Holiday seasons can be a time to get around with friends and family and have a blast, or it can be a somewhat awkward time. Whether you're having a good or a bad time Jackbox games can serve as a great social game to pass the time. I've personally been using the Jackbox party games as a way to host a party or liven up a party for eight years now. With The Jackbox Party Pack 9 on the verge of releasing will new entries into the Jackbox party leave the room rolling with laughter or awkwardly side-eyeing one another?
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 brings with it a collection of 5 games. Fibbage 4 is the hook game, the comforting familiarity that you can go into it knowing exactly what you're getting. Players get handed pieces of trivia with a word missing and players can create their own blank to fool their friends and then try to guess the correct answer. Shining a light on just how weird the events of our planet are there are questions about strange marriages, small-town cultural events, and what that bird was covered in that made people not recognize a regular seagull. It has the players mostly engaging with the game allowing even the introverts in the room to get involved and not feel like they're putting themselves out there. Fibbage is a classic like Trivial Pursuit, every updated game with a new set of questions and one or two new features, like fan-submitted video questions, will always be welcome.
Quixort is a trivia game where you'll be dealing with sets of items and be asked to sort them in some kind of order. In an easy round, you might be asked to sort the differently-sided shapes and try to remember where a decagon is in relation to a dodecagon. In the later rounds, the trivia will become far more specific, and even throw in red herrings. When you're trying to sort single named celebrities like Cher and Madonna by their birth year seeing a random name like Daphne appear suddenly has you second-guessing how much you know about pop music and celebrities. This is one of the most 'Trivia' games that has been available in a Jackbox Party Pack for a while. The main mechanic of sorting the pieces in a line like falling tetrominoes gives good time for team discussion and while it might not be as laugh-inducing it's good to see the creators of You Don't Know Jack return to their roots.
A spiritual successor to Patently Stupid is Junktopia, where all players are turned into frogs and given access to random items they need to market and flip. This game is pretty much all on the player as they get to pick an item, give it a name, and then explain what makes the item so special. Based on thumbs up and down reactions from the party the value of the item will be decided. You can have your item presented for you, or choose to present it yourself. The whole game gets turned into a large improv exercise as you try to wow the crowd with your Shell of Sorrow or Gum of Mastication. With three rounds to complete the game the player who has earned the most profit is declared the winner. This game will play well or poorly based on the participants as the players themselves need to do a lot of the heavy lifting. A game like this might not be as frequent a hit but it does a good job of rounding out the available options to play.
Nonsensory challenges players to create solutions to inane questions and to create an answer that would fit along a sliding scale. Instead of asking you "What is the name of a Country Singer who is 50?" you'll be asked "How old is this Country Singer?" You'll be told on the sliding scale where it should fit. While it does complicate the premise somewhat it does allow for each prompt to have more reusability. That Country Singer could be 10, 40, or 90 and it will be met with a wildly different answer, as well as a different interpretation from the rest of the players.
While the answer and response, whether that response is text or a drawn picture, isn't anything new the need to fit it on a sliding scale is a fun additional twist. The players who need to answer will be given your prompt and answer, but then a sliding scale where they need to try to align makes it not a game of deception but seeing how you best line up with the player in question.
In future rounds, the prompts got zanier as we were asked to draw a fusion of a Cat and a Cathedral where the entity in question was 60% Cat and 40% Cathedral. Then we'd need to guess where on that odd and freakish scale the result was. Unlike Junktopia in Nonsensory the game does all the heavy lifting setting up laughs to be had as early as the wild prompts you get, all the way to shouting across the room at each other "How is that 70% a chef, clearly it's more of a tiger!" This is going to be fun for everyone.
The final game of this collection is Roomerang, the Jackbox answer to reality competition shows like Big Brother. Each player is a roommate in a house where a series of events will occur including hearing gossip from one another, sharing personal interests, and more in character. The players who are liked the most are saved from elimination rounds, and routinely players get voted out. Don't worry if you're voted out though as a character who looks a lot like your character will return with a new hat or accessory. Goodbye Duncan, and welcome in Dancan or Dencan to the house. There are a lot of fun roleplay opportunities around the room for those who get in with their character, but the usual prompts also give a lot of time to be creative and get some good jokes in.
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 Review | Verdict
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 shows that even after 9 years of releasing mobile-based party games that the team at Jackbox Games is still coming up with unique iterative spins on previous games while creating brand-new concepts. For a Jackbox Party Pack, this set of games probably has the most well-rounded content. Whether you want the game to do the heavy lifting, want to perform to your heart's extent, are in the mood for drawing, or just want a simple trivia game there's at least one game in this pack that will be loved at your party. If you know that you never want to perform, or are anxious about your drawing skills that immediately makes a few of these games absolute non-starters.
TechRaptor reviewed The Jackbox Party Pack 9 on Xbox with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam and Epic Game Store, iPad, Fire TV, and Amazon Luna.
- Comforting Fibbage
- Well rounded collection
- Improv opportunities
- Might not be for you