Jackbox Party Pack 6 review for Xbox One, PS4, Switch

Platform: Xbox One
Also on: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Developer: Jackbox Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-10
Online: No

As I wrote last year, you usually know what you?re getting from the Jackbox Party Packs: a couple of gems, one or two solid games, and one or two games that just never quite seem to come together.

Consequently, arguably the most impressive thing about Jackbox Party Pack 6 is that I don?t think there are any duds in this bunch. That mid-range of solidly okay games may be a little larger than usual, but there?s nothing here that I?ll never want to play again.

I mean, there are some that are a little less great than the others. Push the Button, for example, harks back to Fakin? It in Jackbox Party Pack 3, where a few players are assigned secret roles — in this case, as aliens trying to sabotage a spaceship — and the other players have to try and flush them out. While it sucks if, say, you?re a terrible liar and you can?t convincingly argue your case as to why you?re not really an alien — ahem — it still leads to some fun debates, not to mention a pleasant dose of nervous tension as the clock ticks down and you don?t know if you?ll be able to keep your identity secret or if the puny humans will save themselves.

Likewise, Role Models is a goofy personality test where the fun is more in the journey than the destination. While the end results don?t matter all that much (since some of the resulting personalities are, quite frankly, baffling), there?s still plenty of fun to be had in debating which of your fellow players are which Spice Girl, or which of the Friends friends your friends are.

The biggest surprise for me was that Dictionarium wasn?t my favourite game of the bunch here. It?s a pseudo-word game, where you?re given a fake word and you have to come up with a funny definition. As someone who loves Balderdash, in all its made-up vocabular-ious glory, I was expecting something similar here, but it never quite reached those heights because it focuses too much on single fake words, rather than allowing players to come up with a dictionary?s worth of them. Nonetheless, it still added some interesting new in-jokes a few family dinners, which is always a sign of an enjoyable game.

As solid as those three games are, however, none of them quite compare to the two real gems of Jackbox Party Pack 6: Trivia Murder Party 2 and Joke Boat. The former, of course, is a pretty welcome return of the Saw-influenced trivia game where players must answer increasingly difficult questions or face some grisly consequences, with the whole thing being capped off by an intense sprint to the finish. It may not add much to the original formula, but it still makes for a fun time.

As for Joke Boat, the premise may sound daunting — you have to come up with jokes, building on one-liners given to you by the game — but it almost always led to lots of uproarious laughter. It never felt like it was doing all the work for you, but at the same time, it also never felt like you were entirely on your own, trying to make something from nothing. Even as someone who?s terrible at making up jokes on the spot, it was fun enough that I wanted to keep going back to it again and again.

Mind you, I could say that about pretty much this entire collection. I don?t know if Jackbox Party Pack 6 is the best Jackbox Party Pack yet — but if it?s not, it?s certainly close to it.

Jackbox Games provided us with a Jackbox Party Pack 6 Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: A-