Having not seen any of my friends in real life for the vast majority of this intensely strange year, I’m thankful that I can play games with them online. Sure, none of them have the silky smooth dulcet tones that I might truly want to have trickling down my earholes – a few tinny microphones doesn’t help – but honestly, any and all digital socialising is absolutely great right now. Anyway, the weird intro about my friend’s voices aside, The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is fantastic.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Jackbox brand and The Jackbox Party Packs, you’re probably aware of some of the games and mini-games that the team have created. They’re the people behind You Don’t Know Jack, Fibbage, Drawful and, most famously, Quiplash, an intensely funny and often messed-up game about seeing who amongst your friends is the funniest/has the best words for turning their personal trauma into making jokes.
They’ve become a staple of many a friend and family gathering over the past decade, with people gathering around a TV as the main screen and then using their phones, tablets, or even computers as a personal screen. Or at least they used to. Alongside the already robust Audience player support for streamers, Jackbox now actively support and give instructions for playing their games remotely via Zoom, Discord, Hangouts, Whereby and you can probably fiddle it to work with other services that let you share a screen. My friends and I can’t be in the same room right now, but we can share a screen via Discord and still have a great time playing a party game like this.
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is another great collection of five irreverent games, including Quiplash 3, The Devils and the Details, Champ’d Up, Talking Points, and Blather ‘Round.
Quiplash is just more Quiplash. You get prompts where you have to fill in a blank word with the funniest possible answer, everyone votes on the answers, and all of your friends beat you because it’s clearly being rigged. The art style throughout the game is really nice though, with a beautiful Claymation aesthetic that I adore. The new prompts are also very good, especially the ones that drags the people playing, and it’s sure to be the biggest draw to this pack for a lot of fans of the series.
The Devils and the Details is a co-op game with a competitive twist. Each of your plays as a member of a rehomed devil family, but while your aim is to complete tasks and try blend in, you also want to try and come out with the highest score. Most of the time you have to work together, but the highest scoring tasks will damage the family score overall. It’s a lot better than I was expecting, and it turns out that one of my friends, in particular, is a selfish bumhole.
Champ’d Up has you drawing creatures based on a prompt and then voting on which one fits the prompt better. I’m in awe of just how funny that ends up being, and this one was my favourite until I tried Talking Points.
Talking Points has you giving a TED talk, of sorts. You start off by creating titles, then you’re given a choice from a pool of three. From there, you each take it in turns to give a presentation based on the title. The thing is, you’ve got an assistant, which is one of the other players. Their role is to help you out by choosing the slides you’ll be using to do your presentation. I can’t tell you the last time I was literally in tears of laughter quite like when playing this. It’s unrivalled in terms of pure absurdity, especially if you and your friends are drama or improv nerds.
Finally, we have Blather ‘Round. In this game, you’re given the task of describing something using a small pool of words given to you and pre-generated sentences. While I wouldn’t say it’s quite as outrageously funny as the others in this pack, it’s still entertaining, and it’s not a bad one if you feel like the energy level has gotten so high that none of you will ever sleep again.