In our household, Jackbox games are an absolute staple of any gathering of friends and family.
No party is complete without several rowdy rounds of Quiplash, Fibbage or any of the other games from the Jackbox Party Pack. Now, the series’ flagship drawing game, Drawful, has re-emerged with a sequel and a standalone release.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Drawful and how the Jackbox Party Pack games work, you use your mobile phone (or tablet) to connect to the Jackbox servers. That means any number of people can play without the need for multiple console controllers. In the case of Drawful, each player is sent a drawing prompt to their phone, they draw it and the rest of the room tries to guess what they’ve drawn. So far so Pictionary, right? However, where Pictionary will likely ask you to draw something fairly simple like “Great Britain” or “Four Weddings and a Funeral“, Drawful likes to be a bit more obtuse. Prompts such as “Muppet bank robbery” or “sentient tablet” are pretty run of the mill, and unless you’re some kind of budding Banksy, there’s no way you’re going to be able to draw them.
But not being able to draw them is kind of the whole point. If your friends can guess what your drawing is straight away, that takes out half of the fun. Once you’ve finished your “masterpiece”, it’s displayed on your TV for all to see (and most likely, guffaw at). All other players then have to make a guess on their devices, and once everyone’s taken a stab in the dark, the ridiculous suggestions are shown along with the correct answer for everyone to choose between. The “artiste” gets points if people guess correctly, but if someone else’s suggestion fools another player into thinking theirs was the actual prompt, then they’ll bag points for themselves. If you’re playing to win then, you need to throw people off the scent by inputting convincing guesses.
Drawful 2 is, basically, more or less the same as the first, with a few more bells and whistles attached. There’s more crazy prompts – if anything, this time they’re even more obscure and off the wall. When it comes to drawing, you now have two colours to choose between to make your creations even more amazing/dreadful than before, but for a standard game, everything is more or less exactly the same as it was in Drawful. That’s not a bad thing; as I always like to say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Drawful 2 has one key difference over its predecessor however: the ability to make your own episodes. If you’re in a party mood and just want to dive straight in, it’s likely too much hassle and would be much easier just to hit the “play” button straight away, but if you have a bit of time on your hands – or think ahead to prepare in advance – the custom episodes option could lead to a lot of fun. Here, you can input your own drawing prompts so you could personalise the game for those who are playing it. We could, for example, ask our friends to draw their artistic impressions of GameSpew, or perhaps you could be a little cruder and prompt friends to draw something to the effect of “Dave’s smelly farts”. Sure, it takes a little more setting up, but it’s a nice option to add a little more fun to an already riotous game.
There’s also a few other small improvements, such as a revamped “likes” screen, displaying which drawings got the most likes whilst playing. After the game has finished, you’re also privy to an online gallery on your phone, showing you all of the images that have been drawn. From there you can save or Tweet them to share with the world. Not exactly groundbreaking additions, but it’s a nice touch.
However, as already seasoned Drawful players, when testing this with friends, we all found that the drawing part didn’t seem to be as easy as it was on the first game. The input box seemed a little smaller and less responsive; it was harder to be accurate – leading to even more terrible drawings than before! Granted, it meant that some guesses were even more ridiculous (confusing a pair of wings with a stiletto shoe, for example) but it’s nice to at least be able to try make your image as legible as possible.
I’m also not sure that there’s enough content to warrant buying Drawful 2 as a standalone purchase. If you absolutely loved the original Drawful in the first Jackbox Party Pack, then Drawful 2 makes sense: more prompts for all-new gameplay and the option to create your own games is a worthy upgrade. However, if you’re new to Drawful and the world of Jackbox altogether, then I’d hasten you instead buy the Party Pack for more variety. Still, Drawful 2 offers potential hilarity unrivalled by most other party games (apart from other Jackbox titles, of course), so if you’re looking for something a little bit silly to play with friends, you can’t go far wrong.