The Jackbox Party Pack 10 Review
Jackbox Games first grew to popularity in 1995 with their PC trivia game You Don’t Know Jack. They’ve developed tons of party games since then, which have been collected on modern consoles as The Jackbox Party Pack series. The Jackbox Party Pack 10 is now here, and it’s got 5 new games for half the price of a single triple-A release. Is this latest installment worth your time and money? Absolutely.
The way The Jackbox Party Pack games work is the main game is loaded on your console. Every time one of the 5 games in The Jackbox Party Pack 10 is started, a 4-digit room code is provided. Everyone who wants to participate has to have a smartphone. Participants open their smart phone’s web browser, go to jackbox.tv, and enter the room code. It’s a very simple framework that allows casual participants, without prior video game knowledge, to use a familiar device as a controller.
Tee K.O. 2
Tee K.O. 2 is for 3-8 players and takes approximately 20 minutes for one game. The theme is about designing t-shirts. The first step is for players to make three separate illustrations on their phones. Then players write approximately 3 different slogans or catchphrases. The game then gives each player a mix of pictures and slogans from every player. Each player has to choose a combination they like, which is submitted to a mini tournament. Finally, all the players vote on which shirt they like best, until only one winning shirt remains.
Tee K.O. 2 was incredibly fun. I reviewed The Jackbox Party Pack 10 at a family gathering with a wide age range of participants, and everyone loved, and couldn’t get enough of, this game. The interface did a great job of leading everyone through the instructions. And the game design did a great job bringing out everyone’s silliness. The more we played, the more we understood which ideas would work best for our group. Tee K.O. 2 would be worth the price of admission alone.
Time Jinx is for 1-8 players and takes approximately 20 minutes for one game. It’s a time travel-themed trivia game. Players want to earn as few points as possible. A lot of the questions are designed so players have to offer something like a year within a range. Players then don’t have to know exact dates, and are rewarded for more accurate best guesses. Every round has a different format, and the types of questions are so diverse that players of certain generations won’t have distinct advantages. In our group, there were older players who knew their world history better than younger players, but also had no clue about modern pop culture references.
Time Jinx was an incredibly well-put together trivia game. Even though it requires a similar skill set to games like Trivial Pursuit, it has more breadth. The way questions were presented was extremely creative. As someone who loves trivia, I couldn’t get enough of Time Jinx. The Jackbox Party Pack 10 was 2 for 2 at this point in the evening.
Fixy Text is for 3-8 players and takes approximately 15 minutes for one game. It was completely unlike the other two games we’d played from The Jackbox Party Pack 10. It involves pairing players, then giving them a text message everyone can see. Both players have to write new sections of the text, at the same time, without the ability to delete anything. This results in chaotic texts. The players who weren’t writing the text then get to vote on the words in the final text that they like the best. Points are assigned, then the roles reverse, and the former writers get to vote.
Tee K.O. 2 and Time Jinx were games that I could see a lot of people playing for hours. Fixy Text was not that strong of a game, but it provided great variety. If a group’s intent is to just go through The Jackbox Party Pack 10, and play everything, Fixy Text is a fun addition to break things up. As a stand-alone game, Fixy Text isn’t as strong.
Dodo Re Mi
Dodo Re Mi is for 1-9 players and takes approximately 5 minutes for one game. It’s a rhythm game, where everyone in the group has to choose a different instrument for a song. Gameplay involves players tapping their phone screens when instructed. Each instrument has a different set of notes to play, and a different difficulty. A song completes no matter what, then it is played as an attack on a carnivorous plant. If the group performs well enough, the plant is defeated. But there won’t be enough notes to defeat the plant if everyone chooses easier difficulties.
In about 6-8 attempts, our group never defeated the plant. We usually got 80-90% needed damage dealt, but the game really made us work to try and beat that plant. Everyone at our gathering loved Dodo Re Mi, except me. And I think the reason was that I love music rhythm games, and this one was very simple. For people who had never played rhythm games before, it was easy to pick up, and unique. But it lacked depth for someone who loves games like Amplitude, Rock Band, etc. Dodo Re Mi is like Fixy Text in that it doesn’t stand on its own well, but it makes for fantastic variety with the other games in The Jackbox Party Pack 10.
Hynotorious is for 4-8 players and takes approximately 20 minutes for one game. It’s a deception-based game, where everyone is given a secret identity, and is told to share aspects of it with different prompts. For example, we were asked to share something our identity would say in a mirror to itself. Players are told there are two categories of classification, and over a few rounds they have to use their public information to categorize themselves. Then it’s revealed there is an outlier. The way this played out was one person might know that they are a TV character, and think they’re in a TV character group with someone else. But then the game might offer information making the players realize everyone is a TV character, and the two categories are not “TV characters” and something else, but are more like “80s TV characters” and “90s TV characters”.
Hynotorious was so fun and creative. It’s definitely the game that took the longest to get the hang of. But by the end of the first game, everyone wanted to immediately play again. It was incredibly impressive the way the game messed with our assumptions, even when we thought we had the game totally figured out. There was an admirable amount of thought and planning that went into constructing Hynotorious’ scenarios. It’s a game that could be played on its own at a party for hours, and a totally highlight of The Jackbox Party Pack 10.
The Jackbox Party Pack 10 has a clear interface, and a surprising amount of clever humor built into the games, menus, etc. Even the process of creating player names and choosing avatars for each game is fun. Every game has a winner at the end, but I wish there was a way to track the accumulated points throughout the evening, so people throwing parties could integrate prizes or scoreboards easily. The Jackbox Party Pack 10 always keeps things moving, so there’s rarely a chance to record scores. Sometimes it moves a little too fast, and players who are slow to log in with a room code, or type an answer can get left behind. But in general, I liked the timing the game gave for almost everything. There were no moments of everyone having to wait for an old lady searching for words in a Scrabble dictionary.
There were some connectivity issues we had with our phones while playing The Jackbox Party Pack 10. Some of the blame for this was on the users, some on the Wi-Fi, some on the smartphones, but also some on The Jackbox Party Pack itself. If a player’s phone goes dark between taking turn, they can usually just turn their screen back on and play, but sometimes they might have to refresh the jackbox.tv webpage. Savvy smartphone users got the hang of this pretty quickly, but some of the older players never got used to it. My Dad often got no points because he couldn’t figure out what his phone was doing.
We encountered 2 bugs. One in Tee K.O. 2, where someone was drawing on their phone, and it seemed like nothing was registering. Then when they refreshed the website it showed all the scribbles they’d made while showing everyone nothing was showing. And several times during Dodo Re Mi, music stopped coming out of people’s phones, which sucked some of the fun out of playing their instruments. These were minor issues, and half expected from connecting phones to a party game. It’s also worth noting that we only had access to the PS4 version of The Jackbox Party Pack 10, but Jackbox Games has said the PS5 version will be available for launch.
The Jackbox Party Pack 10 contains tons of fun. It’s 5 games for a very reasonable price. Three of the games could be played at parties for hours on their own. The other two added variety to the overall package of games. The Jackbox Party Pack 10 had some smartphone connection issues, but they were minor and easy to fix. This is a must play for anyone with a love for party games. I will be sharing The Jackbox Party Pack 10 at gatherings for years to come.
***PS4 code provided by the publisher***
- All games are incredibly fun
- Variety of games
- Great integration of humor
- Smartphone connection issues
- Occasional bugs
- Not all games are created equal