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The Jackbox Party Pack 2 Review

The Jackbox Party Pack 2 Review

Party game collections don't tend to sell well with hardcore gamers due to them having no friends. Before you write an angry email, stop, I had the same problem, being tasked to review this set of games aimed at groups of people, and nobody to play them with. So, I did the smart, sensible thing, and kidnapped some people off the street so they could play Jackbox's new Party Pack with me. Don't worry; they'll be returned safely, unless they beat me, then they're taking a trip to the glue factory. With that being said, let's get ready to party like it's £18.99... (a bit of a hefty price, but we are getting more than one game here)

If the name “Jackbox” sounds vaguely familiar to you, they're the devs behind the wonderful You Don't Know Jack! comedy/trivia series that was huge in the late 90s, but tapered off through the Bush years before resurfacing on mobile platforms in 2011. Since then, the Jackbox team have diversified, and it's their other projects that make up the bones of their second Party Pack. These games include Fibbage 2, Bidiots, Earwax, Quiplash XL, and, last but not least, Bomb Corp. Accompanied with my new kidnapped friends, I'll be going through each of them, all of which will be getting an unofficial score out of 10 before the final “official” score for the whole game.

Before we look at each game in depth, special consideration has to be paid to the ingenious controls scheme. With the exception of Bomb Corp, the Party Pack games support up to eight players, and having eight bodies crowd around a keyboard would be chaos and lunacy. Handily, and as is becoming a trend in modern gaming, you're supposed to use your mobile phone as a controller, either by connecting to the jackbox.tv website and inputting a game-specific code, or using the app, provided on iOS and Android marketplaces. The clever part of this is that using your phone grants a bit of privacy to you, as other players won't be able to see your answers to the games' questions, because you can keep your phone hidden from sight. It's also a huge plus being able to use your phone as a neo-Buzz controller at no extra cost, so this is a huge win across the board.

Without further ado, let's look at the games.

Fibbage 2


As the title implies, Fibbage 2 is all about lying to your friends. It also implies there's a sequel, but since it's not in the pack, we'll not worry about that. This game is a quiz in nature, and the basic gimmick is this: a question will appear on screen, and your job is to come up with a phony answer that sounds like it could be real. For example: “William Shatner raised $25,000 for Habitat for Humanity by selling his ______”. It's the player's job to fill that blank as convincingly as possible and to fool your friends. Then, once everyone has put their answers in, you must sniff out the real answer. This game is excellent fun, as it allows the player to be creative in coming up with an answer, and also creates hilarity and an uproar when somebody eventually picks a fake answer. Overall, Fibbage 2 is simple but elegant and lends itself perfectly to the party scene.

Score: 8.5/10



Ever wanted to go to a fancy art auction? Of course you haven't, you slob, but Bidiots will give you the option to do that at home. The game is two-fold: first, you will have to draw 'artwork' on your phone of a certain phrase like “cross-examination”, they you have to bid against your fellow players for the rights to each other's artwork. The catch is that they'll have been assigned a hidden and random value, so the game is to bid for the artwork and to stay low in order to make money at the end of the game. For example: you’ll draw a hilarious picture, and the game decides it’s worth $500, but nobody else will know this. The goal is to bid low to ensure you make money off buying your mate’s art. If you run out of the money, you can contact the loan sharks, who are far and away the highlight of this game, coming with their own theme song. As party games go, Bidiots is okay, totally functional, but classic filler, as the basic concept of it leaves a lot to be desired.

Score: 5.5/10



Earwax is the most gimmicky title out of the bunch. Presented by a robot host called M.O.T.H.E.R., you'll be given a silly topic such as “Americans”, or “If Women Ruled the World”, and, being supplied with a handful of sound effects, you have to come up with a combination of two sounds that best describe or summarise the topic at hand. Such sound effects include the sound of a toilet flushing or coins falling onto a table. As such, the humour is harder to create here; this game seemed to drag along uncomfortably as the jokes and ideas put forward didn't really land as the sounds available were pretty limited. Earwax was a nice idea in theory, but it just never materialises as a good game, and as such, my friends and I only played it through once and left it.

Score: 5.0/10

Quiplash XL


Ever played Cards Against Humanity? This is basically Cards Against Humanity, but sicker, as the answers available aren't pre-written. Quiplash XL can be thought of as the opposite to Fibbage, as the game here is to come up with the funniest, most outlandish, or just random answer to a very, very open question. This creates ample opportunity for humour, and brought the house down when I played it with my kidnapping victims. For instance: the question offered up might be “What’s wrong with these kids today?”; it’s up to you to come up with a funny quip in response. How the game is won is like this: everyone puts their answers in, then the best answer is put to a vote. Whoever wins gets the most points for that round, and if that victory is decisive, it's declared a Quiplash, which earns even more points. Although winners and losers are measured here, everyone will come away feeling like a winner due to how funny the game is. Absolutely hilarious from start to finish, may go down well with alcohol.

Score: 9/10

Bomb Corp


The purpose of party games is to have pure, unabashed fun with mates, yet Bomb Corp is probably the perfect game to play if you hate your friends and want to lose them. Being the only game of the pack that is closest to a videogame in form, Bomb Corp is styled on faux-8-bit graphics and puts the player in the role of a new employee of a bomb disposal company, who have had a remarkable trend of their new employees dying on the first day. Yikes. As such, the game tasks you with dismantling bombs by playing with the old movie cliché of cutting the right wires, and to know which wires are the right ones to cut, you must follow cryptic clues that appear on your screen, such as “only cut odd wires”, “do not cut red wires no matter what previous instructions say”, and “instruction one contains a typo, “odd” should have been written as “even””. This would normally be no issue, but what makes Bomb Corp frustrating is that separate instructions will be printed on separate devices, and not everyone can cut the wire, meaning that everyone must work together like they're in a blind man's conga. Unfortunately, this leaves a lot of room for error, and if you don't communicate perfectly, you will mess up. The game works perfectly (the question is, will you and your mates?), and is presented with a lot of humour – the ungrateful bastards that your player character work with will quip about you neutralising bombs faster so they can go out to dinner; as if you just didn't save them from being blown to pieces. Bomb Corp is bound to cause rows, though, and not fun ones. This is the only game of the pack that can be played by yourself, which is definitely more preferable.

Score: 6.5/10

Jackbox's second Party Pack, while not a winner across the board, has more winners than losers. If we think of any party game compilation, you'll be hard pressed to think of any that had games you didn't really play, despite having some awesome titles on there. This offering is much of the same story, and while it has its disappointments in the gimmicky Earwax and Bidiots, Quiplash XL and Fibbage 2 are nearly worth the price of admission alone. I say nearly: £18.99 might be a wee bit steep for a package where two games are potential duds, but your mileage may, of course vary. Still, what is good here is excellent, and should put your party in a fine form, as long as you steer clear of Bomb Corp...

7.00/10 7

The Jackbox Party Pack 2 (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

A fine pack of party games with some true blue winners in the mix. The price may be a wee, tiny bit steep, but come on, can you put a price on hilarity?

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Ben McCurry

Ben McCurry

Mobile Writer

Writes about videogames. Hopelessly incompetent at making his own, he has settled for criticising others people's games instead

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