Review by horror_spooky
In my quest to find quality party games, I have discovered that the current-gen systems are largely lacking. However, there is one party game that is actually quite good on the PS4, and it is one that will entertain adults and kids alike.
That game is The Jackbox Party Pack, a compilation of party games from the creators of You Don't Know Jack. I personally have never played the trivia game You Don't Know Jack that precedes The Jackbox Party Pack, but I have only heard good things. Luckily, a version of You Don't Know Jack is available in The Jackbox Party Pack, and it is quite extensive.
You Don't Know Jack as it exists in The Jackbox Party Pack features hundreds of trivia questions and jokes that are usually genuinely hilarious. The only downside really is that the formula for each "episode" of the game is virtually the same, which means it can become repetitive before too long. However, the beauty of The Jackbox Party Pack is that players can easily jump into a different game if they get bored of what they were playing.
Besides You Don't Know Jack, one of my favorite games in The Jackbox Party Pack is Fibbage XL. This is a game wherein players have to come up with a lie to a trivia question, and trick other players into picking their lie over the right answer. Fibbage XL retains You Don't Know Jack's zany brand of humor, yet cuts down a lot of the gimmicks, so it is a more breezy and fast-paced experience overall.
Another hit at my get-togethers has been Drawful. Essentially a somewhat vulgar version of Pictionary, Drawful has players using their smartphones to draw pictures, and are given points if anyone correctly guesses what the picture is. Drawful has some elements of Fibbage in that players are allowed to input their own guesses, and if they manage to trick other players, they are also awarded points.
Word Spud is also quite amusing, though the way it is set up means that players can just purposefully screw you over just so you don't win. Because of this, it's more of an amusing novelty than it is an actual competitive game, but it's a fun distraction nevertheless. The goal of Word Spud is to attach words or phrases onto other words to make people laugh. The other players then get to vote on whether or not they liked what you did.
And finally, the weakest link in The Jackbox Party Pack is Lie Swatter. Supporting up to 100 players, Lie Swatter is just sort of a way less interesting and entertaining version of Fibbage. It's almost liked the developers ran out of ideas, but just wanted to pad the content of the game, or figure out a way they could make a mini-game that could technically support 100 players as a selling point to tack onto the Jackbox Party Pack's promotional material.
Overall, Jackbox Party Pack provides a decent amount of entertainment for a relatively low budget price of $25. The only thing about the game that annoys me is that it doesn't allow players to use standard PS4 controllers at all. While most everyone has a smartphone or tablet device handy, there are still those that have yet to buy into the mobile phenomenon, and so it makes little sense to restrict them from being able to participate with a standard controller.
Some of the included games, like Drawful, admittedly wouldn't make any sense playing with a controller, but You Don't Know Jack could easily be played with a DualShock 4. Perhaps the developers figured since the other games don't support controllers that they might as well make it touchscreen/PC only controls, but it is a somewhat irritating oversight nevertheless.
At the end of the day, The Jackbox Party Pack is one of the only decent party game offerings available on the PlayStation 4 or the other current-gen consoles at this time. The game can provide plenty of laughs and entertainment for kids and adults alike, making it an obvious pick for family get-togethers. While allowing traditional controller input for the You Don't Know Jack portion would have been appreciated, it is by no means a dealbreaker.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: The Jackbox Party Pack (US, 11/18/14)
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