The Jackbox Party Pack series went from a fun party series to an institution almost overnight. Before 2020, it was a fun collection of minigames that worked wonders as a social icebreaker. It became a much bigger phenomenon in the isolation phase of the COVID-19 pandemic though, as it proved it could keep friends, family, and co-workers united even from afar. Jackbox Games has only pushed the momentum since then, pumping out annual installments full of comedic potential. Like clockwork, The Jackbox Party Pack 9 continues that streak.
The latest party compilation gives players five new minigames to laugh over: Roomerang, Junktopia, Nonsensory, Quixort, and Fibbage 4. The games range in complexity, with some involving multiple phases and lots of creativity. From what I’ve gotten a chance to try, Jackbox Party Pack 9’s best games are the ones that need the least explanation.
Of the five minigames featured, two particularly stand out. The first is Quixort, which is one of the series’ most intuitive inventions. Here, players are split into two teams and must compete in a sorting competition. A round begins when a team picks a category, choosing either a purposefully confusing prompt or a mystery option. Once selected, teams are given a clear prompt that’ll require them to place different words and phrases in the correct order. It’s structured a bit like a falling block puzzle game, where players take turns dropping a word block in its correct spot on a timeline.
For instance, one team might get Roman numerals as a category, asking them to sort numbers on a timeline from one to 1,000. If XXX appears, for instance, the team will want to place that earlier on the timeline to account for bigger numbers later. The categories can get much more absurd though. During one game, my team had to sort the schedule of a Jackbox Games writer, trying to guess what time of day they ponder their legacy or eat breakfast on a golden table. Quixort seems like one of those “no longer fun once you know the answers” games, but its simple concept, mixed with a blend of trivia and comedy, make it great for newcomers.
Of the new games, I’m most impressed by Nonsensory. The game revolves around a scale that goes from 0% to 100% or one to 10. Players are given different prompts that have them write answers and draw pictures based on how they’d rank on that scale. For instance, a player may be asked to draw a robot disguising itself as a human — but their costume is only 30% effective. Based on the answers, other players have to guess the correct percentage to nab points.
Nonsensory definitely has the most room for creative comedy here. Trying to determine something a French chef would have a 60% chance of saying opens the door for some wacky answers that’ll leave players scratching their heads.
Other games are a bit more complicated, which may make this pack a mixed bag in casual settings. Junktopia, for example, has players buying items from a pawn shop and writing silly backstories for them. Of all the games, it’s the one that seems like it’ll live and die by a player’s ability to spin up a complex joke on the fly. The game show-like Roomerang is even more involved, as players have to roleplay as a specific character and answer questions as them. With multiple rounds, eliminations, and counter-voting strategies, I dread having to explain the rules in the chaos of a party.
While uneven, The Jackbox Party Pack 9 ultimately tips the scales in its favor with Fibbage 4, rounding the package out with a go-to favorite. With three surefire party hits, the latest Jackbox collection is worth picking up for those who have made the series a key part of their social life — though its another installment that might make you want to consider subscribing to Amazon Luna’s monthly Jackbox subscription service that doesn’t require you to buy each game. That way, you’ll feel less guilty if you wind up letting two of the five games here collect dust.
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 launches on October 20 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and Amazon Luna.
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