Each entry in the Jackbox Party Pack series is a collection of five party games that anyone can play using their phone as a controller, either locally or via livestream. Jackbox Party Pack 4 offers four brand-new games and the greatly expanded Fibbage 3, all sure to liven up your next party or stream.
The main Jackbox Party Pack 4 application takes place on your TV or monitor. But instead of playing with a controller, everyone uses their phones, tablets, or other smart device to play. Anything with a web browser will work – just point it to Jackbox.tv, enter your name, and input the room code to join the game.
Players all still look at the big screen to receive instructions and follow the overall game, but you'll make selections, enter text, and make drawings on your phone. It's so simple that even non-gamers will quickly find themselves playing and laughing along with the other players.
While these games are perfect for playing together locally, they also play great online game via livestreaming. Just broadcast the game on Twitch or Mixer and your stream viewers can play along. That's a killer feature, that anybody can join the host's game, even if they don't own the game.
Starting with the third installment in the series, Jackbox Party Packs have included moderation tools to help deal with online players who behave rudely or abusively. The fourth game even adds the ability for an individual player to mute another player.
Jackbox Party Pack 4 includes five games. Let's look at them.
The first Jackbox game to feature smart-device controls was 2014's Fibbage. Fibbage 3 includes both the traditional game and a new variation called Fibbage Enough About You. In the regular game, players receive a trivia question and must then create a false answer that other players will take as the real one. Reading everyone's fibs and choosing the cleverest one has always been a great time, and the striking new art style makes the experience even better.
The new Fibbage Enough About You mixes things up by asking trivia questions about the individual players. For example, the game will ask you a question about yourself. You then enter a true response and a fake one. Everyone else then tries to guess the true one. It's a clever new twist on the game because you get to talk and joke about yourself.
Nobody will be surprised to learn that Fibbage 3 is the best game in Jackbox Party Pack 4. After all, Jackbox keeps improving it with each installment.
Survive the Internet
Each game in Jackbox Party Pack 4 has its own distinct art style. Survive the Internet is made to look like a Windows 95 application, complete with web browser borders, desktop icons, and other authentic touches.
This game asks you to comment on an idea, such as writing a quick review of Starbucks coffee. Everyone else then writes the other half of the idea, but they don't see your original prompt. It then displays the combined comment, again without the original prompt. Everyone votes on whose twisted comment is best. It sounds complicated, but it's very silly and fun in practice.
Monster Seeking Monster
Jackbox Party Packs always have at least one weak link, one lesser game. Monster Seeking Monster is that game in this installment, though you can't call it unoriginal. Everyone plays as a monster (who starts out looking human), with a unique power (initially) known only to them that affects the game.
The game lasts for six days (rounds). Each day, you can send up to four instant messages to your fellow players. The goal is to date the other players and win hearts. Two players must choose to date each other on the same day in order to get a heart. You can also try to woo the NPC robot player. If the robot has the least hearts when the game ends, it turns evil and destroys the world.
Monster Seeking Monster is certainly different – a weird gameified dating system. But coming up with clever faux romantic messages to send to multiple players on the fly just isn't very intuitive. This one might work better with a mix of male and female players, but it's never going to be as good as the other games in the pack.
Thankfully, Bracketeering is much easier to understand. Each round, the game asks for a clever answer to a question. Everyone's answers are then paired against each other in a tournament bracket. Everyone votes for the best answer in each pair, determining a winner. The victor then gets paired against the victor of the next bracket, and so on. You'll also have a chance to win points by predicting the winner of a bracket before the voting starts.
Bracketeering's simple gameplay lets you concentrate on making silly answers for everyone to enjoy. It also has a cool eighties neon art style.
The concept of Civic Doodle is someone started painting a mural for the city, but they ran out of money so the art went unfinished. Everyone gets a simple incomplete drawing and must then turn it into something amusing. After the group votes for the best drawing, players must then draw more on the winning picture.
Everyone keeps adding to the picture, until the result is a ghastly (and probably naughty) finished mural. You even get to make up a name for the finished product and then vote on the best one. Civic Doodle is equal parts cooperation and competition, and one hundred percent entertaining.
Jackbox Party Pack 4 is a very solid collection of party games. In fact, it's probably the best entry in the series. Only one game is a real dud, with the other four games offering plenty of chances for hilarity. And Fibbage About You is a clever spin on the already great game of Fibbage.
It's also great to see the production values and moderation tools continue to improve with each installment. Break out Jackbox Party Pack 4 at your next social gathering (or livestream) and everybody's guaranteed to have a good time.
- Fibbage Enough About You is a smart twist on Fibbage, letting players lie about themselves.
- Five party games means plenty of variety.
- Anyone can play and have a great time, even nongamers.
- Monster Seeking Monster is unintuitive and lasts for way too long.
- The drawing game still lacks an erase feature. Why???
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 sells for $24.99 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam.
Xbox One and Steam review copies provided by the publisher.
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