This has been a doozy of a year for social gatherings and party games. With so many people still needing to isolate themselves, the idea of getting together to play video games like The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is a strange one to wrap your head around. Online multiplayer, remote pass and play, and streaming have become even more important for staying connected. Companies like Jackbox Games have a bit of a headstart requiring only one copy of a game, and for everyone to be able to play using their mobile device. How does Jackbox Party Pack 7 hold up during a time where having 5-8 people over at a time is something that's heavily advised against though?
The first game of the Jackbox Party Pack 7 is Quiplash 3. Like all previous Party Packs, there's always at least one returning game. In Quiplash 3 players get given prompts that they'll need to come up with serious, funny, or crazy answers for. One other player will get given the same prompt as you. The game will go through each prompt and show the two player submitted answers and from there the remaining players can select which one they liked the most. Players earn points when people like their responses, and gain a bonus if everyone is unanimous with their pick. This is a Jackbox Game in its purest form. You fill in the blanks, make your friends laugh, and move on. The only real additions with the new version are a fresh pool of questions.
It's a simple formula but it's one of the best to give a fast variety of setups and gives most of the comedic heavy lifting to the game itself. Sure the player needs to be able to come up with a funny response but nailing even a half funny punchline off the kinds of prompts that the Jackbox Games team has included is pretty easy. It's great for drop-in/out players, and anyone new to playing Jackbox titles. For returning players it's a good chance for a fresh slate of questions, this is especially great to hear for those who have already worked their way through all the previous prompts.
For The Devil and the Details the pure chaos is what makes the game so much fun.
The first of the new games is called The Devil and the Details. In this cooperative Jackbox game, each player will get assigned a different role in a family of devils trying to pass off as humans. To remain inconspicuous each player will need to complete tasks on their phones, some of these tasks require players to work together to complete a common objective. One player might have that they need to make a breakfast of milk, eggs, and cereal but it's another player who has the ability to access the fridge. This game gets hectic fast as you need to complete tasks and achieve a certain amount of points within the timeframe in order to be successful. Players will be calling out information about their own tasks and shouting across the room at others to try to achieve this goal.
For The Devil and the Details, the pure chaos is what makes the game so much fun. Trying to pay attention to your own tasks and also listening out for other instructions can be a challenge and things can be missed very easily. It's certainly the black sheep in the party pack offering a mostly cooperative experience. This cooperative nature also means that everyone has got to be invested in completing a wide variety of tasks given to them. If a player joins and drops, which isn't the most uncommon thing in a Jackbox game then you'll likely have to restart.
The next game of the collection is Champ'd Up, this is a bit of a complicated set up in comparison to the other games. Players will be given a category like "Most Perfect" and they'll need to draw and name a character that would fit the category of most perfect. Once a player has created their competitor then that drawing and name will be given to another player and they'll need to create a character that they think could beat it, but they don't get the category. Once you're finished drawing the two fighters will get pitted against one another. Players will then decide which they think is the victor of the round. This is a game that requires the player to do a lot of the heavy lifting, from drawing and naming your own character, to try to interpret another's drawing and category. There's a lot of points where this game can go wrong.
If the second player doesn't get close to the theme, or a player isn't comfortable drawing (and I mean who is confident on a phone screen...) then each round is a bit of a non-starter. Jokes will be made about bad drawings, but the one who drew correctly for the prompt will earn the points. This reliance of pitting drawings against one another was something Jackbox Games have previously done with Tee KO from Jackbox Party Pack 3 and the same issues that that game suffered this one also suffers from. While it's worth a play once or twice chances are this will be one of the games left to gather dust in the collection.
In Talking Points players will submit three topic ideas, that are all pooled and shared out for players to pick. This will be the topic that they need to give a short presentation on. Someone else in your party will get a selection of photos to add to your speech to assist or throw you off. The better your speech is the more points you'll be able to earn. It's a lot like Patently Stupid, but instead of picking your own product to create a speech about, you'll be making up someone else's idea for a speech. With so much free form improv this game has just as much of a chance to bring about some of the funniest sessions, or could also be the biggest dud. Bad selection of prompts, images, and having an off day can immediately tank your round. Each of the talks that you're required to give is only a minute long and while you don't get to pick what pictures appear you can have some fun writing and drawing on them.
The final game in The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is called Blather 'Round. This title too is quite different from the rest. Players are given prompts that belong to certain categories, you might get the person Tom Hanks, place New York, or story Red Riding Hood. You're then given a series of non-descript words to try to clue in your fellow players. It's a fun mix of verbal Pictionary and Charades. Tom Hanks might be a "very good movie man" or a Tamagotchi could be a "good soft creature." From there the player in charge can keep crafting more sentences as the others guess.
Again the Jackbox Games team has done an impressive job creating another very unique title. This game does a great job of having all players work towards a common goal of finding the solution. Even though points are given out there's no real winners or losers in this game, just having fun flexing your knowledge. For those who might be younger, there are also always easier prompts that are marked as such. This keeps the game accessible to anyone who wants to play.
Having a healthy mix of games like Quiplash 3, where the game sets up the comedy, and Talking Points, where the comedy is player dependent, gives Jackbox Party Pack 7 a good level of diversity and approachability. Newcomer Blather 'Round really sets itself apart from previous entries as a one vs everyone game where it's your goal to all come to the answer. For any player's skill level there is a game that will likely speak to you. No matter how witty you are you'll be able to find the game that falls in line with your abilities. The Jackbox Party Pack 7 stands as one of the strongest, if not most varied, entry into the long-running series of party games.
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 manages to successfully combine five unique and entertaining games into one that is sure to fit any party mood. With great jokes and good levels of playing with and against other players, it's exactly the kind of levity that people are looking out for. Even the weakest game of the pack, Champ'd Up, is one that with a different mindset might become someone else's favorite game. What Party Pack 7 does that's quite interesting though is that you can describe games as adaptations of their previous ones, this adds a level of familiarity with such a large back catalog. The Jackbox Party Pack 7 stands as one of the strongest, if not most varied, entry into the long-running series of party games and those looking for a laugh should surely pick it up.
TechRaptor reviewed The Jackbox Party Pack 7 on Xbox One with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
- Quiplash 3
- Blather 'Round
- Talking Points
- The Devil and the Details
- Champ'd Up