Can you believe it? Ten The Jackbox Party Packs! 50 games! It’s the sort of achievement that’s cause for celebration, a series that has delivered more laughs in its nine years than all other video games combined it feels like. From the mischievous lie-telling of Fibbage to the head-scratching trivia of You Don’t Know Jack to the badly drawn creations of Drawful, these and many more have become staples of any drink-fuelled evenings with friends and family. Unfortunately, The Jackbox Party Pack 10 isn’t that celebratory moment you’d hope for such a milestone, the tenth entry is one of the weaker entries we’ve seen from the series so far.
Jackbox Games always like to bring back an old favourite for a sequel and this year, it’s the turn of Tee K.O. When it comes to the best The Jackbox Party Pack games, Tee K.O. is easily a contender to claim that crown, so seeing it make a return was certainly exciting. Here players create clothing designs and slogans for others to then pair together with everyone voting on their favourite of the bunch. For fans who enjoyed the original, this is… well… it’s pretty much more Tee K.O. with a few extras. Along with a structure change, players now have the ability to choose a font for their slogans along with the apparel to display their hilarious combinations on. Like previous sequels from Jackbox Games, the changes here are subtle. What you essentially have is Tee K.O. with an updated look and that’s totally fine. The winning formula works just as well now as it did back in The Jackbox Party Pack 3. And of course, you can still order real versions of your creations online too.
Timejinx is your quiz game of the pack, its questions all tied to years throughout history. Rounds come in two flavours, the first asking players for the specific year of an event in time, as everyone tries their best to guess as close to the actual answer as possible. The further you are out, the more points awarded (a bad thing as Timejinx goes for a golf-style scoring where the lowest wins). The other type of questions meanwhile act as your typical multiple choice, players quizzed on their knowledge of certain decades and correct answers rewarded with a chance to lower scores. Usually, I’m not one for questions asking me for dates and years as… well… to be honest I suck at them, but the way they’re presented in Timejinx made them surprisingly fun to answer. Watching everyone’s answers revealed on a timeline on screen as the room awaits the results is exciting especially if you manage to get the year spot on. While it isn’t likely to dethrone the likes of You Don’t Know Jack or Trivia Murder Party any time soon, Timejinx was our favourite of the new entries this year.
Interestingly, Dodo Re Mi is the closest to a traditional video game experience, this one a rhythm game where players choose a song, an instrument and try to tap along to on-screen prompts as they scroll down your screen. Song complete, players can then watch their efforts as they do battle against a plant monster and their notes turn into attacks. With enough well-timed taps, you all take out the monster and succeed (yay!) while failing to hit your target will see everyone devoured (boo!). Despite its presentation, Dodo Re Mi is a pretty by-the-numbers effort, one that didn’t hold the attention of our group for more than a couple of songs. Everyone is scored individually but we never felt too bothered about winning and while on paper watching your performance back as players fumble their way through songs and do battle sounds entertaining, in reality, you don’t really want to sit through the same song again you just played. We wound up skipping this section entirely to get to the results. I’m all for Jackbox Games trying something new, but what makes the best examples so enjoyable is in their ability to make players laugh, get creative or simply twist a seemingly simple idea into something wholly unique. Dodo Re Mi doesn’t really feel like it does any of these and as a result, just falls rather flat.
Hypnotorious is perhaps the most complicated of the bunch but one that poses a lot of potential. Players are each given a hidden identity in which they’ll then answer a series of prompts as if they were that very thing. Every round everyone’s answers are revealed and players then discuss which of three unnamed groups they might belong to and whose prompts might belong in that same group. So, if you’re playing the role of the Titanic, who else might be something similar and also how can you tell? Are you part of a group focused on forms of transportation or perhaps historical events? Throwing further spanners into the works are hints provided to players each round not to mention the fact that one player will be an Outlier and not belong to a group at all. Also, that player has no idea if they’re the Outlier adding pressure to piece this fact together sooner rather than later as at the end of the game everyone will vote on who they feel does not belong to a group at all.
It does sound confusing on paper, but in our few attempts did show some signs that this could be a good rival to the excellent misdirecting antics of Fakin’ It. While not every round was a home run – some were far too hard for the Outlier to stay hidden while others were too easy to find your group – there were a couple of occasions where that Jackbox Games magic started to shine. Time will tell if the strong rounds outweigh the forgettable ones.
FixyText is pure chaos and not necessarily in the fun usual Jackbox kind of way. Here groups of players are essentially contributing toward the same text message response all at the same time any way they like with the spectators then voting on their favourite parts. That’s pretty much all there is to the game (also you can’t delete any mistakes which winds up proving more frustrating than it does adding to the chaos of things). FixyText has a nice look to it and that’s really its strongest element. Is there fun to be had here? I’m sure the right groups would get a laugh or two out of frantically turning every response into a jumbled mess of swears and weirdness but for ours, we were quite happy moving on after one game.
Overall The Jackbox Party Pack 10 sports the usual quirky and entertaining presentation the series is known for. We did come across instances where the game would crash or our Jackbox.tv wouldn’t update forcing us to restart more than previous Party Packs though.
The Jackbox Party Pack series has often proven a reliable source of fun and laughs, every year presenting players with another good excuse to gather everyone together for a few hours of phone-tapping hilarity. Unfortunately, The Jackbox Party Pack 10 feels like somewhat of a letdown, its games, while sometimes entertaining, are unable to capture the true magic we know this series is capable of. Summing things up in one sentence – Tee K.O. 2 is a safe but still fantastic time, Timejinx is a fun time-based trivia, Hypnotorious is enjoyable but inconsistent in its delivery, FixyText is chaotic noise and Dodo Re Mi is uninspired and forgettable.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Jackbox Games