I don’t usually do Top X lists, but well, I’m something of a Jackbox player myself. With almost 50 streamed games of the series and counting, I thought I’d share some Opinions™. Deciding which game to pick up first can be a bit tricky, especially since they’re all priced about the same. Ready those Comment-Phasers below and let me know your hot takes!
I am rating these from a Streamer’s perspective so unstreamable games will not be treated gently. Note the (few) non-streamable games can be quite fun in local multiplayer. Each Pack has 5 different games, but I’m rating on the overall quality of the full set.
Now on to the rankings.
Jackbox Party Pack 10 #10
I feel mean tossing this one as the worst Jackbox Party Pack yet, but I think it’s quite arguably apt. I very much hope an update proves me wrong eventually, but a few of the games seem simply unfixable.
First let’s be clear: Tee KO 2 is one of the best Jackbox games ever. It is a perfect sequel that more or less fixes every individual complaint I ever had about Tee KO2. The only bad thing, ONLY, is that it’s still slightly up to your friends to not totally blow it when entering slogans or more often, images. But the second round gives you almost total creative control, so even then you’re not completely doomed to unfunniness.
TimeJinx is a perfectly serviceable Trivia game, it’s greatest sin being that half the runtime is dedicated to guessing (near) exact dates. If route-memorizing historical dates is your thing, this might actually be the best game yet, but otherwise it’s a slightly sub par trivia game, and trivia is already my least favorite part of the packs.
Now let’s get mean, because the remaining games are disasters. I actually refunded this pack live on stream in a first ever for me, I had to ask the stream how to refund on steam. The best remaining game is FixyText, which has a good idea but it really doesn’t work well. Lag often eats inputs and the decision to have half the players typing at once is questionable at best. The results are mostly text spam and half-jokes, and the scoring system encourages simply spamming funny words. After JobJob I’m quite disappointed in this one. It’s a damn shame because the visual aesthetic is fantastic.
Dodo Re Mi is a decent game that has no business being in a Jackbox game. It’s literally guitar hero with Jackbox and royalty-free music. It’s unplayable with a mouse (tracks often have 2 notes going at once), awkward on a keyboard and laggy remotely. It has lag controls and it doesn’t play horrifically on mobile, but it’s just not what people gather to play Jackbox for. Just play Clone Hero.
Finally, Hypnotorious, despite the decent name and art style, is pretty meh. It’s a deduction based game that you’re sure to play wrong the first time or two, and one of those games that if you stream the game with new people every time, you’ll probably never play a “proper” round due to the confusion. You’re sort of meant to role-play a given trait and you have to sort yourselves into 3 categories that are not directly revealed. It’s an interesting, chaotic idea for a game show but just isn’t very fun to play.
All in all, you’re paying $35 for Tee KO 2 and a bunch of stuff you’re probably not going to play. The only way this game beats Pack 1 if we don’t excuse the Stream-Unfriendliness of Pack 1.
Jackbox Party Pack 9 #?
Full review coming later.
Jackbox Party Pack 1 #8
The first in a video game series will often be either the best or the worst in the series. Jackbox 1 is by no means bad but ends up last on the list simply because the best games here are done later and better (Fibbage 2 & 3, Drawful 2). If you’re streaming, this is the only game with NO streaming features in mind. Half of the pack is simply unplayable with almost any stream delay at all.
You Don’t Know Jack is classic trivia, though the format isn’t my favorite compared to Trivia Murder Party or Fibbage. Word Spud is just a mess. Lie Swatter is notable for its insane player cap, but otherwise, it’s like a simpler, less good Fibbage. Fibbage XL and Drawful as mentioned are great but out-shined by later packs.
It’s a bit of a shame to put the OG at the bottom of the ranking like this, but especially if you’re streaming, or if you own any other Jackbox packs at all, the original Jackbox Party Pack is unfortunately forgettable. But you can’t deny Drawful and Fibbage are great.
Jackbox Party Pack 3 #7
Similar to Pack 1, Pack 3 has plenty of great games that are just outshined elsewhere, as well as some half-baked ideas.
Fakin’ It is unfortunately literally impossible to play over Stream, making it an instant zero for me. Guesspionage is an okay ‘polling’ based game but not too memorable. The best games in the pack are Trivia Murder Party and Quiplash 2, which later iterations outperform. Especially due to Quiplash 2’s awful final round.
And then there’s Tee KO, which you’ll either love or hate. Personally, I’m in between, it’s one of those games that is extremely frustrating unless everyone is putting in equal amounts of effort, and that is very rare as it’s a drawing game. If everyone tries to make a drawing that isn’t squiggles and puts good slogans, it’s a blast. In my experience, I always do my best to draw something good, get an awful squiggle, then someone else wins the game using my shirt design and slogan after I get 0 votes.
Important to point out—being one of the worst Jackbox games doesn’t mean it’s a bad game! 3 is just easily out-done by more refined, later editions. Even its best game, Tee-KO, has a remaster in the Party Starter.
Special Mention: Party Starter
The Jackbox Party Starter is an odd one. It’s not quite a Pack, having 3 games from OTHER packs, so I won’t give a number to it. The problem with the Party Starter is while it has 3 of the best games, despite the Steam description it does not improve the originals very much.
Actually, after playing it for over an hour, I couldn’t find ANY difference at all to the original games other than it has the Jackbox 8 settings menu. I assume Quiplash and Trivia have more prompts but I haven’t worn out the original sets yet.
But if you’ve NEVER played Jackbox…well, I’d still say buy Jackbox 4 over Party Starter. A rare miss from Jackbox games.
Jackbox Party Pack 2 #6
Make no mistake, Pack 2 is great and it’d rank much higher on this list if Quiplash and Fibbage didn’t have better versions available in high-quality packs. Like Pack 1, its greatest flaws are being old, and being so good its best ideas were iterated on.
Bomb Corp is very meh and has the lowest player cap in the series (Mr. Jackbox, if you’re reading this—streamers need 16-32 players if possible!!). Bidiots is an underrated drawing game with an exciting deduction aspect to it, but it’s also pretty confusing for new players. Earwax is hilarious though audience participation is extremely limited. Fibbage 2 and Quiplash are legendary, though both have later, better versions in future packs.
Jackbox Party Pack 5 #5
Much like its game Split The Room, Pack 5 is an extremely mixed bag to me. Nothing here is extremely bad, but they’re very dependent on how you’re playing and who you’re playing with. And really, it’s mostly down to whether you consider Mad Verse City the best or most frustrating game in the series.
Zeeple Dome only works with local multiplayer, and while it’s an interesting action combat game, it is a very bizarre addition to a Jackbox Pack. Split The Room is fun, and You Don’t Know Jack Full Stream is for better or worse what you’d expect from trivia but nothing special. Patently Stupid is the drawing game this time and something like Talking Points. You need bold people willing to present their fake product, making this another one that falls victim to people who don’t care/are too shy to play the game right.
Mad Verse City, like Tee KO before it, is a game I should love and one which many people DO love, but oh my god. It is such a unique pain to try and rhyme and maintain some semblance of meter and then more than half of people just put uneven, non-rhyming word salads as their answer (even after being specifically told not to play if they’re not going to rhyme). You’re going to need to be extremely strict or have friends who care about the game to have anything but a frustrating time. Consistently about 3-4 players even try to play this game out of 8 on my streams, which is why I don’t stream it anymore.
Jackbox Party Pack 8 #4
It’s hard to rank Pack 8 because while JobJob is one of my absolute favorites, most of the rest of the pack is…uneven. Every game has a noticeable bit of missed potential.
Weapons Drawn is a really neat social deduction game with drawing and elements. It’s also extremely complicated compared to your average Jackbox game (basically 3 of them in one), and the final rounds are so extremely short that even a couple of seconds of stream delay can render them unplayable for remote players. Wheel of Enormous Proportions is a bizarre mix of random chance and Trivia that feels uniquely unfair. Drawful Animate is perfectly fine yet at the same time probably the smallest possible iteration on Drawful they could have done. Poll Mine is hit or miss, I enjoyed it a lot and I LOVE the audience-vs-streamer mode, but not everyone will be able to enjoy that and about half the people I played it with didn’t seem to like it.
But JobJob is so good. Sure, it depends on how well people fill in their initial prompts, but when everyone’s going it’s a blast, very much in the style of Survive The Internet in a mess of absurd laughs based entirely on your group’s sense of humor. Tip for players: use EVERY character allowed in your writing prompt. Do not stop typing until it stops you. Just write stuff you wish you had to use in earlier rounds.
But the biggest flaw in Jackbox 8: dear god why can’t I boot idle players, link directly to the room code, or maintain groups between games?! 8.5 party packs, and what should be the most basic of QOL features for streams are still not here. Please. My son is very sick. (OF IDLERS IN JACKBOX.)
Special Mention: Drawful 2
Drawful 2, for some reason, is sold exclusively as a separate game and not in any pack. It’s like Drawful 1 but slightly improved and more critically, it’s designed for streaming. I can’t rank it as a pack, but it’s good, and a Jackbox collection isn’t quite complete without it.
Note that unlike Drawful 2, the stand-alone Fibbage and Quiplash packs are not unique, and there’s no real reason to own them if you have them in a Pack already, except the extra language translations in Quiplash InterLashIonal.
Jackbox Party Pack 6 #3
A very eclectic pack, notably the only one without a drawing-focused game (though Push The Button has a drawing minigame).
Trivia Murder Party 2 is probably the best trivia-themed game there is in Jackbox. Non-trivia minigames keep trivia-adverse players (like me) marginally interested even when other people force them to play them. Role Models is a fun oddball game that isn’t very stream-friendly, as it requires you to know each other well. But with the right group, it’s quite fun. Dictionarium is simple, fast, and good silly fun. A formalization of the classic Make Up A Word For it mentality.
Push The Button is a social deduction game somewhat like Among Us, with lots of minigames and opportunities for delightfully misleading circumstances. As a streamer, it’s a bit of a rough one though, even 1 idle player and the Humans can’t win. Please, give us a kick button.
Joke Boat is just terrible and uniquely frustrating to me as someone who likes comedy-based games. It somehow just does not work. The stand-up format and prompts somehow lack the funny-on-cue quality that Quiplash consistently delivers. The format is oddly stifling in ways Quiplash and JobJob just aren’t.
Jackbox Party Pack 7 #2
A perfect mix of good games and more modern features, it’s hard not to love Jackbox 7. It’s the rare pack with no bad games with only a couple of caveats to the fun, depending entirely on your players, not the games.
Quiplash 3 is the perfect iteration of Quiplash, having a third round that isn’t awful and just generally being a great way to make jokes like a more creative Cards against Humanity. Blather Round is a fun trivia game even for my trivia-disliking self as it’s got a guessing mechanic to it that makes it very dynamic between players.
Talking Points is stellar, but it does have the drawback of absolutely REQUIRING you to talk—it’s in the name! Streamers with shy/cowardly players might find it a bit frustrating to play, but with a group of 4+ people willing to embarrass themselves and give a TED talk about why we should all drive cars with (bodily fluid here) for fuel, you’ll have an incredible time. Champ’d Up is that glorious Drawing game that is both humor-based instead of accuracy-based, and has good drawing tools! It’s hard to go back to Drawful after this one.
As a streamer, the only game that slightly disappointed me is Devil and the Details. It’s a very fun party game, but one of those that just doesn’t work if you’re not either in the same room or ALL using voice chat and cooperating. But it’s still fun, and if you’re in the same room, great. And Demon Mom is a MILF. And you can have TWO (hot) Demon Moms.
Jackbox Party Pack 4 #1
Oops, All Bangers. This is the only Jackbox Party Pack where I do not dislike a SINGLE game even a bit. The options aren’t quite as advanced as later games for streaming, but there’s nothing too major missing.
Bracketeering is simple but funny and works well with a big audience for streaming. The format quickly brushes aside unfunny jokes to be forgotten. This lets large, heterogeneous groups of people play without much mess.
Civic Doodle isn’t the best drawing game, but it is unique and “collaborative” in the best/worst way. The weakest game in the best pack, it’s average for a drawing game. Fibbage 3 is just a great Fibbage game as we’ve gone through before. The visual design is quite striking too, making it hard to go back, and the Enough About You mode is a great one for tighter-knit groups of friends to play.
Monster Seeking Monster is just damn fun and very unique. Finally Survive The Internet is arguably the best Jackbox game there is, and easily the best comedy-themed one up there with JobJob. Everyone plays STI wrong their first playthrough, but once you understand how the humor is structured it’s fantastic. (It’s easy—person 2 makes person 1 look like an idiot/monster).
There’s just nothing that can come close to Jackbox 4. If you’re new to Jackbox or haven’t picked it up yet, I can’t recommend it enough. The only flaws it has are due to it being a semi-old Jackbox game with less-than-perfect settings menus for moderation/streaming. That and not having a higher player limit for Survive The Internet.
Please Jackbox, Add This
Finally, a free idea for Jackbox—The Jackbox Party Launcher. Let me go directly from one launcher directly into any game from any pack I own.
Also as a streamer, adding kicking, sharable room code URLs, and keeping groups between games would have made the Party Starter worth buying. Also more players! 8 is so few. Basically please steal every feature possible from the similar Gartic Phone I’ve played before.
Disagree? Outraged? In mild agreement? Are you the one guy who thinks Word Spud is actually brilliant? Feel free to hash it out in the comments below!