TL;DR – We get our party on, in what is a robust new outing for Jackbox Games
Jackbox Party Pack 7 Review –
If you have spent any time on Twitch, you would probably have a passing understanding of Jackbox games. These are fun little party games like Trivia Murder Party that can be played with a group of friends around a TV or on large streams when hundreds of people can join in on the audience. It is this flexibility that gives the Jackbox Party Pack their longevity.
Well, today we are going to dive into the world party games and look at Jackbox Games newest outing Jackbox Party Pack 7. To put together this review, I have played some of these games on stream via Twitch and also with friends in local coop.
As the saying goes, you need something old and something new. Well in this pack Quiplash 3 is the something old, but also the something new all at the same time. In Quiplash, two players are given the same prompt and have to come up with a creative response to it. Those responses (or quips) are then put beside each other, and the group have to vote on which was the funniest.
It is a tried and true game format, so there should be no surprises that it is a solid example of the game. The game has been given a facelift, with a kind of clay/playdough styling that is nice, if the internet has not already ruined you. One significant improvement for the game is the revamp of the third round. In the past, this always felt well anti-climactic, so it was good to see it land this time around.
The Devils and the Details
In our first brand new game to the Party Box, we have The Devils and the Details a hybrid worker-placement game with off-putting sitcom vibe. In the game, you all work as demons pretending to be an average human family going about their weekly tasks … for research, I think? On each of the three days, you have to complete tasks, sometimes with the help of other players. Each task scores points towards your weekly goal as well as points just for you. However, some jobs are selfish and will score you personally a bunch of points while weakening the group total.
This dynamic creates an interesting risk/reward system where you want to be a little bit selfish but not a lot selfish because then no one will help you with your tasks. It is also one of the games that I feel will work much better in-person rather than over a stream because it is essential that everyone can communicate and coordinate with each other. The tasks all have the simple swipe feel of games like Among Us, and the off-putting sitcom theme is a nice touch. In my playthroughs, the game had a bit of chaos, but it never jelled together, so it is not one I see myself drawn to try again in the pack.
Unfortunately, there always tends to be a game in a pack that doesn’t quite land and in Party Pack 7, that game is Champ’d Up. In this game, you are given a prompt like ‘Will win in a cave’, and you have to draw and name a character that you think will win a battle in that arena. Next, your counterpart only gets to see your picture and then has to kind of guess what the prompt was and draw a new character that they think could win. The two drawings are then dumped into the arena and battle it out via votes.
Now I do have to say, that I think some of my frustration with this game is that when I played this with friends on the Switch, the game was bugged and didn’t show complete images, which is a large oversight to miss. However, I think that this game was always going to be an uphill battle. It was nice to see some drawing improvements like different colours and an undo button finally, but it is still one of the methods that are going to show the most disparity between players. It also feels like it is more of a riff on Tee K.O. from The Jackbox Party Pack 3 and it does not improve on the formula at all.
From one extreme to another, we have a game that might be one of the most difficult to explain but then also one of the most fun to play. In this game, you are presented with a prompt that you have to complete; it is then sent to other players who then have to choose one to present. While presenting, another player is assisting the presentation by picking photo-text combinations that appear behind them like a faux-PowerPoint. The person giving the talk has no idea what is going to be on the next slide and has to run with it. Meanwhile, all the other players are voting on how well both of them are doing.
Of all the games in the pack, I feel this is the one with the best design because it is so complicated that if one facet does not work, it will all fall apart. The stock photos are hilarious, the chaos as the speaker can see the votes rise and fall in real-time adds to the mood, and the sheer randomness keeps everyone guessing as to what is coming next. There is also the small touches like getting to see all the votes graphed out at the end, which was always a laugh and getting to name your own awards that add to the experience. I will say that this is one of the games that I think works best in-person than over stream, so you need to keep that in mind, but I had a blast every round I played.
I didn’t intend to leave the best until last. However, that is how Jackbox’s internal order played out so who am I to question. In Blather Round, you are given a choice of several potential topics. It could be a location like Easter Island; it could be a character like Winnie the Pooh; a story like A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a person like Elton John; or something completely different. Once you pick your topic, you then have to explain it in a way that people can guess what it is from your clues. Seems simple enough … but oh did I mention that you only have a shortlist of pre-approved words to choose from so explaining a glacier might be ‘A Cold Moving Place’. Everyone else is trying to guess what it is, all while the time ticks down.
The real charm of this game is that it does not matter if you win or fail; it is still entertaining. If you win, there is that moment of joy, followed but at least one sigh of ‘I was just typing that too’. If you fail, then there is a moment when everyone in the room seeing the answer, and immediately all the puzzle pieces fall into place. This fun is added to by some impressive tech behind the scenes that is good at picking solutions that are on the money but maybe not framed 100% right. There is also some good use of voice recognition software so people can be involved even if their eyesight would typically be an issue. The presentation is also top-notch with the presenter being a delight to listen too, and the late 80’s/early 90s theme was a nostalgic blast.
In the end, do we recommend The Jackbox Party Pack 7? Yes, yes, we would. Not every game lands, but enough of them do, and there are some here that I will come back to over and over again. And in the end, this is a party game, and most of these made the party better, and that is the best recommendation I can give.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you played Jackbox Party Pack 7 ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the staff of Jackbox Party Pack 7
Developer – Jackbox Games
Publisher – Jackbox Games