REVIEW: Jackbox Party Pack 2

JPP2_BrandBits

Jackbox Party Pack 2 is the sequel to 2014’s Jackbox Party Pack 1, which contained Drawful, Fibbage, Word Spud, Lie Swatter and You Don’t Know Jack….

In the 2015 release, you have 5 games, including a return to Fibbage, and no You Don’t Know Jack, whaaaa?

If you want a TL;DR Review – all the people who received advanced copies (From Last Tuesday to Monday) are the ONLY people who will get mileage from this, otherwise, it’s only worth it if you have a HUGE video game stream turn out. (or a large group of friends)

And now let’s go through all the nooks and crannies of the games.

Fibbage 2 is a simple game, similar to baulderdash, or any real quiz show. You get a funny statement about a true fact. “Be sure to visit so-and-so place for the _____ museum” and on your cell phones (or laptops) you can write down a blank that is very misleading (or close-to) the correct answer. Once everybody answered, or time runs out, you must pick “the truth” (the correct answer) for points. If you’re wrong, the points go to another player. But this time around, Fibbage 2 offers “The De-Fib-ulator” which makes any one question a 50/50 gamble.

I think the de-fib-ulator is a nice idea, but unfortunately when playing with it, doesn’t give it that much risk, and when I used it, was spent on the correct answer and a comically wrong in-joke answer. It’s a step back, but they do offer an “audience vote” for a thumbs cup (for the funny answer).

I enjoy the idea of the funny answers, but the problem with Fibbage is that there are two ways to play it.

You are serious about your Fibs (The name of a dog should be “Rover” or “Spike”)
or You aren’t serious and just want to have fun dumb answers (The dog is named “John Cena”)

So while last year’s is fun, you might have some fun with this installment too, more questions is always better, and there isn’t so much repeated statements compared to last year’s, especially on Final Fibbage. But would love to see it turn into more “episodic” play in future installments like YDKJ, which is also hosted by Cookie. (It’s a “Good”)

Ear Wax is Jackbox’s take on Card’s Against Humanity or SFX Quiplash, a statement is given in Quiplash form, then on the mobile phones (which is the controller for all these games) they pick from an assortment of different SFX that only they can choose, it’s all randomized (so like CAH, the “deck” is shuffled to the players, in the form of SFX). One player is the judge and picks from 3 prompts, the others must make a great sound package of two tracks…. then they play them in order.

While it’s a funny idea, the pacing of the game is verrrrrrry slow. The SFX do not immediately go one-after-the-other there is a 1 second pause with minor record scratch kind of ruins the punchline for many jokes. And while it’s a great use of multi-media to make a card-like party game, it is also one of the few games that just gets boring after a couple play-throughs, It only goes up to 8 players, but does come with “AUDIENCE VOTE” as well. (It’s a “Meh”)

Bomb Corp. is the game I played the most, because it comes in 1 player mode (and goes up to 4), it’s a mix of “Keep Talking and No One will Explode” and “McPixel” where you have to cut wires based on logic puzzles (if X is blue, cut the Nth wire). And some of the variety changes in the game as you progress. It’s quirky, and stands out as the only game featured that’s for low number of players AND without an audience feature. If you’re not good at logic puzzles, it’s really not a game for you, and after a while (when you defuse all the bombs) all that’s left is The Grind, which I feel is the best part of the ENTIRE Jackbox Party Pack this year. (It’s a “Good”)

Bidiots is a game people say is like the South Korean reality show “The Genius” (because it’s logic, mixed with sabotage) Each player is given two prompts to draw, and then given $3,000 to buy art in “auction” format. Each phone is also given personalized information about the art being auctioned off and who possibly made it. (“Rainbow is worth $2,300”) but unlike last year’s “Drawful”, it isn’t as comical, you’re kind of just sitting there hoping to buy the most expensive art pieces and make sure others pay more than it’s worth.

The problem with Bidiots is the random luck element of the pricing. In each purchase, the artist gets 50% of the price (so if the auction ends at $1000, someone gets $500) and that means that artists ultimately could lose simply because they didn’t get a fair share of the art, (two players art could be worth $3,000 and end up getting 2000-3000 bids, ending with a player getting an xtra 2k 3k over others who wound up with $800-$1200 pieces).

It’s not that confusing – buy low, hope it’s worth high, read the texts for info. But I would have enjoyed a Drawful 2 along with Bidiots, the idea of naming the pieces was one of the best parts of Jackbox 1, but this time around, that comedy is scattered. (It’s a “Bad”)

Quiplash XL came out in March, and I was so excited to play it… until I realized I am not a big-time stream person. Quiplash’s main draw is two players answer prompts (like CAH) with something funny, and then you vote. The problem is, I am not a big-time famous youtuber nor a famous Twitch streamer, so in any given day, I might only have 6 or 7 people playing. That doesn’t make for fun quiplashing. Especially if the audience vote matters a lot in the points-earning process. If you have 3 friends, do NOT even bother playing Quiplash, this is supposed to be a game for LARGE parties, and that’s not including the 8 player ones the original Jackbox was meant for. This is a game for “Twitch Streamers” and the DLC (which came out last month BTW for $1) is included in this package.

I felt that while Quiplash is a very comical game, it’s a game that when it reaches “The Last Lash” (a low-scoring final) you only want to play it a few more times. CAH worked because of people who aren’t crafty or hilarious, however, Quiplash is superior in that it requires that creativity. I can’t fault the game for being almost unplayable with low audiences, but more or less, it’s for twitch users and youtubers with huge audiences to vote and stream. (It’s a “Meh”)

FINAL SUMMARY

Jackbox Party Pack 2 offers 5 interesting games for the low price of $25 (that’s like $5 per game) and includes the return to the fan favorite, Fibbage. However, many of the games offerings requires almost a large audience base, which doesn’t make it a “party” it makes it a “twitch game”. While that means Jackbox has cornered the market with that genre, it means that video game “party games” are pushed away with this release.

You will have fun with this game, you will smile and laugh and have a good time, and that’s what Jackbox is all about, but most of the time, you’ll feel lonely and depressed, because the only way to really play it is on someone else’s twitch.

So my conclusion is buy it if you want to play Fibbage with friends at a party some time, but if you are curious about playing it, just hope to god someone on Twitch is playing it and you can join-in. Otherwise, just buy it and stream it and hope you have the audience to get players.

Not a single game in here is awful, or terrible, they are all fun and unique in their own way. But you do feel like that guy who had a “hang-out” party with a few friends having drinks, and the next door neighbors have invited the entire town and they showed up.

Maybe next year, we will see more Fibbage and some more creative ideas, but gearing it to the Twitch market, and in a way, focusing on “games like Cards Against Humanity” did more of a disservice to the party pack, than last year’s variety of games like Word Spud.

There is a way to disable “audience mode” and there is a “family filter” you could have if you want to play with your younger brother, which is fantastic. If there was a percentage rating for this game, I would give it a clear 7.5. but we don’t give number reviews, it’s simply out of is it good or bad or whatever, and this time around, some are good some are whatever.

BUT BE SURE TOSUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW AND RATE AND COMMENT AND I DO VIDEOS EVERY MONDAY FRIDAY WEDNESDAY, EVERY OTHER THURSDAY, AND SUNDAYS WHEN I AM NOT HUNGOVER FROM A SATURDAY STREAM WHERE I DRINK WITH MY FRIENDS YOUTUBER AND YOUTUBER2

MEH RATING

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