Jackbox is back yet again with Party Pack 8, here to tickle your tired funny bones once more with five (mostly) original new games. Just like last time, we sessioned them all, and we’ve got a rundown just for you on each and every game. In a shocking twist, Chris actually managed to win most of these, so we decided to stop inviting him altogether.
If – somehow – you’re unfamiliar with Jackbox, they’re packs of quickfire party games that anyone can join (assuming they have a screen and an internet connection). Most of the games revolve around drawing something or answering trivia in unique settings, but somehow the team behind Jackbox are still keeping it fresh.
Much like Jackbox Party Pack 7, the eighth instalment kicks off with its only returning game. Drawful has never been my favourite Jackbox game, and it doesn’t really gain anything from the very basic animation component. You draw two frames of animation based on a silly title. It’s not overly complicated, but this one just doesn’t quite get the flow right – it’s a bit on the slow side which undermines a lot of the comedic potential.
This is probably something you’ll play once and then ignore – it’s an interesting spin on Drawful, but nothing groundbreaking.
This is Jackbox‘s newest trivia game, and it’s fantastic. It’s a game show set on a mystical mountain, where the winner gets the greatest prize of all – the answer to your deepest, most burning questions.
Each player will have to answer a wide variety of trivia questions (although they’re usually more entertainment focused) in a number of ways. The more points you earn, the more wedges you accumulate, and wedges can be slotted into the giant spinning wheel between question rounds to earn even more points.
This is Jackbox 8‘s blockbuster in my opinion. The animation is fantastic, the Wheel is hilarious, and the scoring system is structured so that you can’t just answer all the questions and automatically win. Answering questions correctly gives you a huge advantage, but it’s just as possible to come out of nowhere and win the game with a lucky spin. Everyone gets to spin the wheel inbetween questions, but it can give any player points. Once you’ve scored enough points, you can spin the winner wheel – if it lands on a player, they win the game. If it doesn’t, the game continues until it does.
Don’t let the weird name fool you – it’s one of the best games in Jackbox Party Pack 8, with an almost infinite amount of potential for hilarity. Everybody answers typical interview questions – hopefully as ridiculously as possible – and then you have to assemble your own answer for public approval out of a random selection of those words.
Point bonuses are awarded if you use samples of words from every player, incentivising crafting something truly silly instead of just going for what flows the best. It actually works surprisingly well given how complicated it could end up being – just take a look at the picture above for an idea of what can be done. You can simply tweak answers to make them funnier, or create something entirely new – either way, it’s easy to entertain everyone with Job Job.
If not for The Wheel Of Enormous Proportions, Job Job would easily steal the show as the pack’s best title. Weirdly enough, I’d say that Job Job is probably much more replayable than The Wheel, but the latter’s sense of humour and unpredictability steals the show for me.
The Poll Mine splits your group into teams and tasks you with determining the most popular answers to typically odd questions. This is a little bit of a slower burn than the other games in Jackbox Party Pack 8, but has a lot more long-term playability.
What’s great about The Poll Mine is that it encourages conversation between the group. Everyone will rank a selection of answers to a question, and then teams will take turns deducing the most popular responses. You’ll have to talk and share your thoughts to figure out the answers, but the more you share, the more information the other team gets too.
You could, of course, circumvent the spirit of the game by taking your discussion to a private messaging app. But what kind of unsportsmanlike behaviour is that, eh?
Weapons Drawn is yet another social deduction game where everyone is both a famous detective and a serial killer. At a super-weird party for the wealthy, you’ll kill your opponent’s guests with weapons that you, well, draw. The catch is the drawing has to diguise a letter from your name, and if you don’t cover up your tracks well enough, you might get caught.
Weapons Drawn seems to have a lot of potential but it’s just so slow. The drawing section feels obtuse – you’ve either got a ridiculously easy letter to hide within the prompt or a crazy challenge – and as everyone is getting scored on both murdering and solving everyone else’s murders it just feels a bit too dense.
It might be the sort of game you’d love once you’ve had a few run-throughs, but in my opinion it pales in comparison to the wacky energy of Job Job, or The Poll Mine’s focus on conversation.
Jackbox Party Pack 8 overall thoughts
This pack has three real gems in it. It’s worth picking it up just for Job Job and The Wheel of Enormous Proportions, but The Poll Mine might also be a really decent bonus for the right group. It’s probably fair to say that most Jackbox fans are going to pick up this new entry without even looking at any reviews, and at this point I’d say it’s probably still safe to do that. Despite the sheer number of entries at this point, it’s still a mostly quality experience.
If I had to compare Jackbox Party Pack 8 to the previous instalment, I’d say number 7 comes out on top. Party Pack 7 was really, really strong – and even the weaker games like Quiplash 3 were more entertaining than Drawful Animate or Weapons Drawn. Nevertheless, Jackbox remains the definitive game night title, and you can’t really go anywhere else for the level of accessible, easy fun it has to offer.
The Jackbox Party Pack 8 was developed by Jackbox Games and is available now on your console of choice. Check out their website here for more details!