Monday, October 22, 2018

Jackbox Party Pack 5 Review: Forget Mario Party

by Jonathan Bilski

After another yearly wait, Jackbox Games has released it's newest collection of party games you can play using your phone as a controller. We have Jackbox Party Pack 5 out just in time for Halloween and the holidays. Why talk to family and friends when you can insult them as a giant killer robot or have a talking cat see how many people in the room think bacon hats should be mandatory? I'll tell you why, because the game let's you. An it brings back my favorite of favs... You Don't Know Jack!

* Game play tested at Halloween party.

Let's get into it for those who haven't played any of the previous packs, which kind of sucks because we tell you to get them every year. It's very simple, five...four party games are included in this party pack. Each is a bit different, but are very easy to play as all you need is a smart phone that connects to the Internet to play. You use your phone or a tablet if you have one, to play the various games in the pack.

YOU DON’T KNOW JACK: Full Stream (1-8 players)

This year's selection brought back our favorite game and it's You Don't Know Jack, with a twist, it's a part of Binjpipe, Binjpipe may or may not be a fictional streaming service that very much looks like Netflix. You Don't Know Jack is encased in it. Making You Don't Know Jack not only a trivia game, but also part of said service with some incredibly stupid sounding shows that you"ll see glimpses of as the next question comes up. This new version doesn't go long with letting you forget that you're within a corporate possible evil "streaming service."

Cookie Masterson the long time host is back with all new quips for those who  can't get the questions right. It's a pleasure to hear his voice an occasional problems that happen to him behind the scenes.

New strange trivia from The Kardashians to history that actually matters feels up each game. Worded so delightfully that everything is a joke. Questions are as usual completely random, it's all kinds of different trivia, so if you're bad in one subject, don't worry, you"ll be bad in every subject.

If you do badly enough you get screws. Screws let you mess with players doing far better than you at the game. Jackbox has upped the ante making screws stranger and not just rushing the time limit with whomever is screwed. No, it's much, much worse. This time if you get screwed a random penalty can happen. So far, to block answering correctly my answers were: turned into twitter hashtags, upside down, bouncing around my screen and turned into a online contract I had to scroll through until getting to the answers. You"ll simple hate who ever screws you. Oh, and this time the screw works on everyone playing if released. So, everyone whose not the screw-er can get f*^ked. Unless you answer the question before the screw is released.

Game mechanics have changed from previous titles. For those long time players it looks scoring isn't based on time, just answering correctly, so if you answer earlier correctly it won't affect you score in the early rounds. You have to answer while playing either round or points are now deducted. So, no playing it safe, you have to choose and answer.

After 10 rounds of trivia is the Jack Attack. The final round of the game. It's been changed slightly too. You have to match terms to a subject rapidly. An example, cats that can talk. Meow, random cat names will appear on screen. You need to choose cats that can talk like Salem from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and not Tom from Tom and Jerry. Words that match a subject must be answered on your phone fast. They do lose value as you wait to press them. You can earn and lose a lot of points real quick at the end.

Then you can proclaim those wonderful words, "YOU DON'T KNOW JACK!!!!!!," to former friends as the leave disgusted by their own ignorance and your arrogance.

The addition of Binjpipe makes the game seem so founded in how we entertain ourselves now that it's just too good to play without laughing your butt off to every little joke from the host Cookie, the faceless female voice of binjpipe or the absurd questions or just all the little things going on. It's hard to even talk to friends while figuring out answers.
Mad Verse City (3-8 players)

Look out! It's some cheap knock-offs of The Transformers and their rapping, yo! Mad Verse City has you waging war with your words. You"ll be given a funny looking robot as your avatar and then lay a smack down of rhymes on other robots. As you do, the city your battling in takes the blows until one robot stands above all others with the most epic of raps.

Using you device you"ll play three round of filling in lines that rhyme. When your robot does battle an electronic voice raps whatever you wrote. This makes most people laugh as that technology still isn't at its best.

The rap battles are voted on by the other players and during the battle itself other players not in competition can fire lasers (applause) or just push boos. Which can affect score.

Oh, and you earn money each round. The one who wins the most cash at the end is the robot champion rapper.

Rapping has never been more white and funny. As lyrics are as good as the people writing them...and there's a reason we're not all rappers.

Patently Stupid (3-8 players)

Have an idea, too bad. Because in this game the invention has to fit whatever dumb things people come up with to fill in questions. What do you do when your given too many bees? That was explored at my Halloween party, the results are both sad and fascinating.  What one was just giving them to my friend Angello, his house would just be filled with bees, I guess.

Patenlty Stupid is the new drawing game for this pack and it's a keeper.  A bee keeper. Shut up! You're prompted to construct inventions for some truly dumb problems with possibly very dumb answers. Under the guise of a very funny inventing seminar trapped in a hotel. There, you and friends will try and seek funding for your inventions. That's how you score points, your inventions have to hit a minimum number to get funded and the funding requirement goes up as the game goes on.

During one of our games we had to come up with  inventions to problems like, "How do I stop people from looking at boobies?," and ,"How can I fly and walk at the same time?" The solutions made my friends and I laugh out loud at how bad the drawings were and the awful ideas behind them.

You"ll name these inventions and give them a tag line. You can present them to the other players or the game can do it for you.

You"ll play two rounds and then can post your ideas via Twitter or if you want buy a mug with them adorned on it for $20 without shipping.

Split the Room (3-8 players)

This talking cat reminds me of Rod Sterling from The Twilight Zone. He's also the host of Split The Room. A game where points are earned by making questions be divisive. You and your former friends, if the game can help it, get prompts to questions. You have to fill in what might make everyone split their decision on the question. The more undecided the better for you earning points.

Probably, the second most pretty game in the pack after YDKJ, as it's has the flair and style of the original Twilight Zone. For newer people think of The Twilight Zone as Black Mirror, but not having to have any connection to technology or social media being bad. Every minute you"ll play feels like your in your own little episode of a sci-fi trivia show.

Zeeple Dome (1-6 players)

A game where you use your phone for shooting tiny people with sling shot physics. Ehhh, not a great part of the pack. I'll give it to Jackbox game for trying new things. I just wish play testing would have axed this one, eeeehhh. It seems so out of place with all the other games and I mean in the series. It's just a lame phone game you can see on screen with some space alien back story that's not worth it. Frankly, they could take it out of the pack and I wouldn't mind. Maybe just put in Tee K.O. 0.2 instead.

Overall, not even including Zeeple Dome this pack is perfect for parties, get-togethers and just for yelling at your friends, "You Don't Know Jack!" because your better than them. The four games here made my Halloween party more than just watching a dumb horror movie and a soda tasting. It made it a game show, rap battle, invention off/ drawing contest and made us question our thoughts on clones eating people, which I'm against, but others are not. Get it for your holiday whatever happenings or just to hang out with others.

The Jackbox Party Pack 5 $29.99
on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch™, Windows PC, Mac and Linux, Comcast’s Xfinity X1, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

Game provided by publisher for review purposes.