Do you love to play ridiculously hilarious games with your friends? Are you a fan of laughing so hard your eyes water and you might just pee a little? Then get your wallets ready to throw money at Jackbox Party Pack 5.
Jackbox Games regularly produces amazing party games that are great to play with a large gathering at your home, but they are also a lot of fun to play with your online buddies. Each pack features a variety of games: something trivia, something to draw, and something that lets you write silly gut busters. Everything you need for some friendly competition. This time around, Jackbox Party Pack 5 contains an all new You Don’t Know Jack, Split the Room, Mad Verse City, Zeeple Dome, and Patently Stupid.
The Controller Conundrum
Before we break down the games in Jackbox Party Pack 5, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “How do six to eight people play this game? I don’t own that many PS4 controllers?” Well, thanks to the power of technology, pretty much everyone carries a controller around with them 24/7—your smartphone! (You can also use a browser tab on your computer.) Everyone who wants to play will hit up Jackbox.tv, where they will create a display name and enter the game’s room code once you load up one of the five games. Jackbox Party Pack games require an internet connection, so make sure you’ve got your console online and share your Wi-Fi code if need be for at home game nights.
You Don’t Know Jack Full Stream
The flagship franchise for Jackbox Games, JBPP5 brings fans the first new You Don’t Know Jack (YDKJ) title in three years. There’s no doubt about it; this new Jack game is going to be the main draw of this year’s collection for most fans. It was for me.
For those of you not in the know, You Don’t Know Jack is the gold standard in trivia video games. The talented Jackbox writers have whipped up some hilarious content, and as always I am jealous of their level of talent. They also convinced host Cookie Masterson to reprise his role, so be prepared to know more than you’d care to about what goes on inside that noggin of his.
The format of the game is simple: Ten trivia questions are presented to players and multiple choice answers are provided. Sometimes these questions are switched up and special question types will appear. One of these new modes, Player’s Choice, presents players with two options, such as “a question with nuts” or “a question about nuts” as seen during one of my playthroughs. Whichever receives the most votes will be what comes up; in case of a tie, the game will randomly select one for you. Each game includes at least a Dis or Dat segment where players must correctly choose the category the noun displayed falls under, and concludes with Jack Attack, another quick playing game where you must select the correct answers to the clue. Unlike previous iterations, everyone participates in Dis or Dat in You Don’t Know Jack Full Stream, which can help or hurt you early on. At the end of each round players ranked lowest can earn a Screw bonus which grants the power to mess with their competition. I don’t want to spoil just how inventive the screws are in YDKJ Full Stream so let’s just say they can really throw you off your game.
One of the things I love best about Jackbox titles are the overall themes of each game. YDKJ Full Stream is “sponsored” by the fictional streaming service Binjpipe. Make sure to check the bottom of the screen in-between questions and listen to the pre- and post-game commercials. Commercials have always been a fun addition to the Jack games, as far back as I can recall. I’ve yet to determine which one is my favorite this time around.
Split the Room
Presented primarily in black and white, the very first thought that crossed my mind was The Twilight Zone. Then the feline depiction of Rod Serling appeared and cemented it. The first of the fill in the blank games in Jackbox Party Pack 5, Split the Room challenges its players to create scenarios that will cause as narrow a split between Yes and No answers as possible. The closer the split, the more points you earn. In the first round each player fills in a different prompt. In the second round, the game provides one answer and players provide another. You also wager whether or not another player will choose your answer over the supplied one.
Mad Verse City
YDKJ is my favorite game in this bundle, and Mad Verse City is a very close second. Step up to the mic and take on other giant robots in an epic three round rap battle. Follow the prompts on your device to first choose a word to complete an unseen sentence then formulate a sick rhyme to it. You’ll do this twice for each round. During the performance, other players can up or down vote your sick beats using their devices and once both bots have taken the stage, vote again for their favorite. Whoever earns the most fat stacks at the end of the three rounds is declared the winner.
As your bots battle, the city around them suffers damage. The audience can vote for various buildings in the city skyline to be demolished and players can join in the fun if time remains after crafting their lyrics. Unfortunately the news ticker wasn’t functional during my time with the game pre-launch, but I’ve loved reading it when I catch the official Jackbox livestreams.
I’m kind of torn on Zeeple Dome. Let me explain why. Zeeple Dome has you slingshot your avatar at enemies that appear on stream. When they are white, anyone can hit them. When they change color, the player whose avatar color matches that of the baddie must be the one to hit them in order to deal damage. This is a lot of fun when everyone is playing together in the same room.
Unfortunately, this is the one game in this bundle that does not handle streaming well. Even when I turned on low latency, the delay with the stream made it difficult for those not playing from inside my house to land their hits on time and avoid the explosives being dropped on us. It became a game of predicting and crossing fingers. I also recommend using your mobile device and not a computer/mouse to play this one. The first time I played Zeeple Dome, I was using my laptop and it was not impossible but awkward trying to line up and get my shots off quickly. When we (my co-op partner for life and I) switched to using our phones the game was much more enjoyable. So while I do like Zeeple Dome, I don’t know how often I will play this one going forward as I tend to stream my party games thanks to my friends being scattered around the globe.
I am not an artist and definitely not an artiste. Stick figures are my bread and butter. But I finally caught a Jackbox stream of Patently Stupid the other week and oh my gosh, there were tears in my eyes. Patently Stupid‘s leading man Toby has a lot of problems that need fixing. Players receive fill in the blank prompts that are then distributed amongst the group. Now we play Jackbox’s twisted version of Shark Tank/Dragon’s Den. You need to draw up a product to solve Toby’s issue, give it a catchy name and a memorable tagline. Then comes time to pitch it to your potential investors.
Now, you can chose to have Toby and his co-host Lena pitch for you, which is great when you’re playing online and the inventor is not in your voice chat. But if you’re on the headset or playing with friends and family in your living room, you may want to give your own presentation. Once everyone has presented, it’s time to hand out your investment chips. Since (most) everyone is using their fingers on a phone to create their inventions, you’re going to see some pretty silly napkin art. You can spice it up by using the colored highlighter that matches your coffee cup. In the next round, everyone submits an idea and then one is chosen overall. The winner is the person who earns the most money overall from money invested in your projects plus bonuses for investing in successfully funded projects.
So is Jackbox Party Pack 5 worth that $29.99 price tag? When you do the math, each game comes out to $6. Pretty sure you can spare a couple of fancy coffees a week. Jackbox Games is a hardworking team with its heart set on making party games. They are active with their fans and the streaming community that supports them, and that alone makes me want to give them my money. I fully planned on purchasing this bundle to play during my Extra Life stream this year before I was given the opportunity to review them for PlayStation LifeStyle. A shout out to Spencer, Ryan, Brooke, and Ben who I’ve had the pleasure of watching stream some of these titles. You guys helped convince me not to wait on this one. If you love hosting board game night, why not pick this up and gather around the TV for a night. You won’t be disappointed.
Jackbox Party Pack 5 review code provided by Jackbox Games. Version 1.01 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4 console. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.