Good news for fans of prolonged Discord calls where people share a single screen and talk over each other, and for streamers who are way braver than they should be, because there’s a new Jackbox game out. The Jackbox Party Pack 8 is the latest in the line of party game collections designed entirely to have you and your friends laughing at and with each other.
As with all of the Jackbox Party Packs, there’s five party games included, each player taking part by whipping out their phone and logging in to a web page lobby, following instructions that are given to them by a shared screen. These days, that screen can either be one you’re all gathered round or one that’s being beamed across the internet.
Of the five games, four of are brand-new, each with new absurdities contained within. The new games are Job Job, The Poll Mine, Weapons Drawn, and The Wheel of Enormous Proportions. The final game is Drawful Animate, which is a funky new twist on the classic Drawful that you may have heard of/are deeply in love with. As is often the case, a review of the pack has to be a breakdown of sorts, so let’s get into the sickening heavy riffs.
In Drawful Animate, all players given a prompt and have to draw it. The prompts are either sayings you’ll recognise, or utter nonsense, but either way you have to make something that represents it so that, when presented to the group, they can come up with witty alternative prompts and try to score points. The new twist here is that you actually draw two images, and it works as though you’ve animated them. It’s good fun as always, and while it can be frustrating for those who don’t like drawing, it’s a blast for everyone else. Just give us an undo button, please.
Weapons Drawn has you drawing once again, but this time you’re all potential murders and victims. You have to try and hide a letter taken from your name in each of your murder weapon drawings – gun, sword, guillotine, and so on – before then trying to match a named accomplice to another player in order to commit a murder. With a murder weapon revealed, you all then have to try and find a letter hidden away in the art and accuse someone of being the murderer.
It’s a fun concept, but it’s a difficult game to pick up and play and can feel a little finicky at times. You’re not just given printed letter fonts, but can be handed barely legible cursive letters to hide and find, and the font can change mid-game, making it worthless as a clue.
Words, words, words
The other three games in Jackbox 8 are much wordier. The Wheel of Enormous Proportions is the trivia game this time around. This one has you all answering multiple choice questions to gain wedges to place on a giant wheel. Answering questions correctly nets you points, but so does the wheel landing on one of your wedges in the wheel-spinning round. It’s an odd mix of luck and knowledge, and it’s fun, but the questions are pretty USA-centric as always. Also, getting a huge lead and then losing because the wheel hates you is frustrating.
The Poll Mine is probably my least favourite game in the pack. I like the idea, where the players are split into two groups and then ranking words based on whatever the prompt is. It’s then that you all have to figure out which answers comes in at which spot, and whichever team does worst loses. It’s fun, but just a bit boring compared to the other options.
Job Job, on the other hand, is my favourite by far. It starts off with you all answering icebreaker questions by typing out your answers. From then on, it jumbles up words and phrases and gives them to you to from answers to job interview questions, which are then presented to the group to pick the funniest option. It’s a weird ransom note-esque thing to do, but results in some incredibly funny moments, especially if people make the most of punctuation and give detailed answers. You might want to institute some house rules that you must form whole sentences for the icebreakers, because this can devolve into a jumble of incoherent options.
All-in-all, this is a pretty decent Party Pack. I do think every pack that doesn’t include a Quiplash generally suffers in terms of longevity, but Job Job fills a similar hole for Jackbox Party Pack 8. There’s also more of a focus on the feeling of the group being relevant here, instead of it being about one person excelling at whatever the game demands.