A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is the latest in a series of downloadable quirky, goofy, silly, and generally irreverent social-gathering video games. This entry in the series features five party games, all of whom feature sarcastic jokes and commentary that can also feature double entendres, although these can be turned off in settings. There are some references to drugs as well, but otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found.
What's it about?
In THE JACKBOX PARTY PACK 3, anywhere between two and eight players compete head-to-head in a variety of quiz, trivia, and party games -- including Quiplash 2, Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, Tee K.O., and Fakin' It. Players will be challenged to come up with the best jokes, the best T-shirt designs, or simply know more than their friends on a number of wide-ranging and far-flung topics. It's intended to be a replacement for a stack of board games or what you would do with your friends when you get together, and the variety of games should keep groups of players laughing for hours.
Is it any good?
This pack of trivia games is entertaining for groups of friends, but it's technical issues keep it from being the best party favor. Perhaps one of the biggest strikes against and ultimately strongest aspects of The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is you cannot play it with random people. You either need to already have a group of people together -- no small task in today's day and age -- or be a streamer with a large audience online. The emphasis in each of the different modes is, above all else, to assure everyone is working together and having a good time. This move makes sense, but it also means if you don't know anyone willing to come hang out, you'll be stuck to coming through internet forums or streamer channels in the hopes of finding other people to play with. Literally, you can't play any of the modes unless you have the bare minimum number of players on hand.
But this is made easier with one key concession: People can play with you on their laptops and phones via a password-protected browser room. Although this proved more inclusive, the game struggled with some iPhone models. In each game-show inspired mode, reloads were needed for each and every question, along with re-logging back into the game room, hoping the browser would load fast enough. It seems to perform best on older iPhones and laptops, but at least there's ample reason to stick with the game despite these crucial hiccups. Popular modes are "trivia murder party" (a quiz show with lots of wrinkles to make sure nobody stays unbeatably ahead of the pack) and "guesspionage" (a quiz show where players take guesses on and bet against one another). "Quiplash" (where players pitch their funniest punchline to a joke set-up), "fakin' it" (a game hinging on players' ability to conceal information), and "tee K.O." (where players make and vote on T-shirt designs) can get less play, but your mileage will vary. Again, it can't be understated the sheer amount of choices and types of games this pack includes. Although the tech issues and rules for each game will throw players, it's still an enjoyable time and a great way to spend an evening with friends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about multiplayer gaming in one location. Why is it in 2017, when playing video games online has never been more popular, a game would come out that's intended primarily for people to play in the same room together? Why would that be?
If trivia is called such because it's "trivial" knowledge, why does it seem to be so popular and important to know so much of it?
- Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Jackbox Games, Inc.
- Release date: May 2, 2017
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Superheroes, History, Horses and Farm Animals, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood, Sexual Themes, Drug Reference, Mild Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.