The Nintendo Switch, as a platform, is perfect for multiplayer fun. After all, every Switch console comes with two controllers right out of the box which hasn’t been done before. Basically, this means that multiplayer or party games should be more frequent as every single Switch owner has the ability to play local multiplayer and we have already seen a number of titles that reflect this, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Bomberman R.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3, however, is very unique in how it handles its multiplayer. It doesn’t require any controllers at all, instead, all it requires a mobile phone (or tablet/computer) and an internet connection. The game gives you a web page to visit and a code to enter once you have visited the site. What makes this such a great feature is that instead of having a two or three player game (for example), you can actually play an eight player game very easily, with each using their own phone. What this means is if you are somebody who enjoys party games and frequently has friends or family playing games with you, then this may be an essential game to add to your collection.
One of the main reasons as to why using a mobile phone is required is that any answer you input is completely private and nobody else can just nab your answer because they don’t know it. It also allows players to draw pictures during one of the games. So it simply couldn’t work correctly on a standard controller.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 features five games which are all different enough to warrant its own separate game. However some are certainly better than others. The five included games are Quiplash 2 (3-8 players), Trivia Murder Party (1-8 players), Guesspionage (2-8 players), Tee K.O. (3-8 players), and Fakin’ It (3-6 players). As you can see, only the one game can be played in single player so if you are playing by yourself you’re only getting a fifth of the full game. Although this is a party game collection, so what else would you expect? The bigger problem here though is that only two games, Trivia Murder Party and Guesspionage, support two player. Which could be a problem if you live with a partner or you have only one roommate and therefore you can only play two player games, then you can’t actually play the majority of the games included which is a shame.
The opening game in the pack, Quiplash 2, is one that followers of The Jackbox series will know and are probably glad to see it make a return. It is for sure my favourite of the five games anyway and really allows players to flex their creative sides, whether that be in a humorous way or not. You basically have to come up with answers to various questions and the main objective is to make the other players vote for your answer. In the group I played with this game garnered the most giggles and you can create answers that are in-jokes to members of your group, which can lead to even bigger laughs.
Trivia Murder Party is a game that has a lot of narration but it is surprisingly good and never came across as too forced. This game is more along the lines of your typical trivia game where you just simply have to answer questions right. Even if you answer a question wrong however, it isn’t all over just yet, you then have to face a challenge to stay alive. These challenges are usually smaller games based on things such as maths or words puzzles. For example, one of the games you have to come up with the biggest word you can based off the letters that are given to you, but the word has to be more than five letters long otherwise you lose. But even then if you fail at this challenge it still isn’t necessarily over, you have a chance in the end round to catch up and end up winning the whole game, it’s just much more difficult.
Guesspionage is a game that has you guessing what percentage of people have said yes or no to the question in point. For example, the game could ask you what percentage of people have used their phones whilst driving. You then pick what percentage you think said yes and the other players then have to ponder if the actual answer is higher or lower. The closer you are to the correct answer, the more points you will win. It’s a pretty simple game but it works well and I can see this game being one of the most played games even if there are only a couple of you playing.
Fakin’ It comes next and the principle of this game is in each round, one player is randomly selected to be the “faker” via information given to you on your phone/tablet/computer, so that only you know that you’re the one that’s selected. All players are then given instructions that involve some sort of physical movement such as various hand gestures or making a weird face. That is all players except for the faker. The faker must figure out what to do based on what everybody else is doing and convince them you actually know what it is you are doing, otherwise they will catch you out. I found this game really fun but it seems to work best the more people you have in the group. I felt that three people simply wasn’t enough and it just didn’t work all that well but once you bump that number all the way up to eight and you’ve got yourself a really great party game.
Tee K.O. is the last game and it is probably the most unique game out of the bunch, being that it is a drawing-based game. But it certainly isn’t the best game out of the five. Each player draws 3 images of anything they want (the game will provide suggestions if you are stuck on what to draw) that will then be put onto a t-shirt. Your t-shirt will then be put against another players t-shirt and whoever gets the most votes wins the battle. I didn’t see a great deal of replay value with this one but the first couple of times playing it was indeed memorable. I just can’t see many players playing as much of this one as I can with the others.
I had a number of incredibly funny moments during my time with the game. The presentation is spot on, it has some funny writing and it allows you to quite easily play an eight-player game because of the use of a phone as a controller, which isn’t something that you can say about many games out there. Just make sure you do have a stable internet connection, as it is required. Overall The Jackbox Party Pack 3, as a package, is certainly a compelling one and undoubtedly is a great addition if played with the right crowd.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Jackbox Games