After testing the waters with a few standalone releases, Jackbox Games has settled into a rhythm of releasing a complication title across multiple platforms yearly since 2014. Each game has contained five separate independent products, some of which were released individually, at a cheaper price point. None of the titles in this year’s game has been released previously, and although Fibbage 3 is the third game in the Fibbage series, the remaining four titles are entirely new and inventive. I’ve found the best way to play the games is with family and friends where everyone shares a similar type of humor.
Since the original release of Fibbage over three years ago, it has become a favorite amongst my close relatives at almost every family gathering. Fibbage 3 alters the formula enough to keep it from growing stale, even adding an entirely new way to play the game. If you have yet to play the series, players are asked to write down a believable lie to a question. Players then vote on which answer is the correct one, with points given to those that guess correctly and for the incorrect answer that other people choose. Since the answers are typed out on your mobile device, misspelling a brand name or phrase is a dead giveaway to avoid your answer. The questions are quite varied, and you may be asked to figure out what Volkswagen sells outside of cars, or what Kris Jenner tweeted about in 2012. Adding new interactivity for live streamers, you can have the audience add their own lies into the game. Obviously, this also works for larger local gatherings, but since the game only supports up to eight players, everyone else is added to the game’s audience. The second game type in Fibbage tasks players with guessing weird facts about each other, such as what would “player a” do on a perfect day or what celebrity's garage sale “player b” would most like to go to.
If you want to twist your friend’s words, you should play a round or two of Survive the Internet. Wrapped in a Windows 3.1 aesthetic, up to eight players initially react to generated questions, but those answers are then sent to another player. The other player must come up with a funny or disturbing headline to twist the original player's comment. At the end of the round, everyone votes on the funniest one. The one that wrote the headline gets plenty of points, but the game does give a tiny bit of points to the person that wrote the initial comment. It’s a great blend of trying to be mean, yet creative at the same time.
The third game that supports a maximum of eight different players is Civic Doodle, replacing the previous drawing game Drawful. Before even starting the game, players are asked to draw on their generic name tags, which instantly show the drawing in-progress on-screen. Your task is to brighten the town’s mural art project. You are given what is a blank canvas, except there will already be a couple of colored lines for you to use as a starting off point. You’ll compete directly against another player, and everyone gets to vote on which one they like the best. Considering art is subjective, which drawing is better is purely up to the group of players. While the two artists are creating their masterpiece, the other players can view the progress on the television or use their phone/tablet to populate the screen in pointless poop, eggplant, and vomit emojis. The next two players continue drawing on the winning selection until you have a fully developed and realized creation. However, both games that were played before this review ended up with someone drawing dark colored lines across the entire canvas during the final drawing round. Civic Doodle culminates with everyone voting on the name of the newly minted piece of art. Other rounds may task everyone with drawing something based on a name or adding certain appendages to an existing sketch.
The only game that supports a double-digit number of players (16 to be specific), Bracketeering, is an easy to understand setup for any sports fan. As the name applies, you’ll vote on two different answers to a explain, with the winning answer moving on to the next round, similar to the structure of NCAA March Madness. Since responses carry on to the following round, you are only asked to create answers once, and then merely bet on the same answers to new questions. Unlike all of the other games, you have the option to change your vote to create a tug-of-war style struggle as you debate which answer should win. Most of the time, everybody knew which answer they liked, and I can’t recall ever changing how I bet. Audience members can join in the fun as well, but once the voting stops, a winner is chosen. Surprisingly enough, the color “gray” was the Cinderella story of the tournament, surviving against the sexual innuendo favorite on the left bracket “my seed.”
That leaves the final and most ambitious game in The Jackbox Party Pack 4, Monster Seeking Monster, a deranged message and dating game where every player has a secret monster identity. As it turns out, it became the most enjoyable game, but not for the reason you think. We set a rule ahead of time for everyone not to use their real name, this way; you can’t tell who is who. Since you are messaging each other in a speed dating situation, you won’t pick your best friend or spouse every time. It does, however, lead to some awkward, but hilarious moments. At the end of the messaging phase, you select who you would like to date, and if both players pick each other, they earn hearts. Depending on what type of monster you are, you may earn, block or steal additional hearts. For example, the serial killer steals two hearts if they date the same person twice. Monster powers are revealed one at a time, based on the top player on the leaderboard that has yet to be revealed.
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 once again shows that innovation can still occur after years of releasing the same type of product. While Fibbage is the only sequel mini-game, the changes included help freshen the experience. The ease of use is the most significant asset to the Jackbox titles, allowing anyone with access to a browser to join the action. While Jackbox Games is undoubtedly going to face some competition in the form of PlayLink titles on PlayStation 4, but the fact you don’t have to download apps ahead of time keeps these games on my must-play list for get-togethers.
Note: The Jackbox Party Pack 4 was reviewed based on a digital PlayStation 4 copy of the game, provided by the publisher.