Let’s get this party started.
We’re big fans of Jackbox games here at GameSpew. The long-running Jackbox Party Pack series, close to releasing its ninth instalment, is a staple at any house party we throw. Each one bundles up five very different multiplayer games, generally focused on fun and silliness. Pick up any of the eight Party Packs available, and you’ll probably find at least one or two games that you love. But The Jackbox Party Starter, a smaller cousin of the Party Pack if you will, wants to ensure you love all of the games in the package.
Out now on PC and consoles, The Jackbox Party Starter bundles up three of Jackbox’s most popular games. There’s Quiplash 3, Tee K.O. and Trivia Murder Party 2. These are all games that have featured in previous Jackbox collections, and so The Jackbox Party Starter isn’t to be confused with the next entry in the series. Rather, this is designed to be picked up by people new to Jackbox games; a sort-of introduction to the madness and hilarity that they can offer.
For $20, it offers pretty good value. It’s a third less than Jackbox Party Pack 8, and the games included really are some of Jackbox’s best. If you’ve been tempted by a Jackbox game before but aren’t sure if they’re for you, it’s undoubtedly the place to start.
Perhaps one of the great things about all Jackbox games is that you don’t need multiple controllers to play with. These are games designed to be played with up to eight players at once – sometimes more – and so all each player needs is a mobile phone (or some other type of smart device). Of course, The Jackbox Party Starter is no different. Go to jackbox.tv on your device, type in the room code that appears on screen, and you’re good to go.
Let’s take a better look at the three games included.
The Jackbox Party Starter – Quiplash 3 Review: Fun with Words
Quiplash has always been one of our favourite Jackbox games, and we’re now on the third iteration. Quiplash 3 offers up new prompts and questions, but this is very much the same, hilarious word game it has always been.
Players are given a prompt – whether it be a question or a fill-in-the-blank sentence – and then have a limited amount of time to answer. “In a pinch, this can serve as a life raft” might be your prompt, and it’s now over to you to come up with the silliest, funniest answer. When everyone’s done, you’ll then vote for the best answer, with the winner being the person with the most points.
Quiplash 3, out of all the games on The Jackbox Party Starter, is the one to be taken least seriously – at least in our experience. The sillier (and cruder) your answers are, the more fun you’re going to have. It’s also a game that becomes more enjoyable the more players you have: you need at least three players to start, but get a full house and you’ll have an absolute blast.
Tee K.O. Review: Slogan Shenanigans
Tee K.O. is one of Jackbox’s most random games. But that’s perhaps why we love it so. In this one, players have to design t-shirts. There are two halves to this: first, you’ll jot down as many random slogans as you can think of within a short amount of time. Then, you’ll doodle some random drawings, using your phone screen. Players will then be given a random selection of drawings and slogans – a mixture of their own and other people’s – and they need to pair them up to make a t-shirt.
Once all t-shirts have been designed, it’s time to battle! Two t-shirts go head-to-head, with players voting for their favourite. Eventually, one t-shirt will reign victorious.
Again, being as silly as possible pays off here. Opting for doodles and slogans that make little sense together is typically a winning tactic – as is drawing slightly obscene doodles. Or is that just us?
This one ends up being a rather quick game – you’ll likely be done in 10 minutes or so. But it’s so easy to play and enjoyable that you’ll probably want to jump straight back in for a second, third or fourth round.
Trivia Murder Party 2 Review: Quizzing With a Twist
The most involved of all three games in The Jackbox Party Starter has to be Trivia Murder Party 2. This one doesn’t require its players to be quite so creative; instead, it offers up a twist on a more traditional trivia quiz format. That twist? You’re trapped in a haunted house. By answering questions, you’ll hopefully escape. But get them wrong and you might find yourself facing death in the face.
Questions cover a wide range of topics, although as is fairly typical for Jackbox games, they tend to skew towards an American audience. So you might find questions about US sports, places, foods and more that you’re not familiar with. It hardly matters, though, as it doesn’t stop the fun. And getting a question wrong is when things get interesting. There’s a slew of minigames players will have to face to try and keep their head off the chopping block, like typing challenges, drawing tasks and more.
Unlike the other two games in The Jackbox Party Starter, Trivia Murder Party 2 can be played with just two people. So it’s the perfect game to challenge your significant other with – no house party necessary.
There’s a lot to love about The Jackbox Party Starter, but this isn’t the game to pick up if you’re an existing Jackbox fan. It’s perfect for newcomers, offering three of Jackbox Games’ best titles in one bundle. The downside? You’re probably going to love it, which will make you want to buy more Jackbox Party Pack games, and you’ll end up with duplicate titles. What we really need is a Jackbox ‘Launcher’ app which lets us buy and play the single games we most enjoy. But until then, The Jackbox Party Starter serves as a strong welcome to the franchise.