The Jackbox Party Pack 10 review: The party goes on

After a full decade, does The Jackbox Party Pack 10 still bring the Jackbox Games magic?

Jackbox Games

Time flies when you're partying. That's the prevailing thought with Jackbox Games, which is celebrating a full decade of Jackbox fun. The Jackbox Party Pack 10 is here, and while it's a celebration of the series to this point, it's a lot of new games and a potential peek into Jackbox's future. It's also a guaranteed fun time for all.

Tee K.O. 2

Tee K.O. 2 in The Jackbox Party Pack 10

Source: Jackbox Games

There's always a returnee among the Jackbox Party Packs, but few expected Tee K.O. (last seen in The Jackbox Party Pack 3) to be the one for The Jackbox Party 10. It was a breakout hit back then and Tee K.O. 2 has been refined to flow more smoothly. Unfortunately, it still has a few fundamental issues.

The biggest problem is, of course, it isn't nearly as fun for those who don't have a knack for drawing. Tee K.O. 2's main appeal comes in drawing whimsical shirt designs, but if you can't draw more than a stick figure, the fun feels limited. It's an issue that feels almost impossible to solve, because how does one pitch a drawing game to those who can't draw? It's a conundrum, but Jackbox goes a long way to make the rest of the game enjoyable.

For those who can't call themselves artists, the real fun is in coming up with slogans, which then get mixed and matched with the various shirt designs. Do the slogans necessarily have to fit the shirt? No, and that's a major source of the game's humor. Drawing a makeshift car and mixing it with something like "I have no idea what I'm doing!" is good clean fun.

The rest of Tee K.O. 2's improvements are mainly cosmetic, which is perfectly fine. There's no real difference in designing tank tops and sweatshirts over standard tees, but the option is nice. Likewise, new fonts for the slogans take that idea a surprisingly long way. Some jokes just hit harder when written out in a specific font.

The voting system could use some improvements since players can too often vote for their own designs. The less said about the tap-intensive final round, the better. Despite that, Tee K.O. 2 was good for some laughs.

Fixy Text

Fixy Text in The Jackbox Party Pack 10

Source: Jackbox Games

Fixy Text is an idea that sounded great on paper, but there are several things working against it. The concept involves groups of people getting in and sending text message replies. The catch is that there's no backspace function, so it's possible to write over what other people are writing, creating a perfect batch of gobbledygook. Votes are then taken for the best words with the author receiving points and co-authors also sharing points.

The problem with Fixy Text comes in pesky technology. Autocorrect on iOS and Android will run wild throughout the game, turning a chuckle-inducing typo fest into boring vanilla. PC isn't immune to this either. I am a Grammarly subscriber and use the Chrome extension regularly. The extension was more than eager to go in and turn my gibberish into something legible and that's just not fun.

The scoring system and the messages in Fixy Text can be enjoyable, but individual players need to take some extra steps for a good clean game and that sucks a lot of the fun out.

Time Jinx

Time Jinx in The Jackbox Party Pack 10

Source: Jackbox Games

Jackbox Games loves its trivia, and Time Jinx is a novel take on the idea. Instead of a totally multiple-choice format, Time Jinx has players respond from a range of time-based answers. Whoever gets closest gets the lowest score and, like in golf, the lowest score at the end of the game wins. There are some rounds that use multiple-choice, which reduces player scores by a flat percentage.

Outside of the host's dialogue, Time Jinx's laughs come from seeing just how off some players' guesses can get. The first time I gave a response that was 37 years off from the actual answer, the room erupted in laughter. Some rounds will give losing players a helping hand, but the hints they're given can also lead to some wildly wrong answers and some hearty chuckles.

Time Jinx is straightforward but shows that classic trivia games still work. Fun gimmicks like timeline imposters add to the enjoyment and make this game a potential family staple.


Hypnotorious in The Jackbox Party Pack 10

Source: Jackbox Games

Hypnotorious is The Jackbox Party Pack 10's most complex game, but also one of its most fun. The idea is that players are given a role, whether it's a person or an object, and they have to role-play as that person or object. That includes answering various questions in character.

The idea isn't to guess who everybody is, necessarily. It's to categorize players in groups based on everyone's answers. If players are correctly categorized, they get bonus points. The catch is that one player is purposely given a role that doesn't fit with any other category, so if that "Outlier" is correctly identified, everybody gets bonus points, otherwise the Outlier gets a massive bonus. This is what truly makes Hypnotorious unique, because the Outlier doesn't know who they are ahead of time. In fact, the Outlier can listen to everybody's answer and if something doesn't gel, they can try and sort themselves as the Outlier and try to get the bonus.

Hypnotorious can be a game of fun and deception, but with everybody learning new information every second, things shift quickly and in an enjoyable way. I liked getting punny with some of my answers and the challenge of staying in character makes this a fantastic game for certain groups of friends.

Dodo Re Mi

Dodo Re Mi in The Jackbox Party Pack 10

Source: Jackbox Games

Dodo Re Mi is the most interesting offering in The Jackbox Party Pack 10 because it represents one of the format's most radical departures. It's not the first time that Jackbox Games has tried something wildly different. Five years ago, they gave it the old college try with Zeeple Dome in The Jackbox Party Pack 5, but while I felt like that was a swing and a miss, Dodo Re Mi feels like something with much greater potential.

While players can compete against one another, the main idea is musical survival. Players select their instrument and then pick from a variety of songs. As songs play out, players will engage with their instrument in Guitar Hero-style note tracks. Whether this aspect of the game works out for you will ultimately depend on what device you're using because touch controls on a smaller phone might be a little less fun than using something bigger, like a tablet.

The idea is for friends to make beautiful music, but it's also for the collective to do well enough to feed a carnivorous plant. If the collective doesn't perform well enough, the plant eats everybody. Assuming everybody survives, then players can check out who got the highest score and enjoy their replays. The tracks range from public domain works to some recognizable tunes from the Jackbox library, which gives this a more timeless feel than other rhythm games that focus more on the current music trends.

After playing a few tracks, Dodo Re Mi stood out as a more relaxing kind of Jackbox offering. However, it also felt different enough that some of us wondered why the team didn't release this as a standalone title. It's a perfect illustration of what Jackbox Games is capable of putting together beyond its competitive party game wheelhouse.

Partying on and on and on

After this many years of looking at Jackbox Games' output, it's hard to say anything about The Jackbox Party Pack 10 other than, "It's another fine Jackbox Party Pack." As a collection, it's another wonderful package of games for the whole family. After a decade of playing them, one begins to run out of descriptors. It is worth noting that Jackbox's continued breadth of options remains wonderful to see. There are options for instituting family-friendly rules, incorporating Twitch audiences, adding subtitles, reducing motion, and many more that make it possible for anyone to jump in.

More than previous Jackbox titles, I think there are some gems in this collection. Hypnotorious, especially, could be a big hit among certain sections of players and is a rare case of Jackbox coming forward with some complex ideas and all of them coming together beautifully. Dodo Re Mi, however, is especially worth watching because it may be a gateway into Jackbox's future, one where the team is still making Party Packs while also branching out into exciting new frontiers.

It's been a fun ten years, and The Jackbox Party Pack 10, like so many Jackbox efforts before it, is a worthy inclusion into your family game night rotation.

This review is based on a Steam code provided by the publisher. The Jackbox Party Pack 10 will be available on Thursday, October 19 on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch for $34.99 USD. The game is rated T.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

  • Dodo Re Mi is musical fun
  • Hypnotorious can be hilarious
  • Time Jinx is enjoyable trivia
  • Tee K.O. 2 has some fun new options
  • Multitude of options is as welcome as ever
  • Fixy Text doesn't work so well in practice
  • Tee K.O. 2's final round is a miss
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