It is that time of the year again where we are given a new offering from the crew at Jackbox Games. The fifth iteration of the Jackbox Party Pack brings with it some outstanding games and a couple disappointing ones. As I did with my review of the fourth party pack, I will go down each game individually rather than reviewing the pack in the pros/cons format I usually do.
YOU DON’T KNOW JACK: Full Stream. Having never played a You Don’t Know Jack game before, I had no idea how this one would go. Unfortunately, this one proved to be one of the weaker games in the pack. The game basically takes the form of a trivia game, but with some rather bizarre questions and equally bizarre answers. The questions were not particularly interesting and were very difficult. It felt like my friends and I were spending the majority of our time trying to figure out what each question was actually asking. Sure, that is what the game is supposed to do, but it did not provide for a fun experience. The most fun I had with the game was the rapid-fire questions shot at us during the “Jack Attack” final round. This round is much more engaging than the rest of the game and I wish that the rounds prior to it could match its quality. As such, I cannot see this one getting as much play at parties compared to the other games the pack offers.
Split the Room. Out of all of the games in the pack, I would have to say that Split the Room has the most interesting concept. The game presents players with prompts that need a blank filled in, then presents this prompt to the other players and asks them to vote yes or no. The overall goal of the one filling in the blank is to come up with something that will perfectly split the room and make the ones answering it hesitate before answering. For example, one of my phrases was “A billionaire candidate for governor promises to pay all of your taxes as long as you give up the right to ______”. I filled in the blank with “eat meat” and managed to perfectly split the room between those that valued money more than meat and vice-versa. Not only was it fun to come up with such divisive answers, but it was also fun seeing how each player responded – it was quite the learning experience for my friends and I.
Mad Verse City. If you have ever wanted to be a rap god, Party Pack 5 has the perfect solution in the form of a game titled Mad Verse City. The game pits players against each other to see who can come up with the better rap, with other players voting on who won each rap battle. In order to do this, the game prompts players for specific words (such as a negative adjective or a plural noun) then places them into a sentence for you. After that, the player then has to come up with their own sentence to rhyme with the first. The game repeats this process one more time, then matches the player with an opponent. The actual rap battle part is done by robots using a variety of text-to-speech voices, which is quite enjoyable to hear in itself. However, the real fun is coming up with verses that not only make sense in a rap, but also put the other player down. As such, I found this to be the most difficult game to play, as I am no rap god. Fortunately, none of my friends were either, so we had a lot of fun throwing the most stupid raps at each other. In fact, out of all of the games in the pack, this is the one that my friends kept requesting we replay.
Patently Stupid. The drawing game this time around is a lot of fun to play. It tasks each player with solving a bizarre problem with an equally bizarre invention. Each player comes up with an invention, draws it, names it, gives it a tagline, and then presents it to the rest of the party. Then each player votes on their favorite three inventions. Any invention that receives a certain amount of votes then gets “funded”, providing even more points to the original creator. I found that the success of one’s invention not only came down to how clever it was, but how it was presented too. If you can give a good sales pitch, you may get some points, even if the invention itself is subpar. Those can can come up with clever inventions and give a good sales pitch will definitely find success here. My friends and I had a blast coming up with the most stupid inventions and then giving totally serious sales pitches, easily making this game one of the best in the pack.
Zeeple Dome. This is easily the worst game I have played in a Jackbox Party Pack. It ditches the traditional format used by the other games and instead has each player controlling a little alien and launching it around, hitting various objectives scattered about. Unlike the other games included, Zeeple Dome does not have a comedy element, making it a pure action gameplay experience. Unfortunately, that is where the game falters, as the gameplay here is average at best, enough so for the group I was playing with to beg me to switch to another game. It is also worth noting that this is the only game in the pack that needs to be played locally, as any sort of latency really makes this one unplayable. The game at least offers singleplayer play, but honestly, it is just not worth the time. The game really just pales in comparison to the rest of the party pack.
The fifth party pack may not be an improvement over the last, but it is at least on par with what one would expect from the series. Split the Room and Patently Stupid ended up being my favorites in the pack, but Mad Verse City was pretty good as well. YOU DON’T KNOW JACK: Full Stream was a bit weaker compared to the others, but not something I would completely write off. However, Zeeple Dome is nothing but a disappointment, one that I will probably never play again. Even so, as someone that has been using Party Pack 4 at parties over the past year, I look forward to doing the same with Party Pack 5.
You can buy The Jackbox Party Pack 5 on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.