Also on: PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Developer: Jackbox Games
By the time a series hits ten games, it’s usually well past the point where you can reasonably expect it to be hitting its creative peak. I mean, there are certainly exceptions, but for the most part, by game #10, it’s not uncommon for things to be set in stone.
Then there’s the Jackbox Party Pack series, which delivered its best outing yet last year – and which may just have topped itself again Jackbox Party Pack 10.
That’s not too surprising in and of itself. As our site’s resident Jackbox Party Pack connaisseur, it’s pretty clear that the series has been on an upward trajectory for years. What is surprising, though, is that Jackbox Party Pack 10 features some games that, on the surface, don’t look like they’re going to be all that fun.
Take Dodo Re Mi, for example. It’s a team rhythm game where each player has to tap out instrument parts on their phone. The songs are relatively lengthy, and can include instruments ranging in difficulty (and seriousness) from drums and horns to gargling and screaming. It’s kind of intense, since everyone has to focus on their own part while others around them are doing likewise, but in the end it all comes together nicely.
Similarly, Hypnotorious is a social deduction game – which are always my least favorite Jackbox games. Here, however, it works out surprisingly well. You’re given an identity, and then you have to answer a series of questions based on how that person might answer. For example, I had to answer some questions as Blue from the Eiffel 65 Europop hit “Blue.” All the answers are then shown on the screen, and you have to put your answers in a jar alongside the people who you think got similar prompts (in this case, songs with colours in their names). One of the players will have a prompt from a different category but they won’t know it, and everyone has to guess who the odd person out is. It takes a long time for Jackbox Party Pack 10 to explain the rules, and, like Dodo Re Mi, it’s not the kind of quick action the series is known for, but it works out surprisingly well.
Of course, if you’re in the mood for quick and silly, Jackbox Party Pack 10 still has those kinds of games too. Timejinx is probably the most straightforward trivia game the series has ever had, offering up events and asking players to guess the year in which those events took place. Personally, I loved it, but I can see how players who aren’t as inclined towards trivia might not enjoy it as much. Similarly, Tee-KO 2 represents the only returning game in Jackbox Party Pack 10, and it’s pretty much identical to the first Tee-KO – which is hardly a bad thing, seeing as that’s one of the best Jackbox games of all time.
And then there’s Fixytext coming in somewhere between those two sets of games. You and a teammate are given a text and a response, and you both have to edit the response at the same time. That may sound easy, except you can’t go back and delete anything, and the words move around your cursor if you and your teammate are both typing at the same time (which is to say, that happens for the entire round). The resulting text is, as you could imagine, almost complete and utter gibberish – but at the same time, you create some bits of surrealist hilarity, which is only enhanced by the presence of a robot who reads out what you wrote.
Obviously, not every game is going to be to everyone’s tastes. But, for the second year in a row, Jackbox Party Pack 10 delivers a set of games where everyone is bound like at least one of the games on offer – certainly a far cry from earlier editions where you knew that an entry would have at least one dud.It’s an outstanding collection from top to bottom, and it shows that as the Jackbox series enters its second decade, it’s as strong as ever.
Jackbox Games provided us with a Jackbox Party Pack 10 PC code for review purposes.