The Jackbox Party Pack 4 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 05.11.2017 1

Review for The Jackbox Party Pack 4 on Nintendo Switch

The past few years haven't exactly been kind to the party game genre. They are never in abundance but, lately, it feels as though a drought has hit the genre. Mario Party and its knock-offs have slowed their frequency of release, mini-game compilations seldom get much attention, and Mario Kart and Smash Bros. are genre titles that double up as party games. There is one hero who refuses to let the genre fade away, however - The Jackbox Party Pack. Since the series' inception in 2014, Jackbox Games has been continuing You Don't Know Jack's legacy with yearly releases of its compilation-themed follow up. Grab a smartphone, get comfortable, and unwrap The Jackbox Party Pack 4.

Where You Don't Knock Jack focused primarily on trivia, The Jackbox Party Pack has comfortably cemented itself as a compilation of mini-games sporting the same tone and aesthetic of its predecessor. While the series has done relatively well for itself, each entry so far has featured a mixed roster of games with the clear standouts eclipsing the weaker titles added for the sake of differentiating each Party Pack from the last.

It's one of the dangers of establishing a franchise as a yearly one, honestly. While admirable that Jackbox Games doesn't want to release the same pack over and over again, it's clear that some games just aren't getting the right amount of attention to justify their inclusion but, with a yearly release, there is a schedule that must be abided to. Thankfully, The Jackbox Party Pack 4 doesn't suffer the same issues as its precursors, being home to the best selection of games thus far.

Each game in the pack has enough polish and allure to warrant multiple plays. Of course, there are some that stand out as the clear "winners" of the pack, so to speak, but that isn't because the other titles aren't worthwhile; this time around, at least.

Screenshot for The Jackbox Party Pack 4 on Nintendo Switch

Returning after an absence in last year's pack, Fibbage 3 is the trivia game that's just as much about fooling the opposition as it is knowing the answer. Every round, players will be given a question and they will have to add in a lie before the answering phase. If a player picks your lie, you get half the points you would have gotten for answering the question correctly. Because points aren't solely distributed from guessing the right answer, questions end up being obscure and genuinely difficult to answer at times, relying on weeding out the lies to decipher the truth. With no set linear order for what category is placed with each round, every game of Fibbage 3 feels different from the last. It is worth mentioning, however, that while the game can be played with a minimum of two people, it's at its best with a group of four or more.

An offshoot of Fibbage, Fibbage: Enough About You makes its debut appearance in this Party Pack. Instead of answering assorted trivia, players answer questions about themselves and lies are added into the mix to create a more intimate Fibbage experience. Every round, someone will be selected to answer a question about themselves, lies will be added into the mix, and the typical guessing begins. This time around, though, the player who was asked a question also gets reputation points for every person who answers their question correctly. As a whole, it doesn't get as wacky as Fibbage 3, but it's a welcome addition nonetheless.

Screenshot for The Jackbox Party Pack 4 on Nintendo Switch

While every game in the pack features the end goal of winning, Survive the Internet is the game that's, by far, the least focused on outperforming your peers. Players are asked to answer a social media related question so that their answer can then be sent to another player without the context. They are then prompted to write a new prompting question to be associated with the answer in order to make their opponent look as bad as possible. Players vote on whichever coupling they liked best, but the fun comes from writing and reading what everyone else wrote. The more present, the more creative the outcomes become.

Monster Seeking Monster is Jackbox Games' answer to the party game Mafia where partygoers are given a role and must act out that role for each in-game day until they guess who the mafia members are, or they are whacked. Since The Jackbox Party Pack has never been a particularly violent series, however, this focuses on the love life of multiple different monsters. Each contestant is given their role with a specific power and they are sent off to send four messages a night in search of a date. At the end of the night, players must pick who they want to go on a date with based on who they were messaging. Afterwards, the messages will be displayed for everyone's reading pleasure, including who asked who out and whether or not they were rejected. Like Fibbage 3, this works significantly better with more than the required minimum - the ideal, here, being six to eight players.

Screenshot for The Jackbox Party Pack 4 on Nintendo Switch

Out of all the games, Civic Doodle is the one that feels most at home in a smaller setting. Every round, two players are given the basis of an art piece before being tasked with drawing their interpretation of it. Once the drawings are complete, other players in the group vote for which picture was better. Every game has a minimum of three players, but this is the only one where that minimum actually feels appropriate and doesn't detract from the game as a whole.

The final inclusion, Bracketeering, is a tournament where players respond to prompts and have their answers pit against one another. Players then vote on their favorite responses and whichever wins moves on. Unlike the other games, which only need players in less than the double digits to be made the most of, Bracketeering does not live up to its potential without at least 10-12 people involved. It's undoubtedly fun but it's the most hassle-filled one to set up.

Each game has its own identity to distinguish itself and they all serve a unique purpose in the pack. There isn't a single game that stands out as weaker than the others. It is frustrating that smaller parties simply won't be able to take advantage of most of the pack, but streaming does allow for online play even if it isn't the ideal workaround. Out of all the party packs so far, The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is easily the best of the bunch.

Screenshot for The Jackbox Party Pack 4 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

With the exception of Fibbage 3, each game in The Jackbox Party Pack 4 requires a minimum of three people but, the pack's potential isn't fully realised without a substantially larger group. This is a party pack that is sincerely meant for a party. Smaller groups will be able to get enjoyment out of Civic Doodle or Fibbage, but Survive the Internet, Monster Seeking Monster, and Bracketeering, especially, are designed with larger get-togethers in mind. Despite an emphasis on playing with a big group, The Jackbox Party Pack 4 stands out as one of the strongest entries in the series with no discernible weak links in the pack's line-up. Along with continuing the trend of swapping out traditional controllers for smart phones, it's entirely possible to host a game over a stream, negating the need to find 8-16 friends for some local Jackbox shenanigans.

Developer

Jackbox Games

Publisher

Jackbox Games

Genre

Party

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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   

Comments

This looks fantastic.  I only recently got into the Jackbox Packs, and from the sounds of it, this has the best collection of games so far. Also, thank you for elaborating on how to play the games so well.  I feel like Jackbox's short videos on their web site didn't make games like Survive the Internet clear.

How similar is Civic Doodle to say Drawful or Tee KO?

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