Ready to play another round? The Jackbox Party Pack 2 was not a game that I expected to see so soon. After all, it’s been less than a year since The Jackbox Party Pack was released, and mere months since Quiplash had been made playable. But as the idiom goes, the show must go on. The Jackbox Party Pack 2 brings back the fan-favorite Fibbage, newcomer Quiplash, and three new game modes into this installment of the party-friendly game. How does it hold up?
Here’s what I liked:
Good variety — The second Jackbox Party Pack offers a respectable variety of choices. Very little can replace the fan-favorite Drawful, but other games in the pack attempt to fill the void that’s been left behind. Fibbage’s stranger-than-fiction entertainment and Quiplash’s provide-your-own-humor style comedy creates a solid foundation of fun for Party Pack 2. The new games are less impactful but give alternative means to have fun. The only questionable addition is Bomb Corp., which doesn’t quite fit the party games mold that the rest of the games provide. This addition would have been better off as a standalone release, as it can be played alone and is more difficult with others because of having to communicate clearly to solve logic problems.
Still openly accessible — Having the game be accessible to players using streaming services is still fantastic. Without it, Party Pack 2 would have very limited appeal. This has been said for other Jackbox game titles, but it’s still a nice bonus. Normally, I don’t like giving a free pass on benefits from previous games, but if the alternative limits gameplay to only local environments, then I’d rather praise it and move on with my life.
The more the merrier — Continuing on from the standalone Quiplash game, the audience feature has made a comeback to The Jackbox Party Pack 2 for great effect. Those who are unable to join the first group of players may join in as audience members at any point in the game. Depending on the game type, the audience members can either play along indirectly or influence the scoring process. Anything that allows more people to take part is a welcomed addition.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Technical issues — Jackbox titles are typically launched without any glaring problems. It strikes me as odd that Party Pack 2 comes across as the studio’s least polished project yet. On many occasions, the last spots in games don’t fill up properly; players get funneled into the audience prematurely instead. This is most prevalent in Quiplash XL, but has happened in other game modes like Earwax. At the time of writing, a patch has been released to solve some issues like the Bidiots screw bug that occasionally froze games of Bidiots after a screw attack was used, but more glitches still exist.
Crowd control — Nothing has changed. If an unruly player happens to join the game, there’s still no way to prevent that person from ruining the atmosphere. This was an issue that in The Jackbox Party Pack and other Jackbox Games, so I’m disappointed there hasn’t been anything implemented to quell the rowdy. The family-friendly filter to remove provocative content is a stunted feature if players can get around it with their own provocative content.
Quiplash’s grammar issues — Grammar is not one of my strong points (Editor’s note: Talk about job security), yet I was amazed that some Quiplash prompts had such poor grammar that even I could pick it out. There are some pretty elementary errors that would be caught very quickly if fread out loud. I didn’t find any major issues in the standalone Quiplash, so some of the newer prompts may be the offenders. These grammar issues don’t ruin the experience, but they are an eyesore.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 does exactly what it sets out to do: be an easy-to-join party starter. Although Bomb Corp. felt a bit out of place, The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is well worth the investment for those looking to have a good time with friends. Unfortunately, this game is not something I can recommend to anyone looking for a solo experience, even if Bomb Corp. does partially fill that gap. But Party Pack 2‘s multiplayer more than justifies the price of admission, with my only major gripe being the lack of polish here compared to other Jackbox Games releases. I remain cautiously optimistic that this won’t be a reoccurring issue in the future.
Score: Buy It
Achievement notes: With up to 950 Gamerscore being relatively simple, only the Achievement Bomp Corp.: UFOB/GYN takes considerable effort. Bomb Corp. will remind players of high school homework.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 was developed and published by Jackbox Games on Xbox One. It was released on October 13, 2015 for $24.99. A copy was provided by Jackbox Games for review purposes.