The Jackbox Party Pack 2 (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 15.11.2015

Review for The Jackbox Party Pack 2 on Xbox One

Jackbox Games Inc. is best remembered for its trivia game series You Don't Know Jack, which had a sarcastic sense of humour and emphasis on pop culture. With Jackbox Party Pack, the developer expanded beyond the standard trivia game, which included Fibbage XL, Drawful, Word Spud and Lie Swatter. Each game would have a varying amount of players. With Jackbox Party Pack 2, there are new party games and new features. Does Cubed3 know jack? Find out in this review.

To the uninitiated, Jackbox Party Pack 2's requirement of users with smartphones may be a bit perplexing at first. This game does not use other Xbox One controllers; instead, users must use their own smartphones and log in to the jackbox.tv web zone to interface their mobile device as a controller. This is actually a fairly clever concept to avoid having to purchase many controllers, since most people these days usually own mobile devices, but there are a few concessions that must be mentioned, such as not all browsers are supported and, sadly, portable game devices with browsers like PS Vita or 3DS are not compatible with the website. Jail-broken devices also don't seem to be compatible, and virus protection programs must be turned off, which can cause a great deal of frustration for those kinds of users. When all is finally ready, the games can finally begin.

As with the previous Jackbox Party Pack, this sequel of sorts has five party games: Fibbage 2 (two to eight players), Earwax (three to eight players), Bidiots (three to six players), Quiplash XL (three to eight players) and Bomb Corp (one to four players). All these party games are varying in the amount of how many can participate, but some of them also now have a spectator mode, which can involve some minor participation. This pack is a pretty reasonable collection of party games, and the snarky wit can be pretty refreshing considering it seems like the writers understand the basics of comedy and biting humour. The interface is all pretty easy to understand, overall, and is simple to navigate, so when everyone is ready, the party can finally start.

Earwax is a game where sound effects are chosen as reaction macros to a word or phrase, with one user acting as judge. This game is fairly lame, although it had potential, since some of the sound effects are pretty amusing. Perhaps with the right crowd and enough beverages this game could a bit more exciting, but its novelty wears off after about five minutes. There just isn't much to Earwax- no thought at all; just goofy sound effects.

Screenshot for The Jackbox Party Pack 2 on Xbox One

Next is Bomb Corp., which is also the only party game that can be played alone and is the only title that seems like it could have been made by a lone indie developer and released individually. Bomb Corp., interestingly enough, even has a story mode, which comes as a bit of a shock, since things like story usually break the flow in party games. In the case of this game, that is exactly the case! The premise is centred on diffusing bombs with a countdown to an explosion, and each participant is given very specific rules on engagement of the explosive. Some of these rules can also be arbitrarily contradictory as to make the game require some more thought, but just doesn't seem natural, and only are implemented to make the game more confusing and frustrating.

Bidiots is one of the more interesting experiences, since the game involves some elements of psychology and creativity from each user. The participants will be having bidding wars on drawings that will be made crudely with their respective touch screen on their mobile device. The artists are given some idea of what to draw and each idea has a value to it. The rest comes down to getting suckers to bid on what is essentially horrible art that everyone rushed to make by bluffing the value. Bidiots is a solid game, especially in a group of people who are talented artists and have a sardonic sense of humour, but even if everyone playing can't draw to save their lives, it is still as good.

Quiplash XL is another dud, which is similar to Earwax in that they are limited by who the judge is and don't require any skill or knowledge of anything. There are questions and the contestants must fill in the blank with what is believed to be the funniest context. While some of the questions or phrases can be pretty outrageous, the idea wears thin quickly after the realisation that there is no skill involved.

Finally, there is Fibbage 2, which is easily the headliner of Jackbox Party Pack 2 - a reasonably deep word game that involves filling the blanks with words that are supposed to trick other users into thinking the phrase is true. It can be a great mind game to mess with people and to out-bluff each other, especially for those with extensive vocabularies. The more believable the farce, the more likely it will succeed and fool everyone else. Fibbage 2 is definitely the reason to buy Jackbox Party Pack 2 and is the game in the pack that is best at parties. It has the most potential for psychological warfare and surprise twists.

Screenshot for The Jackbox Party Pack 2 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Jackbox Party Pack 2 is decent value for five party games, even if a few of them are pretty much duds. The inclusion of Fibbage 2 is well worth it, since it is one of the most exciting and mentally straining multiplayer games on the Xbox One. It is unfortunate that there is absolutely no option to use the standard controller at all and everyone must have a mobile device with specific parameters. However, if all these conditions are met, there is a decent amount of enjoyment to get out of Jackbox Party Pack 2 that Granny or even little Timmy and Tammy can enjoy, thanks to a family filter, which limits some of the game's questions from getting too adult. Jackbox Party Pack 2 is a solid party game that pretty much has whatever the party will call for - whether it's the childish noise games of Earwax, or the mind games of Fibbage 2, there is pretty much something here for anyone to enjoy.

Developer

Jackbox Games

Publisher

Jackbox Games

Genre

Party

Players

8

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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