The Jackbox Party Pack 5

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 Game Poster Image
Odd, wacky party game features user-generated content.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Individual games promote social interactions and friendly competitive play among friends and strangers. Players are rewarded for being clever, creative, and knowledgeable.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Host is eager to help players understand rules, is often pretty funny, but his jokes tend to come at the expense of players doing poorly.

Ease of Play

Players simply tap, swipe, or draw as instructed on their mobile device. Success depends on player's knowledge and creativity rather than on skill interacting with the game.

Violence

The mini-game Zeeple Dome involves slinging colorful characters at shadowy aliens, resulting in explosions and enemies disappearing.

Sex

While there's no explicit sex, some trivia questions have sexual themes, such as one where players are asked to decide whether sets of words sound like they could be the name of a male strip club.

Language

Mild language appears occasionally in questions, such as one in which the word "ass" appears several times in reference to song lyrics.

Consumerism

Trivia questions include plenty of pop culture references -- including specific movies, songs, books, and games -- but without intent to act as promotion or advertising.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Jackbox Party Pack 5 is a collection of party games focused on trivia and creativity for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. The primary trivia game has players answer questions about everything from grammar to geography. Others see players trying to come up with imaginative rap lyrics, devising tricky questions that will divide the other players, and drawing pictures of inventions that solve silly problems. While instructions and questions are presented on TV, players -- local or anywhere in the world -- interact with the game by visiting a website on their mobile device. Spectators can watch games online via Twitch. Content produced by the game's designers involves moderate raciness -- expect questions that occasionally reference sexual themes or include mild language, such as "ass," -- but some games allow players to input their own pictures and words, which could result in unexpectedly mature material. But the player running the game is provided options to keep proceedings family friendly. One game involves neither trivia nor drawing, but instead simply has players working together to sling colorful creatures at invading enemies, sometimes resulting in cartoon explosions.

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What's it about?

THE JACKBOX PARTY PACK 5 is a collection of five games designed for two or more players, locally or online, who visit a website on their mobile device to answer questions and draw pictures. The primary mode is You Don't Know Jack, a humor-infused trivia game in which players earn virtual cash by correctly answering questions with diverse subjects ranging from movie musicals to scientific facts while trying to "screw" other players by using game altering power-ups awarded for poor performance. Mad Verse City sees players dueling with each other by coming up with rhyming rap lyrics that others cheer for and eventually vote on. Split the Room tasks players to devise hard choices that others won't agree upon, such as whether to eat something disgusting or suffer an equally unappealing injury. Patently Stupid is about drawing pictures of inventions that solve bizarre problems -- such as how to keep people from thinking about cat tails -- and then coming up with a name and tag line for it before trying to raise funding from fellow players. A fifth activity, Zeeple Dome, is a simple arcade-style game that involves working as a team to fling brightly hued creatures at aliens via a slingshot. Each game provides players with a variety of preferences, including censoring options to keep them clean and the choice to keep play local and private or open it up to other players and audience members on the web via Twitch. A minimum of either two or three players is required to start a game.

Is it any good?

Like most You Don't Know Jack games, this collection of games is at its best when it sticks with what the series is best known for: trivia. The Jackbox Party Pack 5's primary game show-like question and answer mode is loads of fun, with cleverly written questions, cool ways for players to interact with one another, and terrific presentation and hosting. It's a great way for a big group of friends to play together, especially since everyone just uses their own phone to play rather than needing a controller. Three of the other games -- Mad Verse City, Split the Room, and Patently Stupid -- can be entertaining, too, but are more dependent on player interests. Players with no fondness for either drawing or hip-hop, for example, likely won't have much fun with Patently Stupid or Mad Verse City. And while Split the Room can cause some humorously heated debates between players stunned that others would choose one thing over another, it works best among a group of outgoing players, as quieter competitors are likely to be overcome by louder ones.

The one real dud in the mix is Zeeple Dome, which feels like an odd duck simply because it doesn't involve trivia knowledge or any sort of creativity. It's more like a collaborative version of Angry Birds, with players forced to cooperate and ensure they're targeting the proper aliens at the right time. But even if you decide to skip Zeeple Dome entirely, the other four games -- especially You Don't Know Jack -- make The Jackbox Party Pack 5 a good option for people who want a party game that can engage a whole room full of people for a couple of hours at a time. It's not exactly a marvel of innovation, but it's well polished and funny, it delivers plenty of content before repeating, and it has an almost non-existent learning curve. It's an easy recommendation for fans of social and party games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cyberbullying. Online interactions in The Jackbox Party Pack 5 are generally clean and friendly, but what steps would you take if you encountered a player or audience member who began bullying you or your fellow players?

  • How do you benefit when streaming your games for others to see? What does the community of viewers gain by watching you? What responsibilities do all of you share?

Game details

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