Jackbox Party Pack 9 Review – Five Games on Cloud Nine

    Title: Jackbox Party Pack 9
    Developer: Jackbox Games
    Release Date: October 20, 2022
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Jackbox Games
    Genre: Party Game, Multiplayer

It’s Fall, and you know what time it is, right? So yes, it’s time for the annual release of a new Jackbox Party Pack! And would you look at that–we’re up to 9 now. So let’s see just how much this ninth iteration of the series holds up.

Before we begin, however, it would be unfair to review this alone. In case you didn’t know, the Jackbox series of games have always been pioneers when it comes to setting together game nights because all you need is one copy of the game.

So I got other members of the Noisy Pixel staff, and we all played together. We’ll be listing out each game’s opinions individually. The score is based on the average grades we would give each game separately and then crunching them in an excellent arithmetic average.

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First, let’s start with Fibbage 4…and really, there’s not much to say about it. It’s the good ol’ game that everyone probably remembers from the early Pack 2 or Pack 4 days. You have rather absurd-sounding and very silly trivia facts and the deceptive lies.

Still, there are a good number of nifty question types, such as Cookie’s VHS Vault, where you must find the answer to an old movie, and even a cool little segment titled Fan-Made Question, where real fans of the series share a very outrageous known fact that’s happened to them. So despite this being the “tried-and-true” game of the package, you still have some variety to play.

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Furthermore, you have the return of Enough About You, which is a game where everyone lies about facts with themselves. This mode admittedly only works out best when you have a large group of people because otherwise, it will end in 10 minutes, as the Final Fibbage, where players write one truth and one lie about themselves, is conspicuously absent.

Next, let’s move on to the most hyped-up game of this package, Roomerang. This title sets itself as a sort of reality TV hosted by the unique Rue Meringue. Each player is given a role, and they must play along with their answers accordingly.

After you’ve voted for your favorites, you can choose a player to be eliminated, but really, all that does is dock some points from them, and they’ll return later with a letter of their name changed at random. To quote one of our staff members, this is essentially Quiplash but ten times more colorful and funny.

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But I’m being honest; this is perhaps the most dangerous game for potential streamers. And it’s not because it can also cause drama within the group alarmingly fast, but because when a player gets eliminated, they can type a goodbye message before the game sends them off. This contains a severe blind spot in the moderation tools because you cannot stop what they type. Even after some personal testing, I easily bypass the profanity filter set on the strictest criteria.

Don’t get me wrong; your moderators can still easily block other players’ answers and make them unable to be voted for. Still, it would be nice if there was a way to turn the live typing of the speeches off and turn them into safe-for-stream pre-made answers that a player could, for example, select on their device. Because in the heat of the moment, there’s a chance that they might utter some terms that might get you in trouble with the streaming platforms’ Terms of Service. (Which I’m not going to put here for obvious reasons).

jackbox party pack 9 roomerang

Let’s see, the next one is…ah, Junktopia! This is a charming and clever game where players grab random items from a store and try to come up with some hilarious background stories in hopes of turning back into humans after a deranged wizard turns all players into frogs. Some of the items may be disturbing to look at, and how you can present your items reminds me of the images we’ve had in Talking Points.

That being said, the final round feels hastily cobbled up together. Instead of shopping for new items, the game will ask you to group the items you’ve obtained in the last two rounds and then name said, group.

If you’re playing this for the first time, there’s a high enough chance that you’ll end up with a group that REALLY won’t make any sense pairing together. Still, there are lots of laughs to be had, and with over 400 items, you’ll find no shortage of potential for funny (and disturbing) item descriptors.

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Ready for the (objectively) worst game of the five? Because we’re now going into Nonsensory. Players take on a test by Professor Nanners to find their “powers of Nonsensory Perception.” In a nutshell, this game is fundamentally the “mandatory drawing/writing game” of the package: you’re given a secret number, and the others must guess it depending on your drawing or what you write.

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While the writing segment is fun, the drawing test prompts can get so nonsensical and vague that if you’re not skilled at drawing, you’ll most likely not even be able to make out heads or tails of your given prompt. I mean, draw something between a zombie and a boy band?

The game also oddly explains the Confidence feature on round 2, info that might’ve been better to be said outright at the beginning. I can see this game being fun, but only if your specific group is full of skilled artists who might be able to make out the prompts.

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And finally, we have…Quixort. Another trivia game, but this time, the task is to sort prompts according to various criteria. Such as the order of release of Stephen King’s books or maybe sort Internet challenges by the year they went viral. It’s straightforward but still offers a lot of fun, even if it means your friends might judge you for placing that block way too far.

There’s also a mode titled Quixort Forever, where you’ll constantly get a new prompt, but any mistakes you make crystallize into blocks that make your playing field smaller. The only problem with Quixort is that if you’re with a bad connection, your latency will be the death of you because as the rounds go by, the block falling speed only increases, giving you but seconds to decide where to place it. There’s even a speedrun mode for those who wish to challenge themselves all on their own.

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I enjoyed the Jackbox Party Pack 9, but I still think Pack 8 takes the golden crown, as it had completely original games. But, ah, well, it’s not so bad to have a fan-favorite make a return once in a while. My favorite of all the games was probably Quixort because of its minimalistic art style. Still, I can’t wait for what they have in store for the very-special Jackbox Party Pack 10 next year.

Score:
8/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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