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The Jackbox Party Pack has become a fantastic way to enjoy some fun games with a large group of people that don't require explaining overly complicated rules and steep learning curves. All you need is a TV screen and a smartphone, and you can play. It's easy to get into, but how much fun is the newest Party Pack to play? Let's dive in and check it out.
The only holdover from previous Jackbox Party Packs is Fibbage. In the game, A fill in the black type question is given, and the players each come up with an answer that they think other people will be fooled by, while also trying to pick the true answer among all the lies. It's still a fun game in its third iteration.
New to Fibbage 3 is a game mode called Enough About You, in which you answer questions about yourself, and the other players try to guess what's true among the falsehoods created by others. It's a neat twist on the formula and has the potential to reveal interesting things about your friends. Which is part of why alcohol is always welcome at Jackbox parties.
Next, we have Survive the Internet, which is the best of Jackbox Party Pack 4's new games. The game has you answer a seemingly innocuous question, which then gets sent to another player, who gets to use it to make you look foolish. If your friends' statement was found in the comment section of an internet news site, what's the worst possible headline for that story? Basically, it's trolling by proxy. The best Jackbox games move quickly and keep the jokes new and fresh, and Survive the Internet does that well.
On the flip side, however, Bracketology is a one-note joke that runs for too long. It's like March Madness, but for dumb stuff. Everybody comes up with an answer based on a prompt, and then those answers go up against each other, tournament style, until a winner is chosen. The game goes through several rounds, and in later rounds the game actually changes up the prompt mid bracket, potentially changing which answer is best, but for the most part, you end up just seeing your friends' jokes over and over again, and comedy is less funny the second time. Although, with a large group this might be more fun, and I'd bet it has more potential streaming than in local games.
For the artistically minded, Jackbox Party Pack 4 has a new drawing game called Civic Doodle. The premise is that you're all creating murals in public spaces in a city. The gameplay involves two players going head to head, making a drawing starting with the same starting point. Players vote on which they like best, then two more players go head to head starting with whichever image got the most votes. This runs through until everybody has played. I am not artistically inclined, but I enjoyed Civic Doodle more than previous Jackbox games like Drawful because you're not expected to create a masterpiece on your own.
Finally, there's Monster Seeking Monster. This was the weak link of Jackbox Party Pack 4 overall. The game sees all the players attempt to date each other by sending texts to each other. At the end of each round, if two players choose each other for a date they earn a heart and whoever has the most hearts at the end wins. The catch is, that every player is secretly a monster, and each has special abilities that can help them earn more hearts, take them from other players, or otherwise mess with things. This game really depends on the group you're playing with, as it requires everybody to be willing to essentially flirt with each other. If the group is in the right mood this one can work but if not it falls pretty flat. There's also a potential for a mechanic like this to be abused by the wrong sort of people, making the game not fun for anybody.
During our playtest, we did run into some technical issues where one player wasn't getting all the information they were supposed to be getting on their phone. This sort of issue is rare for Jackbox in my experience, but it should be noted.
Of the five games in Jackbox Party Pack 4, only two are complete home runs and one feels like a pretty solid dud. The remaining two probably may only make into your nightly rotation to occasionally break up the repetitiveness of playing Fibbage 3 and Survive the Internet over and over again.
This review based on a Xbox One copy of the game provided by the publisher.