The original Party Pack is here, but does it hold up?
The Switch is quickly becoming a great party game machine, just like it's Grandpa Wii. Jackbox Games has now released its1st installment on the eShop, having already released its 3rd installment a few months back. My friends and I have been playing and absolutely adoring Jackbox Party Pack 3 since release, but with the first version I honestly didn't know what to expect. Would it live up to the Party Pack 3 or be lacking the polish one would expect from years of refinement? Well, it turns out that it IS very fun, and full of great games to entertain and play with a bunch of friends.
Five different games are included in The Jackbox Party Pack. Standard controllers aren't needed to playas anything with an Internet browser (phone, tablet, computer, etc.) will work instead. Every mode has a different and delightful narrator that guides you through the rules of each game, reads the prompts and also adds in a comment here or there. The overall production of each game is very good, everything is clearly presented with nice visuals and funny sound effects.
The first game we played was "You Don't Know Jack", which is a pretty straightforward multiple-choice trivia game with lots of character and charm built in. Unfortunately this mode is limited to 4 people, so if you have a big party some people may have to sit this game out, or take turns between rounds (You can also play this mode single-player). Though we enjoyed our sessions with this game, we did find some of the trivia questions and choices kind of confusing at times.
One of our favorite games in the pack was "Drawful", a picture drawing game where people try to guess what you drew. Each player will get a random prompt that they will have to draw and showcase to the group. These prompts can literally be anything, from "frozen knife" to "broccoli enema"(?). Everyone gets to privately guess what they think the picture is, and then all of their answers are mixed into a big list that also includes the real answer. Each player then votes for what they think the real answer is, and the players who get their guesses voted for recieve points. This game sets up a lot of variability for how anyone wants to approach it. Often I asked myself "Should I vote for what I think is correct? Or should I vote for what I think is the funniest?" This kind of gameplay really encouraged funny banter and communication between the players, and often ended in abundant laughter.
Another great game in the pack is "Fibbage XL". In this game everyone is presented with a trivia question, and each player tries to convince the other players to vote for their made-up answer. Trying to write smart answers is part of the fun, but the game really shines when players come up with hilarious responses. This game ended up being a favorite of many players.
"Lie Swatter" is the only real letdown in the pack, as it's really just a True/False trivia game without any bells or whistles. One plus is that you can play by yourself or with up to 100 people locally, so if you have that many people at your house it might be your only option. Even still, my friends and I could barely make it through one round and I distinctly heard someone say "I never want to play this again". It's not that Lie Swatter is bad, just compared to the other games it doesn't stack up.
The last game we played was "Word Spud", and boy did we have some fun with this one. In this everyone collaboratively creates a chain of words that makes up one sentence. For instance, if the first word was "propane" then the next randomly selected person could put "grill", making it "propane grill". Then the next random person would have to play off of "grill" and could type "power", making it "grill power". After each of these word combos have been made, the rest of the players get to vote yea or nay, giving or taking points away from the creator. This goes on for awhile until a huge nonsensical sentence has been formed, and the person with the most points at the end wins. This game was definitely one of our favorites, and "One more round!" was a common demand after each session.
Overall I was really impressed with the quality of games included in Jackbox Party Pack. All but one of them are very solid experiences that can always dish up a fun time. I was literally on the floor laughing during a game of Word Spud, and every other game brought out the best (and worst) of my friends and family. Of course your mileage will vary by how many people you can play with, so make sure to invite many friends to the party if you want to truly have an event to remember.