STAFF REVIEW of Jackbox Party Pack 6, The (Xbox One)

Thursday, November 14, 2019.
by Josh Morgan

Jackbox Party Pack 6, The Box art If you aren’t familiar with the Jackbox Party packs of the past, they are collections of 5 party games that you can play with your friends that involve trivia, drawing or using that creative part of your brain to create raps, jokes or stories to make your friends laugh. Gone are the days of having to give every one of your friends a controller to play, because with the Jackbox games you can use smartphones, tablets and computers as the controllers. At the start of each game you are given a code to punch into and this connects you to the session that is on your Xbox. Most games in this pack can be played with up to 8 people, but there is another option for audience members that can join at any time for some fun. These audience members can be in the same room, or playing along by watching you stream on Mixer or Twitch.

I’ve played trivia games before on console, and setting everyone up with controllers can be tough. First, you might not have 8 $60 controllers laying around your house, and second, controllers can be a little intimidating for people not used to them. I remember the look on my mother-in-laws face when I handed her a controller to play Scene-It back on the Xbox 360. She looked like I handed her a bomb to defuse. Everyone has a smartphone and everyone knows how to use them, so it’s easy to get that Debbie-Downer friend to join in when all she ever wants to do is just sit and watch. You’re going to need her, chances are she’s pretty dumb and she’ll be an easy target to steal points from. There are 5 new games in The Jackbox Party Pack 6; let’s get into them.

Trivia Murder Party 2 is exactly like it sounds, you and up to 7 friends are on a gameshow being hosted by the owner of a Murder Hotel. Answer the questions right and you get some points, but when you answer the host’s trivia questions wrong, you are sent to the killing floor where you compete against your opponents in mini-games of various kinds. Win the trivia, spin-the-wheel or press your luck style mini-game, and you escape the Killing Floor by the skin of your teeth and live to answer more questions for points. Fail the mini game and you are dead, not able to collect any points for future questions. Don’t fret! There is redemption. If another opponent fails a question and you are able to win the mini-game on the Killing Floor, you are able to bring yourself back to life and rack up points from future questions.

Make it through a few rounds of questions alive and you are given a chance to escape the Murder Hotel that you have been trapped in. You are positioned in order of points with the highest scorer being the closest to the exit. The final round is a quick fire of multiple choice questions that if you get right, you move one spot closer to the your escape. Get the answer wrong and you don’t move at all, giving the opponent behind you a chance to catch up or even pass you on the way to the exit. It’s everyone for themselves at this point and you have to be fast and accurate to survive. Trivia Murder Party 1 was my favorite of the games packed into The Jackbox Party Pack 3 and this one is no different. It is the most fun game to play in this pack.

Role Models is a personality test you play with your friends. While playing this game your friends will learn what you think about them, and more importantly, you will find out what your friends think about you. This game is playable with 3-6 players, and we quickly realized that this game would be a lot more fun with more players, we played with 3 and that just wasn’t enough. You are given a handful of categories to choose from, and from there you are to pick out which friend is the best of the choices given. For example, we were given the category of Friends characters. From the list provided, we were instructed to pick which of the players is the best example of each Friends character; Joey, Rachel, Monica and so on. You get points for each player that has the same answer as you, and there are bonus points that you can go for by putting the 100% sticker on the one choice you feel the most strong about. The more people that also chose the same answer as you, the more bonus points you get. It a really fun game to play with some good friends. Good and bad choices result in funny explanations from your friends, as we thought for sure that my wife would be mad that we picked her to be Monica because of her obsessive cleaning, but she accepted it with pride. When I chose her to be Chewbacca from Star Wars because that’s how she sounds when she snores... well that didn’t go over too well.

Joke Boat puts you on a boat cruise that you have to come up with some stand-up comedy on the spot after some word topics are chosen. It’s a lot like the rap battle game that was in Jackbox 5 in that you are given some choice of words to plug in, and from there you have to finish off the joke. The problem is that once you have chosen this plug in word, you are committed to finishing off the joke on that topic. I get that this is the point, and there is a challenge associated with having to write a joke that is based on an avocado, but to me a dud joke that nobody can build off of really kills the mood and flow of the game. You are forced to finish the joke about the avocado and then apologize to your friends for the lame joke that made no sense. Meanwhile, your opponent in the joke contest was given an easy topic of french kissing and his punchline of sucking up the extra spit off the other persons tongues get both laughs and cringes from your friends as he crushes you in the votes. If you had a bit more control of the topic of the joke, I think there would be a lot more fun for the whole group. It’s also better with a bigger group of people. We played with 3 players and the game filled up the extra spot with an opponent with computer written jokes that were incredibly lame. The game can be played with up to 8 players and, like the others, there is interaction with the audience members.

Dictionarium is pretty much Urban Dictionary the game. In it you are tasked to craft definitions for words or phrases given to the group. Everyone has the same words, and after you are done making up the definition, you vote on the best or funniest one. In the second round you are challenged to take the word or words given to you in round 1 and make up a synonym for it and repeat the voting process. The third and final round is the toughest. You are tasked with taking the same words used in rounds 1 and 2 and use them in a sentence. It’s a really fun game that feels like it’s over too quickly. We only had 3 people playing and it supports up to 8, so with more people it will go by slower and will probably feel like a better length. As we played it, it seemed like it was just getting fun when the game would be over. This was the game we played the most during our gaming night, and I would rank it right up there with Trivia Murder Party in terms of fun for the group.

Push the Button is a lot like the board game Secret Hitler, or even a murder mystery party, where there is one person that knows they are the enemy and the others are left to try and figure out who that is. In Push the Button you are on a spaceship, and on board with you and your crew is an alien in disguise that is trying to sabotage your ship. Each bay of the space ship presents you with a different mini-game to play that is supposed to provide a hint at the aliens identity, or if played right by the alien, could cause more confusion between the humans on who the alien really is. We played this the same game night that I played the other games so we only had 3 players (it plays up to 10), and after a few rounds it was super simple to pick out the alien. Mostly that was because one of the mini-games resulted in my friend (who was the alien) have his character admit they loved 80’s clothes, and he is not the type to be into 80’s fashion. So it was easy to pick him out as the alien. The mini games are all fun mixes of word puzzles and sequence games that are a lot of fun with friends. When you think you know who the alien is, you work with your group to get them on your side. Once the decision is unanimous, you press the button and that person is sucked out into space via the airlock and you are forced to live with your decision.

At this point my only complaint with the series is that we are 6 packs in (almost 30 different games) and they are all separate packs on the Xbox. It would be great if there was a way we could download a Jackbox app and have every game from each pack you own in one spot available to launch from there. When my friends get together for a game night we usually have a few adult drinks and play for 5+ hours. Not having to swap packs back and forth to try different games would really help keep the fun moving, and having 30 games to quickly pick and choose from would be a huge improvement. I realize that this probably isn’t possible, and if it was they would have done it by now, but I have to mention it as a drawback of the series. Playing Monday morning quarterback, I wish they would have released one Jackbox game, and then added 5 DLC packs to keep them all in the same launcher.

I think this year’s addition to the Jackbox series is a good one and it comes with a great variety of games. It’s not overloaded with trivia or drawing games and I think it’s a great overall balance that all of your friends will enjoy playing even if they aren’t gamers. Most of these games are best when played with a larger group that know each other pretty well, as games like Push the Button and Role Models are really dependent on how well you know your friends. The things that make us come back to the Jackbox games are the humor and accessibility. Every game will make you laugh and they are super easy to get your group playing with their phones.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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