The Jackbox Party Starter Review

Every year since 2014, Jackbox Games has released a new entry in its Jackbox Party Pack series of party games. The premise is simple : Each Jackbox Party Pack contains 5 or so party games that players can interact with using their phones. Each new Jackbox Party Pack installment comes with a new batch of mini-games, a mix of fresh ideas and sequels to popular titles from previous entries in the series.

However, the latest entry from Jackbox Games is a little different. The Jackbox Party Starter is not a new entry in the Jackbox Party Pack series. Instead, it packs together three popular games from the previous Jackbox Party Pack series, while updating them to meet the standards of the newest entry in the franchise. It’s meant to be an appetizer for people to decide if a Jackbox Party Pack game is something they’re interested in, but all things considered, it might make more sense for someone to play one of the full Jackbox Party Pack games instead.

The Jackbox Party Starter collects Tee K.O. Trivia Murder Party 2 and Quiplash 3 from The Jackbox Party Pack 3, The Jackbox Party 6 and The Jackbox Party Pack 7 respectively. However, it might make more sense to buy The Jackbox Party Pack 3, since it features both Tee K.O. and Quiplash 2, as well as the original Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, and Fakin’ It. At the time of writing, The Jackbox Party Pack 3 retails for $24.99, while the Jackbox Party Starter retails for $19.99, so there seems to be more value to be gained from older games.

jackbox  games Given the existence of Jackbox Party Pack 3, the game selection in The Jackbox Party Starter is a bit of a headache, and it’s hard to imagine who this game is for. Longtime Jackbox Party Pack players may already have access to all of these games, so it’s best to wait for the release of Jackbox Party Pack 9 later this year. Those new to the series interested in these specific games, or just picking another game from the main series at random, are better off buying The Jackbox Party Pack 3, even if it means paying an extra $5 or $10.

That aside, there’s still plenty of content in The Jackbox Party Starter, and it does include some of the funniest games the Jackbox Party Pack has released to date. Not only that, but the game on offer offers three distinct Jackbox Party Pack mini-games for players to try, one focused on drawing, another on making other players laugh, and a third on the trivia theme.

Tee K.O. is a drawing game for Jackbox Party Starter, where the goal is to design graphic tees by mixing and matching player-made drawings and slogans. The various T-shirt designs will then compete against each other in a combat sports-style tournament. With the right crowd, Tee K.O. can be downright hilarious, though it’s one of those party games that requires players to put in work to keep it entertaining.

The same goes for jackbox  preview Quiplash 3, the latest installment in Jackbox Games’ popular Quiplash series. In Quiplash 3, players are prompted and tasked with answering questions or filling in the blanks, after which other players vote for the funniest answer. As with Tee K.O. how much one likes Quiplash 3 may depend on the quality of the team they play with, but its reputation speaks for itself. Quiplash is one of the few independently released mini-games from Jackbox Games, so it’s a testament to its game night success.

Finally, there’s Trivia Murder Party 2, the only minigame in the series that doesn’t try to impress other players and viewers. At its core, Trivia Murder Party 2 is a straight-forward trivia game, with many of the questions being themed in the horror genre, but with a twist. Players who answer incorrectly must play a twisted game, where losing means death and becoming a ghost. Ghost players then have a chance to steal the life force of the surviving players at the end of the game, a race of challenging trivia questions and a race to the finish line.

Those who have played these games in other Jackbox Party Pack games will find that they are functionally identical, although there are some notable differences. The games have been updated so there’s some new content for those who’ve played them extensively, and quality of life improvements have also been made, especially in terms of accessibility. For example, there are more language options than before, and there’s now an in-game button that reads room codes aloud. There’s even a swear word filter now, which is great news for those who like to stream Jackbox games.

These improvements are nice, but they don’t justify anyone buying the same minigame again, and newcomers are arguably better off picking a different entry in the series. There’s nothing wrong with Jackbox Party Starter when it comes to content, but it’s hard to see the appeal since people are better off paying more to get a proper Jackbox Party Pack game with more mini-game options.

Jackbox Party Starter is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Game Rant provided the Xbox Series X code for this review.

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