Another first class laughter rouser, Jackbox Party Pack 7 is fun for everyone (so long as they have the pop culture knowledge for it). The Finger Guns Review.
Party video games have always had one massive hurdle that prevents them from being totally mainstream – they’re still video games. For those of us who play games regularly, we probably don’t even see the high barrier for entry to these experiences. It’s most aptly demonstrated when you convince your family to play a party game with you, hand your non-game playing Great Grandmother an Xbox One controller and she holds it upside down without a clue what to do. For the longest time, Jackbox Games have been lowering that barrier by making mobile phones (a technology that’s much more familiar to the wider world than a console controller) the primary input method. The other innovation that Jackbox has been making is that they develop fun party games that also happen to be video games other than making a video game into a party game like so many others do. Jackbox Party Pack 7, a collection of 5 titles, is the continuation of that trend with some returning favourites mixed with some experimental longer form games that are a lot of fun.
Much like all of the previous entries, accessing the games in Jackbox Party Pack 7 is simple. Select the game you want to play on the console, have each player head to the jackbox.tv website on a mobile, tablet or laptop, enter the room code and their name and they’re in. It’s a simple system that’ll get your party started in seconds.
The main headline for Jackbox Party Pack 7 is that Quiplash is back for the long awaited threequel. This massively popular game poses leading and quirky questions to each player to which they need to come up with the funniest answer they can. Each question is secretly posed to 2 players and then the rest of the players then vote on which answer was the best. Points are awarded based on the percentage of votes cast for each player. Set across 3 rounds – the second of which doubles the points on offer while the new third and final round ‘Thrip Lash’ asks for a list of 3 answers – the winner is whomever scores the most points. The other new addition to version is a claymation art style which replaces the animation in the game’s previous iterations.
Quiplash has always been a favourite among my friends and family and the third entry is no different. It’s a game that inspires creative responses with questions that can have a myriad answers and it’s always a hoot to play. There’s still a few foibles with this game though: While it’s a 3-8 player game, it’s far better played in larger groups with an even number of players. If Quiplash 3 is played with an odd number of players, during the Thrip Lash round a random player faces off against the host Schmitty. It’s very easy to spot Schmitty’s answers compared to that of other players which removes an element of the fun. It’s also a lot less entertaining when played with 3 players as only one player gets to vote on each set of answers. Get a lobby of 8 together though and Quiplash 3 is one of the best party games money can buy.
The first of the new games to arrive in Jackbox Party Pack 7 is the collaborative The Devils and the Details. Here you play as a group of 3-8 devils who have been relocated to the most hellish place on earth – Suburbia. Presented like the opening animation from Bewitched, this game challenges the group of players to work together in order to complete everyday family tasks like having a sleepover for the kids.
Set across 3 days of activities, each activity is listed on the phone in front of the players. Each of them present a mini-game to complete and each completed task contributes to a combined pool of points. In order to succeed, these points need to reach a specified goal on each day.
Here’s the kicker: some tasks need collaboration in order to be completed. Making a sandwich, for example, gives one player a list of ingredients and any helper characters can then head into the various subsections of the kitchen to fetch them. In other tasks, one player is given the instructions on how to complete a task which they must relay to the other players. Player’s are also split into adult, child and teen devils, each of which have individual tasks that can only be completed by that type of devil and tasks which need a mix of devil type. Heading out to pick up a take away, for example, requires a mix of devil – one of which moves the car among a limited view of a map and the other of which needs to shout out which way to go.
There’s another sting in the tail for this game though. Some tasks will grant an individual points, shooting them up the end of day leaderboard but don’t contribute to the household target. These devilish deeds are like “take a nap” and when a player opts to do these actions, other players can try to intervene and get them back on task.
Having a family of 7, Devil In The Details is a true fun house mirror of real life daily struggles and a lot of fun to play. Imagine the start of Home Alone when everything is happening at the same time as they rush to get to the airport – That’s how it feels to play this game. Everyone shouting instructions to one another while getting mixed up about who’s doing what task while someone else is it in for themselves, just ranking up the individual points. There’s a massive number of tasks and mini games to play here and this is one my family will likely be playing for months to come.
The third game that comes as part of The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is the artistic combat chaos of Champ’d Up. In this game, a brief is provided to each player. Using these briefs, the players must draw a combatant on their phones/tablets that will compete for a specific title. These briefs can be anything from “Champion of hypnosis”, “Champion of disguise”, “Champion of freak outs” or “Champion of trust fund kids” among many others and the players aim is to create the best representation of that description in just a few minutes using some Microsoft Paint level drawing tools.
Here’s the twist – another player who will be facing off against this combatant is then shown the drawing but isn’t given the brief. This makes the second player the underdog. They have to try to determine what title they’ll be vying for from the drawing they’ve been shown and then draw their own version. Of course, that makes for some hilarious creations that are absolutely nothing to do with the “Champion of X”. Both creations are then pitted against one another in a public vote where every other player decides which creation best deserves to be champion.
This game is obviously best when every player has a little bit of artistic talent. If there’s anyone without an artistic bone in their body then the whole premise just kind of falls apart. Playing against my mother, for example, meant that whoever was facing off against her had to determine the Championship brief from an array of stick men and indiscernible blobs. Sure, we laughed (a lot) but it didn’t give her opponents a fighting chance to actually follow the rules.
Now for my favourite game in The Jackbox Party Pack 7 – Talking Points. If you’ve ever watched Impractical Jokers and have enjoyed some of the loser forfeits, you’ll probably already know the premise here. Each player gets to finish off the placeholder title of 3 presentations in whatever way they see fit. This means you’ll end up with presentation titles such as “How I survived a brush with the other sex” or “Surprise! I’m having a poo”. Each player is then provided with a random collection of 3 titles and they have to choose 1 which they’ll have to present to the rest of the players who get to award points with tap buttons on their phone.
Each player is paired up with another who will act as their “assistant”. That word is in quotations because this player could assist the player… or they could utterly crush them. This assistant preps a series of slides and text segways which the presenter has no knowledge of but has to read and explain as best they can as they’re brought up on the screen. Imagine the scene. I’m trying to keep it together as I present a talk titled “We Only Have One Thing To Fear: Explosive Diarrhea”, a title suggested by my son. I’m doing pretty well until my assistant, my wife, presents me with an image of a Dam expelling a splurge of brown water from some pipes. I almost died from stitch and laughter. Talking Points is a game that constantly provides the opportunity for this kind of hilarity. It’s my new favourite Jackbox game.
Lastly, there’s Blather ‘Round, a game that’s kind of like charades but instead of having to act out the pop culture word or phrase you’re trying to portray to the rest of the players, you’ve got to use a limited vocabulary to form broken sentences. For example, if the player is trying to get the rest of the players to guess the film “Jaws”, they might pull together the phrase “It’s about a toothy ocean” or for “The Night the Grinch stole Christmas” you might bring together “A story about a festive bad guy creature”. This game has a pretty excellent guess recognition system and even the wrong guesses can be used by the player to help others along as part of the vocabulary. Of all the games in Jackbox Party Pack 7, this is the one we’ve played the most because it can be played in just 2 player. My wife and I have found a quick go on this game quite humorous after the kids have gone to bed.
As a collection of party games, Jackbox Party Pack 7 is diverse, marvellously fun and incredibly accessible. Much like any party game, the framework here gives back as much as the players put into them. If everyone’s on board, and participates, there’s not a game here that can’t have you rolling over with stitch. The weakest game in this package is undoubtedly Champ’d Up. It’s far too easy for this game to get off the rails if 1 or more of the players can’t draw to give the other player a fighting chance. The only other issue I’ve found is that despite the game having a PEGI 12 rating, some of the topics (especially in Blather ‘Round) just aren’t really suitable for 12 year olds. That’s not to say the games are rude or lewd in any way (it’s totally up to the players to set the tone) but the topics just aren’t good target references for younger teens. Some of the films and TV shows referenced here are from the 80’s and there were a few very confused faces from the fresher faced players. I miss ‘You Don’t Know Jack’, too. I want another instalment. One day, maybe. Please?
A few niggles aside, Jackbox Party Pack 7 is another cracker of a party game. It’s a great mix of word play and creative or collaborative challenges which anyone who’s familiar with a mobile phone can inuit quickly. From your nan to your little (teenage) brother, there’s giggles to be had here.
Jackbox Party Pack 7 is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed on an Xbox One S), Nintendo Switch, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.
Developer: Jackbox Games
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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