I feel like I say this every year, but, like clockwork, the excellent team at Jackbox Games are back with their latest collection of madcap mini-games. What has now become tradition at our Halloween parties, is breaking out the latest party pack which always goes down a storm (especially when the drinks are flowing).
Ten is a pretty darn significant number too. It’s a remarkable achievement for the series to reach this anniversary. What’s even more impressive is that despite the widespread turmoil of recent times, they’ve never missed a year. So, what’s in the box this time around with The Jackbox Party Pack 10?
Well, firstly let’s recap how the party packs work for those who have been living under a rock for the last decade. It’s a very social affair, with only one player needing a copy of the game itself. The others just simply login to the website (jackbox.tv) on their phone or other web-enabled device, and they are ready to join the host’s room with the unique code.
Of course, these days it’s even easier to find other players due to the magic of the internet. Jackbox party packs have become popular with streamers, who can get their followers involved effortlessly thanks to an evolution over numerous collections. There are also plenty of spaces (thousands in fact) for audience members who can also contribute to the shenanigans.
The games usually fall into pretty distinct categories such as strategy, drawing and trivia. The Jackbox Party Pack 10 is no different (mostly). This time around the line up consists of: Tee K.O. 2, FixyText, Hypnotorious, Timejinx and Dodo Re Mi. Every game can be played in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish too.
It’s always good to see sequels, and the original Tee K.O. had a killer feature. I’m delighted to say the second game brings back the ability to order real life versions of your in-game creations. That’s right, in Tee K.O. 2 you can once again create T-shirts, as well as hoodies and tank tops too. You can also pick from numerous Jackbox characters for your avatar. My choice had to be the captain from the excellent Joke Boat, which was released way back in The Jackbox Party Pack 6.
This type of game is usually my most feared, as my drawing skills aren’t up to much at all. The game begins with players sketching out their ideas, before moving on to coming up with some catchy slogans. Before long you’re combining the two elements in an effort to create the most popular design. You will also get the opportunity to modify, or even completely wipe clean the creations of other people too.
The most exciting part is when designs are pitted against each other in an attempt to battle it out for supremacy. In a stylish nod to Mortal Kombat, one creation will fall victim to a “shirtality” and be knocked out of the game. Tee K.O. 2 is just as fun the second time around (if a little similar), with the option to order real life garments being as satisfying as ever. What’s also pretty cool is that there are a range of sizes available, running up to 5XL.
Next up is FixyText, a rather different take on humanity’s obsession with group chats. Players are split into two teams, and can all vote on a text chain subject to reply to. After being given a conversation prompt, each team has to reply. However, the snag is that all players need to type simultaneously, which as you can imagine turns into absolute chaos.
You’re counted in, and asked to place your cursor before being let loose on crafting a reply. You can delete, overwrite and even censor (very handy if you’re streaming) the inputs of other players. After this phase, the opposite team is asked to vote on their favourite words, and at the end of all the carnage the player with the most points wins. Perhaps the most hilarious part of FixyText is when each response is read aloud by the emotionless AI.
FixyText provides short, sharp bursts of mayhem. It definitely works with a group of friends, as it’s the perfect setting to circulate in-jokes and even create new ones due to half of each reply ending up as complete gibberish. For streamers, there is a handy moderation mode where text input is not live to foil those nasty internet people that are lurking out there.
Third on the list is the social deduction game, Hypnotorious. These types of games have become a staple in recent years, echoing the boom in the genre across all types of media (have you ever watched The Traitors?)
This time around, each player is given a role to play, and they have to answer prompts whilst in character. Then they need to figure out the identity of three different categories, and which one they belong to.
Players will need to group together too, however there is one outlier who won’t fit in. They need to avoid the accusations and blend in to take the points and likely win the game.
Hypnotorious takes a little while to figure out, but it’s a good laugh once you do. It’s best enjoyed locally due to the need for discussion, but will work over a group voice chat perfectly fine too.
The time travelling trivia game, Timejinx, is the penultimate game in The Jackbox Party Pack 10. This genre tends to be my favourite, with excellent entries such as Trivia Murder Party 2 and the more recent Quixort (which is just stunning). I’m glad to report that Timejinx continues the trend of trivia games being an awful lot of fun.
You’ll be thrown questions and given a range where the real answer lies. However, the trick is to score the lowest number of points, by landing as close to the correct answer as possible. If two players guess the same, a jinx will occur (which is always a satisfying moment).
Between questions there are brilliant little sub-rounds too. For example, you may need to guess which decade an answer belongs to, or fix time by figuring out which answer matches the prompt and then you can stick with, or change your answer if you wish. I flicked the U.S. centric knowledge filter on for this, which made things easier (if only a little). I did find some repeat questions between games however; I’m not sure if I just got unlucky there.
The final round also flips things on its head, by framing the question towards the future, but you need to use the base knowledge to figure it out. For example, you may be asked when a song was released, but to satisfy the question add 1000 years to get the correct answer. Timejinx is an awful lot of fun, and I’m impressed at just how entertaining the Jackbox team makes answering questions in every pack which comes along.
Finally we have Dodo Re Mi, which strikes a rather different chord (if you’ll pardon the pun). This is a game based on music, a first for Jackbox is memory serves me right.
It’s also structured differently as there are no rounds, but instead you and the other players kick off a jam session, playing as many songs as you desire. There are classics, originals and even tunes from other Jackbox games.
Before each song, there will be a range of instruments to choose from, ranging from a classic rock guitar to the hilarious gurgles. The aim is to hit the notes on your device as they come down the track (a little like Guitar Hero). There are instruments that work a little differently too, such as the kazoo. This means you’ll need to slide your finger along your screen to keep the note on track.
Once you’re all done, you can listen back to the medley, and if you perform well enough, avoid being eaten by a carnivorous plant. However, the coolest thing is that Dodo Re Mi will render MP3s of all the songs you have played when you end the session. This means you can download them to keep, if you wish.
Dodo Re Mi is the best Jackbox game I’ve played in years. It’s based around the joy of music, and having fun by trying out all sorts of weird and wonderful instruments. It feels fresh and original too, thanks to it falling outside the usual Jackbox structure. I absolutely adore it.
The Jackbox Party Pack 10 is everything you would expect from Jackbox, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. Personally I found Tee K.O. 2 and FixyText to be the weaker games in this collection, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still great fun. It’s just that I found myself drawn back to Timejinx, Hypnotorious and Dodo Re Mi more often. But overall, fans old and new will be very pleased (once again) with the collection of games on offer here.
The Jackbox Party Pack 10 keeps the hot streak going, whilst celebrating a milestone birthday in style. I tend to say this every year, but this one might just be the best collection yet.