Has another year already passed? Short of being a national holiday, Fall is Jackbox Season, and Jackbox Games Inc. brings us the 10th installment of the very popular party game, The Jackbox Party Pack! Let’s throw some respect at Jackbox Games Inc. for releasing ten whole packs of games in nine years. That’s no easy feat! On top of that, almost every release has been excellent, or at least a few key games were the highlights. Just think, nine years of the game that’s been a banger for parties, hangouts, sleepovers, and streams. Then there is this year. This year, The Jackbox Party Pack 10 includes some of the strongest sets of games in any one pack, period.
Overall, this year’s package is a heck of a lot of fun. They go hard right off the bat with a sequel to Tee K.O., they bring us a new way to trivia, and in a series first, Jackbox Games Inc. dips their toes into the rhythm game genre. As with previous reviews, I will individually review each game in this pack.
Tee K.O. 2 (3-8 players)
We return to T-Shirt Island, where the most hardened warriors compete in a deadly fighting tournament. Right away, you’ll notice that time has passed on the island. All the selectable characters from the first games are nowhere to be seen, the only exception being the eye-patch-wearing rabbit, though much older. This time, we’re given a stylized representation of each mascot from the different Jackbox titles. For example, you can choose the owl from Drawful or the Water Cooler from The Job Job. As you play through the game, though, you’ll encounter the older characters as ghosts, so I wonder, is Tee K.O. 2 the first Jackbox game with an actual progressing story? If so, that’s great! The game plays very similar to the first Tee K.O. You’re tasked with drawing three t-shirt designs and as many phrases as you can type. The actual most significant changes come in the form of features while drawing.
You’re given multiple colors of backgrounds, three tools to use, and a color selection for the tools. Your first tool is a standard pen, only in black. The second tool is more like a paintbrush, with a larger footprint on your canvas than the pen. Anything painted with this brush goes underneath the Pen layer, making coloring in your image easier. The third tool is a much-welcomed eraser. Combining these three tools makes for a more robust t-shirt creation suite. You’re still timed when making the designs and phrases, but when time is up on a drawing, it will save it so you can keep editing or submit it. This way, it doesn’t get lost in the void once the timer stops you. Talk about a pain in the previous Tee K.O.! Once all that is completed, it’s time to make the shirts! This time around, you’re given the option of three clothing styles: a T-shirt, a Hoodie, and a Basketball Jersey. Finalize your design, and it’s on to the voting, which is no different than the previous Tee K.O. In round two, though, things have changed. Now, you can create a new drawing, or you can select from any of the drawings that have already been made and continue them. It’s a neat way of seeing everyone’s illustration, even if it isn’t selected for a shirt. Plus, you get the option to edit them further. It’s so neat! You can also order t-shirts with your drawings on them from the Jackbox.tv site.
FixyText (3-8 players)
FixyText is a chaotic oddball. This game can be played with as little as three players, but trust me, you want more than that. In this hectic game, the party is split into groups, and you each type all at once to make the most memorable statement without a delete key. The game is wrapped around the idea of you making the most ridiculous reply to someone’s text message. You’re given a starting reply from which you decide where you will place your cursor. Once the timer starts, you begin typing away at a message. Write whatever you want, but you’re not allowed to delete anything, so the message becomes this giant mess, spelling errors and all. Everything is typed in real-time, so the other group can sit there and laugh hysterically at the chaos being organized on the screen. After the round, the other group votes on the best words, and whoever typed those words gets the points. The highest points at the end win. The game is fun, but it needs a higher threshold of players. The game would shine with the entire eight as having four people all typing at once, possibly in the middle of someone else’s sentence, can create some hilarious moments.
Timejinx (1-8 players)
What would you do if you had a time machine? Jackbox thinks you’d use it to play a high-stakes trivia game. Timejinx slightly differs from past trivia games like the titular Jackbox or Trivia Murder Party. In Timejinx, it’s all about dates; the game will give you a trivia question, and your goal is to pick the corresponding year that the event occurred. The further you are from the date, the more points you earn. The player with the least amount of points at the end wins. There isn’t much to say about Timejinx other than it’s a fun game to play with everyone. The question asked can be rightfully silly and fun, too. One that stood out to me was asking what year the Furby craze happened, and it was hilarious to see everyone’s answers plastered all over the board. Timejinx gives you a range from which to choose, so in this case, it was like 1980 – 2015. The game does give you a bit of that “unsure” feeling you would get from playing last year’s Quixort without the team aspect to it. Even if you know the answer, there’s a little bit of that weight at the bottom of your stomach that’s like, wait, is that the correct date? And when the answer is revealed and everyone cheers or audibly “awwws,” it’s a great time. Timejinx isn’t the best in the pack, but isn’t the worst.
Hypnotorious (4-8 players)
So, about the worst in the pack, Hypnotorious is the last game on the title menu, and up until this game, there were no misses in Party Pack 10. That isn’t to say Hypnotorious is unplayable or not fun, but compared to the others in this party pack, it indeed is the weakest. Hypnotorious is a game about secret roles, where you and others take part in a virtual stage show where your host mesmerizes you and gives you a character to roleplay. In my first game, I was grilled Chicken Leg. Each player is tasked to keep their character secret because the game is about figuring out each other’s identities. The characters will all fit into one of three hidden categories. Your job is to group up with other players you think are part of your category.
The more players that accurately group up together, the more points you earn. The catch is that one player belongs to a group alone, the odd one out, The Outlier. If you want to score big, everyone will want to identify the Outlier, in Among Us style, before it’s too late. But the accusatory fun increases as The Outlier doesn’t know they’re The Outlier! This one has the most rules and steps, unlike the other games in the pack. It’s not very intuitive to hop in and play. This one is a good one after a few plays, but sometimes you don’t have the opportunity to play the game multiple times to understand its entire concept.
During our first playthrough, we weren’t sure if we should tell everyone what our character was. Would it help? We didn’t know. The game provides you with questions, which you’re supposed to answer as your new identity. The problem is, what does that mean in terms of solving the groups? I thought, ‘Well, I’m a chicken leg, so the answer to the question of what would I take into battle seems counterproductive to the goal.” Sure, I could answer something funny, but am I supposed to throw people off my trail or make it easy for them to guess? If it’s to make it easy, why don’t I share my identity? It’s not the best thought-out game, but it was fun after a few playthroughs and understanding the best method to play. But unfortunately, the weakest in the pack.
Dodo Re Mi (1-9 players)
The highlight of the pack was absolutely Dodo Re Mi! A first in Jackbox Party Pack history, we get a rhythm game where your phone is your instrument. You and your flock of cute birds must make music together to escape a hungry jungle plant. Dodo Re Mi contains original songs, and familiar music played in unexpected genres. Like, imagine an EDM version of Flight of the Bumblebee. I don’t think it was EDM, but the mash-up is similar to what you can expect. Each player selects an instrument to play from an assortment. Each instrument is listed by difficulty; the harder ones will earn you more points. Each instrument also has its own number of note highways they use. Like in the 1812 Overture, the canon is listed as easy and only has one note highway. However, the number of highways doesn’t relate precisely to the difficulty; some instruments have fewer highways but more notes, making them more challenging. The game also lists which instruments are the melodies, percussion, etc., giving the players the option to make the songs fun and sound nice during the replay.
Once you pick your instrument, you can hear the different notes it will play on your phone, which is very helpful to the musically inclined. Once you’re in the game, it’s Rock Band or Guitar Hero, whichever you’ve come to know this game by. Circles come flying down the highway, and you must tap them at the right time to earn points. Each tap produces the sound of your instrument, so with everyone in the room listening to the backing track from your T.V., you can make some outstanding, and sometimes hilarious, music together. As I mentioned earlier, this is by far the most fun game in the Party Pack, and that’s saying a lot, as this one even includes the sequel to the next most fun Party Pack game, Tee K.O. Maybe it’s because I love rhythm games, but regardless, the team at Jackbox Games Inc. knocked it out of the park for a style of game they’ve never made before. Games like Fibbage and Drawful have their own stand-alone games outside the Party Packs, and I can easily see Dodo Re Mi getting that same treatment. In fact, I hope they do give it that same treatment, as I’d love to play a more fleshed-out release!
The Jackbox Party Pack 10 is an excellent bundle of games. There are hours of fun to be had here, and you better believe the laughs and finger-pointing accompanying the Party Packs are here, too. With both Tee K.O. and the new Dodo Re Mi included in Jackbox Party Pack 10, you must absolutely include this Party Pack into your game night itineraries!
A PlayStation 5 code was provided in advance by the publisher for review purposes