The Jackbox Party Starter Review
Every year since 2014, Jackbox Games has released a new entry in its Jackbox Party Pack party game series. The premise is simple: each Jackbox Party Pack features five or more party games that players interact with using their phones. Each new installment of the Jackbox Party Pack comes with a fresh batch of mini-games to play, with a mix of new ideas and sequels to popular games from previous entries in the series. The latest title from Jackbox Games is a little different, however. The Jackbox Party Starter is not an entirely new entry in the Jackbox Party Pack series. Instead, it brings together three popular games from previous Jackbox Party Pack collections while updating them to meet the standards of the latest entries in the franchise. This is meant to be a kind of appetizer for someone to decide if the Jackbox Party Pack games are something they would be interested in, but all things considered, it probably makes more sense for someone to spring for the one of the full Jackbox Party Pack games instead. The Jackbox Party Starter collects Tee KO, Trivia Murder Party 2, and Quiplash 3 from The Jackbox Party Pack 3, The Jackbox Party 6, and The Jackbox Party Pack 7, respectively. However, it might make more sense for one to buy The Jackbox Party Pack 3 instead, as that features both Tee KO and Quiplash 2, as well as the original Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, and Fakin’ It. At the time of this writing, The Jackbox Party Pack 3 retails for $24.99, while The Jackbox Party Starter is $19.99, so it seems that one can get more value from going with the older game. The selection of games in The Jackbox Party Starter is a bit underwhelming when considering The Jackbox Party Pack 3, and it’s hard to imagine who this game is for. Players of the long-standing Jackbox Party Pack probably already have access to all these games, so it’s better to wait for The Jackbox Party Pack 9’s release later this year. Those new to the series would be better off picking up The Jackbox Party Pack 3 if they’re interested in these particular games or just picking up another main series game at random, even if it means paying $5 or $10 more. That aside, the content in The Jackbox Party Starter is still solid, and it features some of the most entertaining games The Jackbox Party Pack has delivered to date. Not only that, but the games on offer provide three distinct types of Jackbox Party Pack mini-games for players to try out, one focused on drawing, one focused on making other players laugh, and the third with a trivia theme. Tee KO is The Jackbox Party Starter’s drawing game where the goal is to design graphic tees by mixing and matching player-made drawings and slogans. Different t-shirt designs are then pitted against each other in a combat sport-style tournament. With the right group of people, Tee KO can be absolutely hilarious, even though it’s one of those party games that requires players to put in the work to make it entertaining. So is Quiplash 3, which is the latest version of the popular Quiplash series by Jackbox Games. In Quiplash 3, players are given prompts and tasked with answering questions or filling in the blank, with other players then voting on the funniest response. Like Tee KO, one’s enjoyment of Quiplash 3 will likely depend on the quality of the team they play, but its reputation speaks for itself. Quiplash is one of the few mini-games by Jackbox Games to have had a standalone release, so that’s a testament to how well it fits into game nights. And finally, there’s Trivia Murder Party 2, which is the one mini-game in the collection where it’s not about trying to impress other players and audience members. At its core, Trivia Murder Party 2 is a straightforward trivia game, with many of the questions themed after the horror genre, albeit with a twist. Players who get the questions wrong have to play twisted games where losing means dying and becoming a ghost. Ghost players will have the opportunity to steal the life force of the surviving players at the end of the game, which will come as a test of trivia questions and a race to the finish line. Those who have played these games with other Jackbox Party Pack titles will find that they are similar in performance, although there are some differences to note. The games have been updated so there is some new content for those who have played them a lot, and there have also been quality of life improvements, especially when it comes to accessibility features. For example, there are more language options than before, and there is now a button for the game to read the room code aloud. There’s also a profanity filter now, which is great news for those who want to stream Jackbox games. These improvements are nice, but they don’t justify anyone buying the same mini-games again, and newcomers are probably better off going with another entry in the series instead. There’s nothing wrong with the content of The Jackbox Party Starter, but it’s hard to see its appeal when it’s better to spend a little more to get a proper Jackbox Party Pack game with more mini-game options. Jackbox Party Starter is now available for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Today Technology was provided with an Xbox Series X code for this review.