Review: The Jackbox Party Pack 4 (PS4)

Review: The Jackbox Party Pack 4 (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC, Mac
  • Apple TV (4th Gen.)
  • Android TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Nvidia Shield

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: The Jackbox Party Pack 4
Format: PSN (1.34 GB)
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Developer: Jackbox Games
Original MSRP: $24.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is the fourth game bundle in as many years. These are collections of four to five party games with most requiring three or more players.

The genius behind the package is that everyone plays using a phone, tablet, or laptop. Many of the games can have up to eight players, which the PS4 will not support and, even if it did, who has that many controllers lying around?

Players simply go to jackbox.tv and enter a four letter room code. No app to download, no hesitation from someone who hasn’t held a controller since the SNES launched, and no fuss.

No one my family plays video games but the simplicity of the interactions means everyone can play. My goal this year is to get my grandma to play on her iPad. Most of the games have a family mode too. It’s one of those things where “just one more game” can easily turn into another hour.

Fibbage 3
Fibbage is my favorite game from all of the different packs. The game provides a question with a blank while everyone creates a lie. Afterwards all the lies are displayed with the real answer. Points are awarded for guessing the correct answer and having people guess your lie.

There is not much surprise in Fibbage 3 for those who have played the older editions of the game. Yet, they added just enough to keep it interesting. Obviously there’s a whole new set of questions.

The presentation has vastly improved and there’s a fast photo slide with pictures of all the different categories. The 70s theme seems like a weird choice but it doesn’t take away from anything. The biggest change is during the “Final Fibbage”, the last round of a game, where there are now two blanks in the question.

Enough About You
Enough About You is a Fibbage 3 bonus game where have to guess the correct answer to weird questions about your fellow players. If you’re playing with a significant other, answers are almost too obvious. It takes a few questions to figure out how to honestly answer them without giving too much away.

Survive The Internet
This one starts off by having players answer a question and then having players twist those responses in creative ways. The winner is the person who gets the most votes for their “sick burn”.

The early internet is a fun theme. Because this game gives people longer to create comments and then twist other’s comments, it could have easily been boring for those who finished right away. To entertain the quicker players, random popup ads or instant message windows appear.

There are plenty of references to the early days of dial-up internet and even the old paper clip from Word makes an appearance. I got a kick out of some of these jokes but I would guess because most people are holding their phones they will probably switch to Twitter for thirty seconds to fill the time.

The rules are not explained very well but it only takes one round to get the hang of it. It’s an interesting idea that just doesn’t quite work the way I imagine the developers wanted. Most of the starting questions and prompts don’t spark the creativity needed for a game like this.

The comments are not that easy to take out of context and twist into something else. The game is far from a flop but was treated more as a palette cleanser with the groups I played with. Not something that we would play all the time but once or twice to mix things up a bit.

Monster Seeking Monster
This is a monster dating game. Every round starts by people messaging each other, flirting in an attempt to win dates. Special powers are slowly introduced into the game. It doesn’t really change the game but it does change how people get points.

At first this seems like a unique and interesting idea. When starting the game it stresses logging in with your real name. Personally I think this kinda ruins it. Using pick up lines on your significant other’s best friend or a family member is a little weird. If everyone was anonymous it would add to the game by trying to figure out who everyone was.

Ultimately it falls apart with the gameplay. After everyone has selected who they want to have a date with, the game goes through and shows who selected whom. Points are awarded to those who got dates and from the special powers that are slowly introduced. This all just feels kinda random. In the other games points are awarded because you came up with a great lie or hilarious response to a comment.

During the talking phase of each round, players have a limited number of messages which also have a limited number of characters. None of this was ever explained. We did run into a weird bug where the text from the messages we were writing each other kept disappearing. Once you hit send it would appear but often with typos.

Bracketeering
The tagline for Bracketeering is “The deranged debate match where you place smart bets on stupid arguments”. Players give a couple of answers to a question which are then placed in a bracket against your friend’s answer. People then vote on the best until a champion is chosen.

I get the connection between betting and a bracket but it feels kinda pointless here. A couple of times you will be given the option to bet on an upcoming bracket. However, the points won or lost betting don’t make much of a difference.

To win you need your answers to go far in the bracket. Jackbox has another game where betting is better implemented. The categories are not always consistent either. What’s the point in naming your two favorite movies when in one round people are voting for best horror movie and then best comedy in the next.

It has taken me awhile to figure out why I dislike this game so much but I think I can finally put it into words. Going through the bracket only once felt like it took way too long and did not hold my interest past the first round.

Remove the betting and bracket and change it so only two people are submitting answers to same question and you have Quiplash, probably my second favorite Jackbox game. It’s all about timing and keeping the player actively engaged.

With Bracketeering, when everyone has submitted their answers, you can see all the submissions at once. Most likely you spot the best of the group and which one will probably win in the end. So from the beginning, unless the category is changing, you are voting on the same category and with the same submissions. Basically, you’re going through the motions until the inevitable winner has won.

With Quiplash every thirty seconds you’re voting on answers to a different prompt. This is also the first and only time people are seeing these submissions. So when it comes to the prompt where you had a killer response, everyone is focused on those two and seeing it at the same time. This creates a bigger and simultaneous reaction to your killer answer. The game is constantly moving while always being new and exciting.

Civic Doodle
This is a drawing game where players are tasked with creating works of art for various businesses around town. Players start with a blank canvas except for a few lines. After every round players vote on the best drawing, then players add more to that drawing and the process is repeated. At the end of the game the final drawing is shown on the side of a building or panel van. It’s small but a nice touch to the end of the game.

It’s simple but fun and works pretty well. My only complaint is trying to draw on a phone with my finger. I am by no means anything close to artistic but, I would have preferred to use a tablet or stylus for this game.

Visuals:
Every games has a different theme and art style. Fibbage 3 uses 70s themed photos while Monster Seeking Monster uses cartoon monster portraits. There are no cutscenes or graphic intensive animations. em>The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is not that type of game.

Audio:
The audio is well done but not always well written. A lot of the pre-game jokes often miss the mark. To be fair though, usually everyone is laughing and talking so the only time you really hear the audio is when a game announcer is asking a question or commenting.

Online/Multiplayer:
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is a couch co-op game. In this bundle only Fibbage 3 can be played with two players and none of the games can be played solo.

For people who want to play with dozens of strangers, the games can be streamed using special options in each game menu. In this case the people viewing the stream do not need the game or even a PS4. All they need is a device and the room code.

What The Jackbox Party Pack is missing is online multiplayer, people playing together on different PS4s. I doubt this is something in high demand but my wife and I would play online with our siblings and their significant others every once in awhile if it were possible.

Conclusion:
Overall this bundle flopped for us. Two of the games are just not fun. Survive The Internet and Civic Doodle are fine but nothing I would want to play for a couple of hours. That just leaves Fibbage 3. I love the addition of two blank spaces during the last round but one game is not worth the cost of the bundle. Especially when you can buy the original Fibbage by itself on PSN for under $10.

For those interested in The Jackbox Party Pack games, my recommendation is to get last year’s bundle and the original Fibbage. I have played last year’s bundle a few times and it doesn’t have a single bad game. The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is the only one I do not own and I will be picking it up before I head home for Thanksgiving.

Score:
6.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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