Title: The Jackbox Party Pack 2
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC, Amazon Fire, Mac
Developer: Jackbox Games
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Release Date: Out Now
Price: $24.99/24.99 Euro
Tagline: The party keeps going, but not as strong as the first time around
Family Friendly: Click here to read more
Verdict: Wait for a Sale
When the first Jackbox Party Pack came out, it was an insanely good value for party gamers everywhere as you got five solid titles all playable without the need for a ton of extra controllers. Just get everyone to use their phones or tablets and they could jump in on the fun. Jackbox Party Pack 2 looks to continue the value of providing a group of mostly new titles and keeping the access rules the same, but adding a few new wrinkles this time around.
Jackbox Party Pack 2 includes five differently themed games, with three of the titles being completely new experiences while two games are repeats with new questions included in the base price of the game. New titles this time around include Bidiots, Earwax and Bomb Corp, while returning favorites include Quiplash (formerly sold as a solo title) and Fibbage 2 (sequel to the first Fibbage XL title in the first Jackbox Party Pack).
Most of the games here in the Party Pack 2 are themed around gathering groups of people to play, so if you were looking for some fun solo experiences, those experiences are limited to Bomb Corp only. Games are easily queued up from a main menu and offer up some instructions for each game and the amount of players needed to start a game. Selecting a game will launch the title in question and players can jump in by logging into a website and entering a name and the four-character code for the room.
Right off the bat, Fibbage 2 was the immediate go to game for my group of players, as it was a familiar title, but also it was the game that provided the most fun the first time around in the first Jackbox Party Pack. Players have to try and create a fake answer and try to fool people into selecting their answer to get points. Bidiots was a close second, and correlates with Drawful. You draw up artworks and those artworks are then set up for bid by other players. During the bidding process, you are provided a list of bidding requirements at the auction and budgeting the money you have with the profit you are trying to gain with each drawing made the game a classic for many players.
From here, the games started to fall off a bit. While Quiplash XL was cool, it did not stay its welcome very long. One is presented with a phrase and you try to fill in the blanks with answers that will have others voting it the best quip. Fun, but it lost its luster with the audience. Earwax was very lackluster where you try to choose two sounds that match the question presented, but the answers normally devolve into ridiculous choices and I found no one wanting to play after a couple of rounds.
Bomb Corp is the only solo game this time around and its premise is simple and delivered in quirky 8-bit graphics. You work for a weird company that makes bombs and you have to disarm them in order to save the business using manuals that are poorly written with the goal of confusing you in regards to the final solution. It is somewhat easy, but it comes off poorly and very repetitive over a half hour of play.
As with Jackbox Party Pack 1, Jackbox Party Pack 2 allows anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer the ability to jump in and play any of the games. Now however, players that jump in late can still have fun, as they can join a waiting lobby and vote on answers which adds to the points for the current players until a game opens for the to start playing. It was a nice touch and allows anyone to jump in at any time and still feel involved instead of just shouting out answers and ruining a bit of fun for the main group of players.
The value of Jackbox Party Pack 2 is something that is left up to debate. I found myself enjoying both Bidiots and Fibbage 2, but the rest of the titles were sort of left sitting unplayed after a couple of hours. This was a large change from the first title which had all the titles in regular rotation at most of the party sessions I held. It’s not that the value is terrible, as you are still getting five complete games in one nicely designed package, but the included titles are just not as fun with the noted exceptions mentioned earlier. No one wants a package of repeats every time, but it just seems like the fun is lacking for a better part of Jackbox Party Pack 2. It is still a good deal, but your mileage may vary on this second trip down Jackbox lane.
- Games are easy to jump into and play
- Bidiots and Fibbage 2 are easy party favorites that left everyone laughing hysterically
- Adding things to do for players waiting to get into a game is a nice touch and keeps all invovled
- A majority of the package falls a bit flat
- Including some repeat titles feels a bit lazy from a design point
- Repeat questions don’t come up as often, but are still a nuisance
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 when played correctly should be a safe bet for all involved. While some of the questions skirt near being a tad risqué, they are all in good fun for the most part. However, be warned that when you play something like this at a party, the atmosphere could change drastically and the answers you get from people might be a bit more than you want little seven year old Johnny to hear. So nothing in the package on its own is out of bounds for all ages, the company played with could change that dynamic.
This review was prepared using retail Xbox One code provided by Microsoft.