Jackbox Games is back with another selection of Jackbox games in The Jackbox Party Pack 5. If you’ve played the other games in the series, then you have a general idea of what to expect here. For those that haven’t, there are five different minigames that players play via a web browser on any device, though cell phones are generally ideal. This new collection tries some different things but feels a bit too familiar for better or worse.
You Don’t Know Jack, the classic trivia game, is, of course, included here for 1 to 8 players. This time the presentation is themed as if its a streaming service called Binjpipe, which I guess is supposed to be funny. This mode reuses some introduction videos to questions seen in previous titles, and since each question only has one intro, thing get annoyingly repetitive quickly. Also annoying is the announcers across all games, which is practically a given for this series. It doesn’t help that practically none of the humour lands here and is mostly cringy stuff that I can’t find most people finding funny, but that said a lot of people find Big Bang Theory hilarious, so maybe the humour just isn’t for me. As for the trivia, most questions aren’t straight trivia, instead requiring unravelling pop culture references to find answers. Many times I wasn’t familiar with whatever the game was referencing and it just made things confusing. You Don’t Know Jack is just getting tired at this point.
What is wired, however, is Mad Verse City, the standout game in this collection. Players are tasked with providing a word mad lib style which the game then uses to generate a sentence that must then be rhymed with to create a rap. These raps are then recited by giant mechs in rap battles. Each robot has different voices which seem rather fluent at reading what you type, even misspelled words. While a simple mini-game, this is the mode I found myself and my friends wanting to replay the most, but probably because the humour was mostly left up to us.
Split the Room has players trying to create divisive answers to hypothetical questions with the goal being to, as the name implies, split the room 50/50. It’s an alright mini-game and leads to some hilarious and revealing answers. While fun, its nothing to write home about.
Patently Stupid is the drawing mini-game of the collection. Here a problem is presented and players are tasked with drawing a production or invention that can solve it. Players also have to name the invention, give it a tagline, and pitch it. At the end of each round players rate their favourite inventions from best to work, giving each other points. It’s a bit hard to understand at first, but most people should be able to grasp it after the first round. Maybe I’m getting burnt out on these games, but I couldn’t help but feel annoyed at drawing with thick imprecise lines on a rather restriction canvas again. Patently Stupid’s announcers are especially cringy as well, so that doesn’t help matters. If you’re looking for a drawing game, I suggest grabbing Drawful 2 instead of this one.
Lastly is Zeeple Dome, which is a cooperative action game where players slingshot their characters in realtime to kill on-screen enemies. Something new and completely different for the series, and also another miss. The aiming on screen lags behind where you’re aiming on your phone which just doesn’t feel good or intuitive. It’s bad enough that it feels like playing any online game and experiencing lag. Even looking past the clunky controls, this mode just isn’t fun and is easily the weakest game in this mediocre collection. As this can be played solo, there is unlockable content and difficulties, but I frankly couldn’t bare playing more than a couple of rounds.
On the plus side, The Jackbox Party Pack 5 runs smoothly on the Switch, even in handheld mode. Loading times are short, and there I didn’t experience any bugs whatsoever unlike in previous Packs on the Switch. Unfortunately, subtitles are nowhere to be found here, which either makes for a dull time or spares deaf people with the awful jokes, so in a way that could be a positive.
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 is more of the same, if not worse. If you’ve got and like any of the other games in the series and really like the idea of rap battling your friends, then you might consider this one once it goes on sale, but it’s hard to recommend at full price with so much mediocrity.