What the Dub?! review: Dub style

by Lars
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What the Dub?! is a party game for up to twelve players from Wide Right Interactive, parading a generous selection of presumably free use movie clips from the not quite golden age of cinema. The game plays a clip, you and your friends/acquaintances/colleagues/fellow cult members fill in the missing dialogue, presumably to hilarious effect.

It’s presented much like a Jackbox game, with a website based room system which makes it delightfully easy to join on any device with a browser. There’s a snarky presenter, although this one sounds like he’s fresh out of old-school Hollywood, throwing around insults and compliments as the games progress. While the bank of clips to dub is quite extensive, the presenter’s dialogue is a little limited – we played about six or seven games in our first session and by the end of it we’d heard all of his lines multiple times.

It’s pretty straightforward, and What the Dub?!’s menu allows you to modify the amount of rounds to play and extend dubbing time, meaning it can be as quickfire or drawn out as you choose. From my experience, the game works best as a quick one – having the extra time to write your dubs can often result in overthinking, and watching the same clip six times in a row is already time-consuming enough as it is. Your mileage may vary, though. At the end of a round, players vote on the funniest clip, and the presenter singles out the shmuck who didn’t get any. The player with the most points wins, but the scaling system as the rounds progress often means the player who wins the last round scoops the lot.

As with most of these games (normally delivered through Jackbox Party Packs) the quality of the time you have with it is largely dependant on the people you play it with. The humour isn’t necessarily baked into the gameplay itself, although some of the old B-movie clips they’ve dredged up for the 300+ selection are laughable snippets of cinematic history naturally suited for comedy. A lot of the time, the laughs come from the way the automated voice tries to pronounce certain words or phrases in a typical digital deadpan tone, and adapting your writing to make the most of that is an interesting challenge by itself.

While there’s plenty of variety in What the Dub?!‘s clip library, the game mode itself can get stale after repeated playthroughs. If you’ve got enough friends to regularly rotate players, it’d probably stay fresh for longer, but with the same group you’ll probably hit your limit with it in a couple of hours. The same group will probably devolve into in-jokes and cheap shots, which is entertaining in small doses but can result in repetition and boredom in longer sessions. Next time we play, we’ll probably set our own rules, like “No admittedly hilarious personal attacks”, or “No use of the word foreskin.” You know, the usual.

What the Dub is going on here?

We really enjoyed What the Dub?! in our time with it – it took a little bit of time to grow on us, but it’s definitely earned a place in our regular game night rotation. It’s just a bit odd having a game like this as a standalone experience, and it really could do with a bit more variety in game modes, because the novelty of the core concept itself doesn’t really sell it as a longer-term party game. The asking price is low, and thanks to the room code system, it’s plenty accessible. I love the way the developers think, though. What the Dub?! is a fantastic idea for a party game, and it has plenty of potential to work with.

It might have some flaws, especially with the potential longevity issues and skewed point-scaling system. For what it is, What the Dub?! is a quality addition to your regular party game line-up, guaranteeing a bunch of good laughs for a low price. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but it is very funny, and sometimes that’s all you need.

What the Dub?! is out today, check out the Steam page here. You can find more of our reviews here – why not join us on Guilded for regular party game nights and (mostly) quality conversation?

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