A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Games are played in groups (locally and online), encouraging friendly socialization and competitive and cooperative spirit.
Positive Role Models
There aren't really any characters, but the hosts for each game frequently praise and tease players.
Game hosts are both male and female. Players can opt to reduce the frequency of U.S.-centric questions so that the bulk of the content is familiar to a broader array of people.
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Ease of Play
Players simply tap to select answers, type out responses, and draw pictures on their phones. A sense of humor and a bit of luck are more important than knowing obscure trivia and being able to draw well.
Violence & Scariness
One game with a mildly spooky theme includes cartoon monsters and ghosts as well as red markings on characters and objects that could be interpreted as blood. Another casts players as murderers and detectives, with players tasked to draw their own murder weapons.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Certain trivia and poll questions may have suggestive overtones, using candid vocabulary, such as "sex" and "prostitute." An optional family-friendly setting keeps this content from appearing.
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Occasional mild profanity, such as "ass" and "bastard" may appear in narrated questions. An optional family-friendly setting keeps this language from appearing. Players can also turn on a filter that censors strong and offensive language players might write when composing their own questions and content.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Jackbox Party Pack 8 is a party game available for download for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Nintendo Switch. Groups of up to 10 players (each with their own phone or tablet) can play five different games locally or online. Games involve drawing, answering trivia questions, responding to polls, and, in an investigation game, figuring out who murdered who. Some of the curated content may contain mild profanity -- such as the word "ass" -- and mildly suggestive content with words like "sex," but a family-friendly toggle on the main menu keeps iffy material from popping up. Parents should also be aware that some questions reference familiar brands, movies, and singers, but without any intent to promote them.
Is It Any Good?
Whether you're looking for a little family fun, a way to spend an evening with a group of close friends, or need to kick-start a get-together of people who don't really know each other, this could be the ticket. Like other games in the series, The Jackbox Party Pack 8 is designed to be simple enough for just about anyone, gamer or not, to be able to pick up and play in seconds. Instructions are quick and simple, and the fact that everyone uses a touchscreen phone rather than a complicated controller really helps things along. Similarly, these aren't games that favor the smartest or the most artistic in the group. The worse the sketch, the more fun everyone is likely to have giggling over drawings. Even games with a trivia focus -- like The Wheel of Enormous Proportions and Poll Mine -- use knowledge merely as a starting point before moving on to award points for other things, like being able to figure out what everyone else is thinking.
The most intimidating part of the whole experience might simply be the anxiety some players are bound to feel over trying to be funny. After all, the goal of these games isn't really to win, but rather have a good time with friends and make them laugh. But the more you play and observe what strikes your fellow gamers as funny, the more comfortable you're likely to become plying your comedic skills. It'd have been nice to see Telltale take a few more risks here -- Drawful has been around for a while now, even if the animation shtick is new -- but there's no question that this is another fun entry in the series. The Jackbox Party Pack 8 is a safe bet to entertain your next gathering of friends and family, whether it happens to be at your house or over the internet.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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