Hot on the heels of The Jackbox Party Pack (actually released after the third instalment on Switch), is the second package in the (so far) trilogy on Nintendo Switch. In a similar set up to the other entries in the series there are five party games on offer in The Jackbox Party Pack 2; here is a breakdown of the games on offer in this particular bundle.
A sequel to the equivalent game in the original, the 'game of bluff' Fibbage 2 is a trivia quiz where each player enters the wrong answer, with the computer supplying the right one. The object of the game is to deceive your opponents by luring them to choose your option to get points, as well as guessing the actual right answer. Given the right company the answers can become pretty inventive but also a bit risky, so there are parental filters to remove more mature content for any younger players. Fibbage 2 adds 500 new questions (twice what we saw in the original), as well as a new 'deFIBrilator' mode which, when used, reduces the number of options to one truth and one lie. It will really come down to personal taste as to whether you prefer the other games in the set, because besides the new mode (which admittedly ups the tension, and therefore fun), it's essentially more of the same.
Probably the weakest of the bunch, Earwax has an animated pixel art style with cute avatars. 'The judge' picks a written prompt describing a sound effect and the other players choose what goes best with the description. The judge then chooses a winner - three points and you win. It can get bizarre, random and hilarious, but the caveat is you can't hear sound effects in advance before you choose them, so the variety and quality can be a bit hit and miss. Again, with the judging and voting nature of the game, especially with a limited number of people, it could become unfairly one sided, but the random and hilarious nature of the sound effects mostly keeps things fresh.
Bidiots could be seen as the evolution of 'Drawful'. It is initially a little confusing and a poorly explained idea, but once the concept is grasped it is actually pretty fun. Firstly, on a smart device, you are given a description and your task is to draw two pictures of it as accurately as you can (as there are no editing tools) within 90 seconds. The resulting pictures are then entered into an auction; the next stage is how much you can sell it for.
Once the auction starts it's a battle of nerve and patience as the bidding gets more and more intense; CPU silent bidders and art dealer characters provide tips and share what they are willing to pay for a particular piece. With enticing tidbits of insider information such as "watch player 'X' because he knows what it's worth" to just "BUY STUFF!" there is a sense of tension, peer pressure and oneupmanship once a competitive nature kicks in. When the auction is done some of the fun is discussing what tips each player had, with the benefit of hindsight.
Also available only once in the game - but can be used at any time - are 'Screws' that force a competing player to bid. No one can see how much money each player has, so whether that adds to the fun or not will depend on the group. There are the trademark 'Jackbox' humourous sound effects and auctioneer banter, and in a call back to 'You Don't Know Jack' players can take out 'predatory loans' to stay in the game.
Quiplash was originally released as a standalone title, but is 'XL' in this package and is a bit similar to Fibbage, where up to 8 players write something funny as the answer to a computer generated question; the player who doesn't submit an answer is the judge. It can become very inventive and witty depending on the players, and is guaranteed to have at least a few laughs.
In Bomb Corp you start off as an intern of a bomb disposal office being given instructions to smash one (and only one) thing on a cubicle desk; each player must explain what not to smash, and it nicely sets up the cooperative nature of the game - diffusing an ever increasingly complex number of explosive devices by cutting wires. The rules or instructions are spread across all the players' devices, using clauses such as "cut (the second wire) IF it's not (blue)", or "if there is a (black) coloured wire, cut the (adjacent) wire". There is the expected office banter, and some instructions overrule others, making it vital to pay attention and balance efficiency (there are time limits) and accuracy. It can get pretty tense, especially with some instructions having typos or other such red herrings.
The ridiculously cute art style, combined with the necessity to work together as a team, makes 'Bomb Corp' the clear stand out in The Jackbox Party Pack 2, regardless of the number of players (it's the only game to also support single player).
Despite the requirement to have an Internet connection to experience 4 of the 5 games, The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is just as strong as its prequel. The same zany presentation and innovative use of smart devices, it's another ideal party starter. Which set you choose (if you only choose one) will likely come down to whether you prefer trivia, improvisation or cooperative-based games, but overall this second pack is a solid set that will provide a lot of laughs and collective fun.