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Xbox One Game Review
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 represents a rib-tickling collection of competitive local multiplayer party games. Like its predecessor, 2014’s The Jackbox Party Pack, everything in this bundle can be played using a phone, tablet or computer as a controller, and only one user needs to own the game for all to participate. In addition, some titles in the pack allow an audience of up to 10,000 spectators to participate and affect each match via online live stream...
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 contains five games, three of which are completely original. Bidiots (3-6 players) is an absurd art auction game where players draw masterpieces on their touchscreens. Earwax (3-8 players) challenges party-goers to match quirky prompts with the best sound effects from their personal stashes. And Bomb Corp. (1-4 players) is a nail-biting competition to try to avoid being exploded into bits.
There are also two updates on previously released games: Fibbage 2 (2-8 players), the sequel to the popular bluffing game, features over 500 questions, more than twice the content found in Fibbage. Quiplash XL (3-8 players) is a supersized bundle of everything from the original Quiplash and the first Quip Pack, plus over 100 entirely new say-anything prompts.
In addition the bundle offers a number of enhancements on its predecessor. Audience play mechanics let spectators play along and even influence the outcomes of certain games, including Fibbage 2, Quiplash XL and Earwax. Many of the games' timers can be customised in order to make it easier for participants to play together remotely on live streams. There is also an optional family filter to ensure that every member of the family can play.
It's been a very long time since I owned a party game for a console. I think the last one I got a lot of use out of was Monopoly on the original Playstation. So I wasn't overly sure how much use this game would get. The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is a fun, very addictive attempt at capturing all the atmosphere of playing a board game with friends. All are easy to pick up and play, although it's probably not a good idea to play Bomb Corp. if anyone playing has had anything to drink.
Bomb Corp. is the only game that you can play on your own, but you can play with up to 4 players. You start your new job at Bomb Corp., where you are tasked with cutting wires on bombs. One false snip and the game's over. You get a list of clues to help you cut the correct wire/s. Playing on your own is slightly easier... as playing with other players you all get a different clue. These are listed as pages from an instruction manual, and it's important to go through the clues from page 1 onwards as some pages will inform you that a previous page involved a typing error). For each bomb, one person is chosen to cut the wires. To shake things up a little there are other quests to complete, like arranging files in a given order... but be warned the filing cabinet is armed to explode if you get it wrong.
Fibbage 2 allows for between 2-8 players. The game is simple. You are given a trivia question and then everyone has to make up an answer to fool the other players. Next the choices are given and if someone chooses your fake answer and/or you pick the correct answer, you win points. At the end of the game, the person with the most points is the winner. There was one game of this we played where two of us actually typed in the correct answer. The game informed us of this and asked us to type in another answer.
Earwax is designed for 3-8 players. This I found the weakest game. You are given a scenario and then from four sound effects you have to chose the two which will result in the funniest combination. You can't hear the sounds until they are displayed to other players. It's mostly luck of the draw as to whether you get a good combination of sounds to chose from. A lot of the time it's almost impossible to create something that's funny. All players must then vote for their favourite.
Quiplash XL is designed for 3-8 players. This is the game that rewards the quick thinker with a sense of humour. You are given a question like: "What should you never do in a supermarket, unless no one is looking?" and then you have to come up with the funniest answer you can think of. In each round each person gets two questions to answer and each question is only asked to two different people. Everyone else can only vote on the funniest/best answers which they were not asked. At the end of the game, the person with the most points wins.
Bidios (3-6 players) is the most complex game - but it's very funny. Basically, for each round everyone is given two subject matters for things they have to draw. These become works of art which will be auctioned in the game. Art experts text you at the start of each round to let you know a vital piece of information that will help you in your bidding. Each player has £3000 and can bid up works of art. When each auction is complete the drawer receives some money and then we are told how much it's actually worth. If you are the winning bidder, you can either make or lose money, depending on whether you paid too much or too little for the drawing. A lot of the pieces of art are deliberately very similar. This is so that you have to really think about the art experts texts. You don't want to accidentally bid for a worthless drawing because you thought it was the expensive one they are looking for. In later levels, each player receives a screw. This can be used once only to force another player of your choosing to place a higher bid. One good use of this is to bid up your own artwork when it comes up for auction and then, when no one else bids against you, force an opponent to raise the bid. Be warned though, as players can only bid as long as they have that much money on them. Every now and then an ad for Predatory Loan appears, giving you the opportunity to take out a financial loan (which will be deducted from your score at the end). The winner is the person with the most money at the end of the game.
The graphics are retro in design, but this isn't a game where beautiful imagery is important. In fact they add a certain charm. Another huge part of the fun of these games is the humorous voices which act as host on each game. They're actually quite funny throughout, and unlike other games of this nature, the host reads every single question as well as providing amusing asides if a player is slow or makes a stupid answer.
These games are perfect for parties. Everyone carries around a mobile phone or tablet, so it's easy to play this on a whim. This is guaranteed to be a winning family game at Christmas, but it's also a game you'll get a kick out of all year round.
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