Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’ve been a huge fan of the You Don’t Know Jack and Jackbox Party Pack games for decades now. I love the pop culture trivia and zany humor infused throughout each collection. The problem with comedy is that it is often completely dependent on each individual’s tastes and of course that means the games can be hit or miss. In fact, last year’s Jackbox Party Pack 5 was, and still is, one of my favorite entries of the bunch thanks to a clever array of fun games and it included the return of the base trivia game that I love so much. There are five total games in The Jackbox Party Pack 6, which just released on the Switch and much to my surprise only one of them really landed with my group of friends, which is disappointing to say the least.
Let’s start out with the positive and easily best game of the bunch: Trivia Murder Party 2. The cult classic trivia turned horror game makes a return and it’s better than ever. It plays pretty much exactly like the original, but you get a bunch of new trivia questions and mini-games to play. The premise is to try to make it out alive. If you give the wrong answer you’ll be forced to play a mini-game that could result in your death! If you die you still get to continue playing the trivia portion of the game, and technically you can still win the entire thing, but you’ll be handicapped for the final round so it’s a bit more difficult to pull it off. The mixture of fun questions, hilarious commentary, and creepy mini-games makes this one the true winner and one that I’ll keep coming back to for months to come.
Unfortunately it’s all downhill from here. I do give the developers credit for trying new ideas or repurposing what would typically be board games into video game form. That’s true of Push The Button, where four to ten players are secluded on a spaceship, but one of them is an alien! It’s up to the group to try and figure out which player is the odd one out by watching out for strange answers given by the various players. The alien can screw with peoples’ answers by hacking their screen, giving them the wrong prompt and thus potentially causing them to give an odd answer, which could lead some to think that player is the alien. There’s some psychology at play here and the game encouraged all of the players to chat amongst themselves to try and piece the mystery together. The whole ordeal has a time limit. If the alien isn’t discovered before the timer hits zero he or she wins. I’ve played various versions of this type of game over the years and it’s never really been a favorite of mine, but I do have some friends that really dig this style of board game so if you’re into that this one might appeal to you a little more. For reference my group of friends didn’t care for it too much, but there were only four of us playing. I think that perhaps this game might be more impactful if you can get a larger group together.
In Role Models you’ll play with a group of three to six players to try and discover what your friends really think of you. Or, at least that’s what the game tries to sell you on, but in reality this one really landed with a thud. You’re given a topic and you’ll drag the person’s name to what best describes them. You can assign points to those that you think are for sure going to be the most popular choices and earn bonus science pellets if you’re correct. This game has a couple of flaws, one of which is that it pretty much requires you to know a decent amount about the other people in your group that are playing. If you are having a big party and don’t know many of the players this will no doubt be a pointless exercise. Even if you do know the other players it just isn’t that fun – let alone funny.
My second favorite game in this collection is Dictionarium, which supports between three to eight players. I’m a huge fan of Balderdash; the board game that has you making up definitions for words and trying to fool the other players into thinking your definition is the real one. This one has a similar feel to it, except instead of trying to create a realistic definition the players are voting on their favorites. The game progresses as the winning entry then needs a synonym and then the last segment requires players to use that in a sentence. This game requires some creativity and the ability to come up with some clever answers on the fly. While I did enjoy my time with this one, not everyone in the group did and it relies more on the players’ input, which of course can be very hit or miss depending on who is playing.
Finally there is Joke Boat that pits three to eight players against one another to become the best stand-up comedian on the ship. The game will give you a chance to come up with a bunch of words and phrases that will then be randomly selected and given back out to the players. When the round begins the player will have to pick a word and it will be used in a phrase. It’s then up to each player to come up with a punch line to the joke and two players will be pitted against one another and players will vote for the funniest outcome. Once again this relies heavily on the players being creative and funny, which can be a huge hit or miss depending on who is playing. I’d like to say our group came up with some really funny material (and we did several times), but it just wasn’t as entertaining as last year’s Mad Verse City, which had a similar concept except robots fought it out in a rap battle with funny text to voice to really seal the comedic value.
As with any Jackbox Party Pack the amount of fun you’ll have with the included games is often dependent on the group you’re playing with. That being said, there have been better iterations in the past and unfortunately this one just didn’t hit the mark. Only one of the five games really landed with us, and the rest ranged from just OK to downright boring. It pains me to be so unimpressed with this game because I’ve loved so many of them over the years. Of course your mileage may vary depending on your tastes, but for us The Jackbox Party Pack 6 fell well short of the mark.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 4/104/10
- Lasting Appeal - 4/104/10
Final Thoughts: MEDIOCRE
It pains me to score The Jackbox Party Pack 6 so low because I’m truly a huge fan of the series. Normally at least two or three of the five included games are a blast, but this time around only one (Trivia Murder Party 2) really delivered the goods. Some may find a few more of the included games worth their time, but overall I can’t help but be disappointed.