The Jackbox Party Pack is back with another instalment of unrivalled absurdity, this time delivering five new games to gather around and shout incessantly at. There’s a lot of fresh faces in here – in fact, Quiplash is the only familiar one – and they all bring something new to the series. We spent an entire evening playing Jackbox to bring you this review – and somehow, our very own Mr. Camilleri managed to lose every single game.
Quiplash 3 (3-8 Players)
The third instalment of Quiplash is a welcome addition to the latest Jackbox, and yet still ends up being the weakest game on offer. That’s no fault of Quiplash, more a statement about how great the rest of the games in this Party Pack are. There’s no significant change to the formula – everyone gets a silly prompt they’ll have to respond to as cleverly as possible, and if you’re lucky, there’ll be the absolute bare minimum of dick or Trump jokes.
It’s good to see this one return, and it’s definitely a nice warm-up for the rest of the Pack, but the four other games included are so much fun you probably won’t be spending much time with this one at all.
The Devils and the Details (3-8 Players)
This sets you and your fellow Jackers up as a family of demons from hell doing their very best to fit in amongst human suburbia. This is a real gem in terms of presentation, it’s accompanied by typically quirky animation and some theme – appropriate music. There are multiple “episodes” to play, which offer themed challenge tasks to tackle as a group. This one is all about co-operation – something Jackbox doesn’t necessarily specialise in, but it’s a solid game that quickly devolves into absolute chaos if you have more than 3-4 players.
You win the game as a group by filling the Family Score bar up beyond a certain point, but points are also tallied individually, with the option to perform selfish acts for more individual points. Other players can stop you if they’re quick enough, and doing enough selfish tasks (one that really made me laugh was “stand in the garage and sigh” as a parent) triggers a family emergency that everyone has to pitch in and stop.
It’s a lot of fun, with everyone trying to shout instructions over the hubbub and interrupt selfish actions. The scoring doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense – the players committing selfish actions never came out on top at the end, and I managed to win most rounds by ignoring the group tasks and completing as many individual ones as possible. But it’s fun and very replayable.
Champ’d Up (3-8 Players)
Champ’d Up elevates Jackbox’s long, time honoured tradition of making people draw shitty art on their phones to gladiatorial combat. You’re given a championship you have to draw a contender for – The Champion of Rejected Game Characters, for example – and your opponent will draw an underdog to compete against them with only your stellar artwork and amazingly mature name to go on.
The artwork (the game’s, not yours, probably) and music in this one really makes it stand out. It’s so energetic, which makes a nice change of pace from Jackbox‘s usual slow burn of kitschy elevator music. Champ’d Up is so entertaining even people who usually don’t get on with the drawing games will find something to love about it – you don’t have to be artistic in the least, you just have to be clever and put your point across.
Talking Points (3-8 Players)
Talking Points is without a doubt the best surprise in Jackbox 7. You’re going to give an obviously super well researched and informative talk about a subject you’ve just been handed, and another player will be responsible for lining up your accompanying slideshow. It can feel a little bit daunting – we spent a solid twenty seconds laughing at nothing but the opening slide in our first game – but once everyone gets comfortable with the sheer absurdity, it can produce some genuine hilarity.
What’s great about Talking Points is the focus on improv. You get your presentation subject and think “okay, sure, I can run with this.” Then the first slide hits and you have to derail whatever train of thought you were coasting on to weave the new information into your dialogue. Before you know it, your turn is up, and you’ll probably be lining up slides for someone else.
Assisting is almost as much fun as presenting – you can do your best to find things that fit in well with the presentation, or simply slap the most ridiculous photo up for comedic effect. It does require more active participation to be fun – you have to be ready to put yourself on the spot, but it pays off immensely. Jackbox packs always have that one game everyone goes back to, and I think Talking Points has earned that honour this time.
Blather ‘Round (2-6 players)
This is basically Jackbox’s take on verbal pictionary. You have to describe a place, story or person with an incredibly limited vocabulary. “Glowstick” became “It is a colourful tube. It has the liquid!”, Bikini Bottom from SpongeBob became “It’s a magical place down under!” which lead to an even amount of genital and Australia related guesses. It can be infuriatingly obscure or blindingly obvious after the fact, and the phrase “You’ll kick yourselves” was uttered frequently.
As players make guesses, the presenter can use those guesses to direct them towards the answer. “It’s a lot like SpongeBob,” or “It’s nothing like my penis.” The default time you have to make your guesses is pretty short, so even by Jackbox standards, this feels like a quickfire game. If I had to guess, I’d say that Blather ‘Round is probably going to see a sequel or two in future party packs – it’s quick, you don’t need lots of players to get the most out of it, and trying to describe The Lord of the Rings with only slightly more words than a caveman might use is never getting old.
IT HAS THE LIQUID!
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 Overall Thoughts (Provided by the handsome Mr. Maddox):
Jackbox is back with Party Pack 7, introducing a bunch of new games along with the return of an old favourite in Quiplash 3. During the FULLSYNC games night, we gave each one a run-through, and once again, Jackbox Games have delivered, with what may be the best Party Pack yet. Each game is different and able to keep things fresh enough that you never get bored as you keep going over them again and again. Out of the bunch The Devils and the Details and Blather ‘Round have to be my favourite of the titles being very different from anything Jackbox has given us before.
Although it does help to be with a bunch of people with minds just as weird as my own, because it’s the people you play these games with and their answers and suggestions that really make these party games work. However, some of the games are limited to the number of players you can play with, the maximum being 8 players in some of the games, compared to some in the past that actually allow more to join in.
Anyone left out can still be involved in the audience offering out votes to award points to players, but it’d have been nice to have a game for larger parties in there too. Still, I enjoyed the overall experience, and highly recommend this if you’re wanting to freshen up those family and friends game nights.
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 is developed and published by Jackbox Games. And it is available to play now on PS4, Switch, Xbox One and PC. For more information, head to their official website HERE and check out more of our game reviews HERE.