STAFF REVIEW of Jackbox Party Pack 8, The (Xbox One)

Thursday, October 28, 2021.
by Josh Morgan

Jackbox Party Pack 8, The Box art If you are not familiar with the past Jackbox Party Pack games and are looking into this series for the first time, then let me give you a small rundown of what the series is all about. Jackbox is a set of 5 party games that you can play either together in the same room, or remotely over a streaming service like Twitch or YouTube. You can even play entirely using the phone, but you won’t get that wholesome human interaction that is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Seriously play live with friends. They miss you.

Only one copy of the game is needed, so it’s perfect to play with your non-gamer friends who want to come by, have a few adult beverages and have fun for a few hours. I own all eight Packs and its super fun to just cycle through our favorites on game nights. I really wish there was a way to combine all packs into one launcher, but if it were that easy I’m sure they would have done it by now. Controllers are not needed, except for the host who owns the game. Everyone that wants to play either needs a computer, phone or a tablet to join in on the fun. So again, it’s really accessible to the non-gamers. We had my friend's mom (non-gamer, not tech savvy) join us in a game of You Don’t Know Jack in one of the past Packs and it worked great. We had her on speaker so we could all talk, and she was able to play the trivia game completely over the phone. It was a fun night during the pandemic when she couldn’t be with us in person.

This is the 8th pack of the series, and each pack has had 5 to 6 games in them. So, doing the math (and trying not to use my toes in the process) that's at least 40 different party games in the series, so there is something for everyone. Jackbox always offers a variety in each pack with trivia, puzzle, drawing and usually they add an off the wall game where you work together or compete against your friends to complete funny tasks or puzzles. The humor that the Jackbox games always brings to the table is top notch and will always elicit a few laughs to you and your crew. There’s not much I can say about the graphics, sound or any of my normal talking points when reviewing games. So instead of concentrating on that I am going to talk a bit about each of the games included in Party Pack 8.

First up is Drawful Animate, if you’re new to Drawful then you are in for a real treat here. It’s one of our favorites as a group and I’m sure it will be for yours. There are different challenges within Drawful, but they all involve using your phone or tablet to draw pictures for your friends to caption or guess what they are. With this new version of Drawful Animate, each person is tasked with creating a 2-picture animation that best shows the topic they are given by the game. The artists are given 3 colors, one black and two random ones to complete their drawings. Oh, and there is no eraser, so you are stuck with whatever you draw. It makes for some very funny results and often ends in embarrassment for the artists. The animations are done in two separate doodles and when looped in a quick animation they can tell a small story. The goal of the artist here is to best draw what the caption is so your friends can correctly guess the caption, but the goal of your friends is to look at the artist's drawing and create their own caption to fool others into voting for that. Get the most votes, get the most points, and if others steal your votes, they also steal your points. Drawful has always been one of the tops games we’ve played in my group of friends and Animate will most definitely be a welcome addition to our standard rotation.

Job Job is a word puzzle game for 3 to 10 players. This one will take a few tries before everyone gets the hang of it, but once everyone gets what the game is about it can be a lot of fun. Everyone in your group is interviewing for the same job, and you start the interview by being given an icebreaker question that you have to type out a five word answer. The next round you are tasked with creating an answer to your first interview question, but you have only the pool of words someone else used as their icebreaker question. The first round is really the hardest because you don’t have many words to work with, but as the rounds go on, more words are added to the pool to craft your answers as more players are adding their answers in. You aren’t only limited by the words your friends submit, you can choose words from the question and shuffle the order to help you craft your responses. You are awarded points by others in the match voting for your responses to the interview questions, and the person with the most points at the end of the interview gets the job. I found that typing out the max words per response really added to the fun of the game because the more you type out, the bigger the pool of words you can use becomes. It doesn’t pay to be shy here, try and come up with responses using as many clever words as you can and try not to reuse more common words like “the” “and” “or” because those only take up spots in the pool. It’s also helpful to have more people playing this one because that also increases the number of words in the pool, giving you more options to be creative and funny.

The Poll Mine is a survey game that is completely unique, as I’ve never played a game like this in a Party Pack before. You are divided into teams, but you don’t have to be even, so any number of players can play and it won’t affect the fun. Each round you are given a list of items that you rank based on the hosts requirements. For example, you might be asked what is the stickiest, and you are given a list of sticky items and you rank them from most to least. From there you are supposed to talk it out with your friends which order they fall in based on who voted for what and in what order. The more guesses you get correct, the more points your team gets. It’s a lot of fun to see some of your friends' answers, and it sparks some debates about why one of your friends would think honey is stickier than glue. Not all of the rounds are just ranking best to worst, some task you with picking the bottom three, or even the middle three, so it’s not always as easy as debating the most or least from the list. You must talk out all the options with your team or you will lose. This is a good game to play if you really know your friends and you have no problem calling them out on being weird about some topics, but it’s also a great game to play with new friends as you will get to know them even better. It’s what party games are all about.

Weapons Drawn is easily the most complicated game in the pack, and probably of all Jackbox. It’s labeled as “A social deduction game where everyone is both a murderer and a detective”. First you are tasked with drawing two murder weapons based on the description cards you are given. In your drawing you are forced to use the provided letter from your name. In the example the game shows, the letter "A" is drawn inverted and into the handle of the sword that was the murder weapon. You should probably do your best to hide this letter as best as you can. As the game goes on you are tasked with not only solving who killed who, but also getting away with killing people yourself. If you are looking for a quick game, this isn’t it. It takes a lot to explain, and I think I would go over my word limit in this review trying to explain it. This definitely isn’t the type of game you’d invite your friend’s mom to join over the phone, and maybe not the game you play late into the night after you’ve had a few drinks, but it is a lot of fun to play if you have the right group of friends that are willing to invest some time to learn it and play it the right way. I’m afraid that my group of friends didn’t take it too seriously, and were voting at random, or even worse, using wrong logic to choose their votes and it ruined the plans of people trying to play the game right. It’s a very complicated game, but once you learn the ins and outs, it could be a lot of fun.

The Wheel of Enormous Proportions is Party Pack 8’s version of a trivia game with 2 to 8 players. Usually, this spot is taken by You Don’t Know Jack or Murder Mystery Party, but this time The Wheel takes it’s spot as a great stand in for those classics. You start the game off by answering a magic 8-Ball style question, so naturally I asked, “Will I get some tonight?” which my wife promptly answered “No!” and then everyone laughed at my expense. The host of the trivia game show is a magic wheel and the more questions you get right, the more spins you get at the end of each round. The rewards for spins are points and mixed on the wheel are some special slices that can award the spinners points to other players of the game. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins. The trivia questions usually consist of a question of which you get to pick multiple answers from a pool of about a dozen choices. So, for example you must pick the names of the seven dwarves, you’ll have the seven names on the screen mixed in with 5 fakes. Another question you get is to match two sets of lists together. So, fruits with their colors, or superheroes with their real names, stuff like that. Another is similar to past Jackbox games where they give you a mystery person or thing, and they fire clues at you to help you out. The longer it takes for you to guess, the less points you receive. It’s all pretty standard for trivia games, and that's for good reason. These types of questions are fun to have, and everyone knows how trivia games work, so they are easy to jump in and play even if you are not used to party games. The Wheel is the perfect game to start the night with, it’s fun for everyone and it gets that first game's nerves out of the way for newcomers.

You can tell that a lot of extra love and attention went into this pack. The animations of the menus and games have all received an upgrade, and every game has a special closing song that is a lot of fun to listen to. Stuff like that was usually only saved for one game in the pack but I am glad they had the extra time and money to do it for all the games this time. I think this pack has a good variety of games, and none of them missed the mark this time. If you have a group of 5 to 8 friends or like to stream online and have your viewers play along, then you’ll find there is a lot to do and a lot of fun to be had with The Jackbox Party Pack 8.

**The Jackbox Party Pack 8 was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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