, teamwork and optimization of time – not exactly the hilarious party game that some of the other options are.

But most Jackbox compilations have this sort of game – the more “story based” entry – and I guess there are people that love them. If you enjoyed the others, you’ll enjoy this.

Champ’d Up

Draw a combatant then battle out your creations in a mock wrestling match.

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This actually sounds more fun than it is. It’s effectively a visual version of Quiplash.

You’re given a prompt and you must draw something based on that prompt. People then vote on their favourites.

This was the only game we had some technical issues on. I expect this will be completely dependant on hardware age and quality, but one of our party had some issues with their device not fully recognizing what they were drawing and then ended up with all sorts of lines where they didn’t want lines.

That’s not a fault of the developers of course, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re in a party situation, where you can’t necessarily guarantee the hardware of everybody is up to snuff.

With that said, we still had fun. It doesn’t have the brevity of Quiplash nor the improvisational feel of Talking Points, but it was a nice break to something slightly more involved.

Blather ‘Round

Help your friends guess popular culture icons using only canned dialogue options, all against the clock.

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This took a little bit to get into the mindset for, but once you’re there, it’s good fun. You have the vaguest of vague phrases to construct, and can keep adding to the description as much as you want. You also get a chance to riff on people’s guesses.

There are definitely some that are more difficult than others, and you need a pretty good knowledge of popular culture to get the answers. One of ours was “Ronald McDonald”, and even the meatiest of greasy descriptions are no good if, in the moment, the person guessing just can’t conjure up an image of Ronald McDonald.

The Jackbox Party Pack 7 Review – Conclusion

I really enjoyed this latest Jackbox compilation, but it’s an odd one to review. It is, as the title suggests, a party pack, and it’s $30 to boot. It fills a niche and it fills it well, but I’d struggle to recommend it as just a game that you pay for and play.

Some of the games are better than others and annoyingly only Blather Round can be played with two players. I get it, and it’s better the developers create the games they want rather than make everything playable to everybody, but that brings up another wall for potential buyers. Don’t buy this unless you have two others to play it with whenever you want to play it. And remember that some awkward/sexual content may make it uncomfortable to play with relatives and younger children.

But there’s this sweet spot where you’ve had a dinner party or some guys around from work, and you’re all in a bit of a merry mood, and that’s when Jackbox is perfect. It does what it says on the tin.

If you find yourself in those situations often, or if you want an alternative to boardgames night, this is a great addition to your collection.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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