The Jackbox Party Pack 2 Review

Richard Walker

With the holiday season almost upon us, it's time to start thinking about the party games that will help us in enduring it all, and The Jackbox Party Pack 2 might just be the perfect solution. Funnily enough, Jackbox Party Pack 2 is the sequel to the first party pack, which included You Don't Know Jack, Drawful, Fibbage, Lie Swatter and Word Spud. Jackbox Party Pack 2 is an entirely new compendium of party games for the same price. Woo and hoo.

Much as you'd expect, each game is a ton of fun in its own right if you can wrangle enough friends and family to take part. That's made infinitely easier by the fact that The Jackbox Party Pack 2 once again makes use of your smartphone and tablet as an all-purpose input system, accessed by simply visiting jackbox.tv and typing in the unique room code required to play. It's a remarkably easy way of ensuring that anyone and everyone can get involved, with groups above eight still able to join the audience and participate.

Even those reluctant to join in will no doubt have their curiosity piqued by Jackbox Party Pack 2's selection of games, what with their off-the-wall hosts, exuberant sound effects and general air of weirdness. I'd defy anyone to not be intrigued by Earwax, the game in which you're given a prompt and compete to provide a combination of two pieces of audio to best describe that prompt. It's deliriously daft. Bidiots is equally silly, giving each player a time limit to scrawl pieces of art based on descriptions that are then put up for auction.

Each artwork (if you can call them that) has its own value, and only certain players know the value of certain pieces. That means either a guessing game to acquire the most valuable pieces, or a game of deception ensues to encourage your rivals to continue bidding for a relatively worthless lot. Late in the game when the screws come in, a game of Bidiots can become a bit devious and underhand too, but it's never anything less than manic and full of energy.

Fibbage 2 is the same, taking its cue from the board game Absolute Balderdash in challenging players to fabricate lies to wrong-foot your opponents. Being given free reign to write whatever you like on your phone or tablet as an answer is also fantastic, as it means anything goes. Wanna drop a few F-bombs into your lie? You'll give yourself away, but boost the comedy quotient significantly. Quiplash XL is similarly concerned with wordplay, as you attempt to create humorous answers to a variety of questions or scenarios.

The results are usually hilarious, provided you're all on the same page. Perhaps it's not a great idea to invite your boring friends or family members to play though. Somewhat less creative is Bomb Corp, a game in which you're tasked with deciphering instructions to defuse a succession of explosives in your insane office. When you're not dealing with cutting wires, you'll be filing papers in alphabetical order or making coffee. It's funny, but not as enjoyable as the other games in the pack, although you can play it solo if you like.

There are some nice and easy achievements in it for you too, although some might require manipulating your answers and competitors to get the right conditions for an unlock, which is a bit pants. Most drop randomly as you play, however, which is more in keeping with the spirit of simply playing and enjoying the games.

A mirth-inducing compilation of games, The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is the perfect thing to play with family and friends: the more the merrier. Fibbage 2, Earwax and Quiplash XL prove to be the highlights, and will likely be the games you continue to return to. Bidiots is a fun distraction, but has less long-term appeal, while Bomb Corp is enjoyable to a point, but not as enjoyable as the rest of the games on offer. Yet, as a package, The Jackbox Party Pack 2 will easily see you through a Christmas imprisoned with your loved ones.

The Jackbox Party Pack 2

The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is pretty much essential if you have family or friends to entertain. It's one of very few games in which everyone can join in, providing hours of fun and laughter. One to dig out for social gatherings then.

Form widget
70%
Audio
75%

Witty hosts and quirky sounds make Jackbox Party Pack jovial and fun to play, but we could do without the repeated instructions every time you play. An option to skip them would be nice.

Visuals
70%

Colourful and well-presented, Jackbox Party Pack 2's visuals are perfectly serviceable. Bomb Corp's retro pixel style is decent too.

Playability
80%

Simplicity itself thanks to its use of your smartphone or tablet, Jackbox Party Pack 2 can be played by anyone. And it's always humorous fun.

Delivery
60%

A selection of five games sounds like a lot, but you'll soon grow a bit weary of them all after a while. Once repetition starts setting in, you'll go back to it less and less.

Achievements
50%

The achievements have been seemingly crowbarred in, and some require a bit of massaging to make them happen unless you're incredibly lucky. You'll also need more than 8-players to bag the lot.

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