Monday, October 18, 2021

Jackbox Party Pack 8 Review: Five New Games To Try

By Jonathan Bilski
Over the weekend, friends and I came back together to do what we did more than ever during the pandemic times. Reconnect? No. Delight in each other's progress in life. No. Have a to-the-root chat about ourselves? No. We played Jackbox. Which, is sort of like those things, but telling people to shut up about them, so we can play the f#%king game! We played the brand new pack. And I was surprised, got angry over simple things and just went, 'What is this?,' with prompts from the new Drawful. It was like nothing had changed, except we knew we could go outside and not die, unless hit by a random car.

Jackbox Party Pack 8 has five new games to try and I'm  sharing each one with ya' here.
Drawful: Animate (3-10 players)
You've played Drawful 1 and 2, now how about the third one where you can turn your drawings into animated gifs. How fast did you think someone drew a penis amongst my friends? If you guessed, right away, you'd be right.

It's the same fun and strange Drawful game you've played before where you're given strange prompts-or you can create your own-and you gotta draw them. This time you animate two slides. It works very well as you can see your first slide underneath your first. So, it's easy to redraw what you did and change it to a little animated gif.

This new drawing game is a welcome addition and will have you making fun of or applauding your friends artistic ability. And the game is, as it always has been, very tricky to win at.

Prompts are so random and people can draw so poorly that you might not vote for what's really the correct answer. And I mean that, the people behind the game know how you and your friends think and how lazily you can write on your phones. They can totally mess with you on prompts and how poorly people write them out.

Of course, you can win the game, but you can also get the most likes with funny prompts you put in. So, let's say, if someone, drew a tuna riding a washing machine and you call it "The Best Action Movie I Haven't Seen" or "What Happens To Me When I Get High" you'll earn those likes. It's not always about points.

But it's about points, another new bit is being able to double down once per round on an answer. You can double your score, if you choose the correct prompt for that animation of a deer eating Super Mario.

So many strange art pieces and so many gun dicks. Sigh, the friends we have.

Weapons Drawn (4-8 players)
Oh, did I want this to be a good one? As of playing it very few times, that's a no. I ain't liking this lovely looking Clue inspired deductive reasoning drawing game. It's fairly high concept to explain and kind of a pain to play. You and your friends are detectives and murderers and you're at a fancy party. You've got to kill other players guests, while figuring out whose killing other guests. 
Oh, and it's done by looking for letters in pictures you and other players created that have letters from the name you've put down for yourself in the game. Yeah, I'm kind of amazed they thought this one could work, it's a way too much.

So, I'm Jonathan. So J or O-N-A-T-H-A-N can be put into a drawing and then I have to draw around it and turn it into a weapon. Oy, it gets weirder as the font can change so J can look like this J or this j or this J. Other letters from your name can be used to, to add to the confusion. I'm not sure if my friends and I were doing it right and we think with more players, we had four at the time, we might enjoy it more. It did take us a while to get into Push The Button from Pack 6.

For right now, I can only admire the lovely Clue-themed style of the game, but looks aren't everything when it comes to online games with friends.

The Wheel of Enormous Proportions (2-8 players)

Possibly the new fav from this pack and it is a trivia game. A glorious game a that. Because, it's the WHEEL OF ENORMOUS PROPORTIONS! Just emulating its host. And this sentient wheel doesn't come off as a jerk. This wonder wheel asks you, to ask it, a question, before each game and if you win, the wheel will answer it. And you do spin the wheel on your phone and friends will use "Spin, right round, like a record," all the time!
You answer the wheel's' trivia until a player accumulates 20,000 points. More than one person can do so in a game and until someone spins their name -in a special round-the game goes on.

This trivia challenge is different that previous Jackbox trivia games as you usually have to tap multiple answers, tap two matching subjects, write-in and other more involved game-play other than just choosing A, B, or C. (Careful, those letters might be weapons. Call back to Weapons Drawn!)

After three questions are asked, folks spin the living wheel. During this point collecting points you're also getting slices for most correct answers. So, try your best, because more slices on the wheel, means an arrow can point to you and you can get more points. Don't forget to try and get the POWER SLICE! Available at the end of each round.

This trivia game feels very much like a game show and having the host be the wheel is a nice touch of absurd fun. Having a nice Pat Sajak-like or friendly personality was a good fit. I loved the look of little characters your friends and you embody during gameplay and the sound effects they were given when they win. It's cute and more family-friendly than the more well known You Don't Know Jack series that has been the companies main-stay for so long.

Be sure to see what the wheel is snacking on in-between rounds. So far, it looks like he likes chips and ice cream.

The Poll Mine (2-10 players)
Only you and your friends can be this opinionated. You have to be for this one. The game separates you into two teams. You're both trying to get out of the same mine. Sadly, for some reason, you can't all work together. However, you all have to voice your opinions on varying subjects. Then, you have to guess what everyone's opinions were. It's one where knowing other players will give you a better idea of what they chose.

The game changes it up a little bit by making guesses of who chose "Where's a better place to live? Or

'What Sounds Better?", in different orders like, what came in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place or last to first.

Visually, it looks like a storybook and you want to see if your character will make it out of the mine. 
Another great concept that let's people get into discussions over what others think of one another. Opinions vary, so unless you and the people you know all think a like, it should be fun to see what order for "What makes me feel the prettiest?" might be.

Job Job (3-10 players)
Many Americans are unhappy with the unfair wages and minimal benefits companies provide as many retail and service jobs are finding it hard to fill positions. This game has nothing to do with that, it is about finding work from an anthropomorphic water cooler. This cartoon water cooler with an office of living office equipment needs to fill a position and only one player can get it. That and their starting salary is dependent at how well they do at taking other people's words and using them to answers questions.

Job Job is a word jumble game where you have to find the right thing to say from other player's answers to questions. You'll take what other players wrote down for let's say, "What do you do when the printer is broken?", and sort them out into...maybe, an answer that makes sense. Then those playing on whose best fits.

It's a fun ice-breaker game of the five. Easy to get into. Easy to screw up. Perfect to read some horrible, horrible things your friends put down that they wouldn't normally do, but they'll write down anyway.

Yet again, great game that looks cartoony and when you get a SYNERGY, you know you're having fun.
You can turn what you write into a t-shirt from Job Job. Maybe, causing lots of questions to be asked.

Like games before in the packs, everything you do can be shared on Twitter or other media after the game from the device your using. They show off scores and what you might have animated. So, people know you got the Job Job or made fun of Moby and his vegan restaurant in animated gif form.

As of writing this, a little unhappy it doesn't come with Steam cards or any unlockables on Steam. Also, for whatever reason, I can't get to the after play posts on my Android phone in Firefox. So, I can't share funny quips from the game on Twitter or just share to other media easily. N one else seemed to have that trouble from those I was playing with.

This is a great new pack perfect for all the holidays we've got approaching or just something to do online during the weekend with your friends who still can't meet up in person. I'll be playing it on Halloween and many more times after that. Hopefully, this weekend! Grab the new pack and demand Steam cards. 

Jackbox Party Pack 8 is out now on PS5, PS4, XSX|S, X1, Switch, and PC/Mac/Linux for $29.99.

 Game provided by publisher for review purposes.