Jackbox Games has been putting out some quality party games for some time now. I would eve go as far as to say that they revolutionized the party video game genre with the release of the original Fibbage. After several new entries, there’s always the chance that they could be running out of ideas. Not every pack of games has been lived up to the high highs of the series as a whole, but I am pleased to report that The Jackbox Party Pack 5 has some fresh new games that keep me convinced that Jackbox Games still has the magic touch in creating awesome party games. Let’s go through each of the entries in The Jackbox Party Pack 5 individually to discuss what makes each of them great.
Cooperative games that require a lot of communication seem like they are played best in person. This was the thought issued by the original order-delivering chef game Overcooked. While this certainly makes a lot of sense, it can be deceptively hard to get the right people together to have a satisfying gaming session. Ghost Town Games looked to solve this by adding online play to their sequel, Overcooked 2, but also managed to squeeze some surprisingly game-changing new features that makes for a satisfying return to the Onion Kingdom.
Video games are often made with a very specific purpose. Some are designed to be played all by yourself on a dark stormy night. Others are built to be played with friends either cooperatively or competitively. Ever since streaming became a bigger part of gaming, a new type of game has emerged: one that you are meant to watch. Guts and Glory is one of those games that begs to be spectated as you accidentally eviscerate a man riding his bicycle through a gauntlet of buzz saws and land mines.
Marching into a dungeon and smashing some living skeletons into dust is a staple of any great brawler RPG and there are few better experiences than the original Dragon’s Crown. Originally an extremely gorgeous game, this remaster takes each of the artistic elements of the game and cranks them up to eleven. Sporting both sound and visual remasters, Dragon’s Crown Pro is definitely the version to own if you’re sporting a shiny new 4K TV in your living room.
Virtual reality has often been used to insert players into situations that would otherwise be impossible. Moss, one of the newest PlayStation VR titles, goes about this in a slightly different way. Instead of making the player the focus, each stage of the game is a sort of interactive diorama. Controlling the adorable mouse protagonist Quill, players can make their way environmental puzzles by inspecting every nook and cranny of the tiny world set in front of them. It creates an experience that feel unique to VR and facilitates a new sort of immersion that is the breath of fresh air that VR needs right now.
Inserting oneself into the action of a video game is what makes virtual reality such an immersive experience. Bullet hell games are scary enough as it is, taking place on a 2D plane while tons of bullets head towards a tiny ship. Thrusting this concept into the first-person perspective of a VR shooter, Blasters of the Universe takes the brain-busting space management of a bullet hell game and forces you to stare helplessly as the sea of bullets slowly drift towards you. One of the smoother-controlling shooters I’ve played in PSVR, while relatively short, it offers plenty of challenge that will have you coming back for more.
Crashing down on us in 2014, The Fall was a fascinating adventure game with some admittedly clunky combat. The story mainly consisted of a combat suit with artificial intelligence, named A.R.I.D. searching for medical attention for the passed out human inside of it. In a major twist, stop reading here and go play The Fall if you haven’t already, the suit turned out to be empty the whole time and her whole purpose has been made null. As you might expect, I was eager to see where the story went from there and The Fall Part 2: Unbound does certainly go in some interesting directions.
Video games always seem to involve characters resolving their problems with their fists or guns. Sometimes, is it a smarter choice to use your words? This is the hypothesis that Oh… Sir!! The Insult Simulator and Oh… Sir! The Hollywood Roast seek to answer. Taking a brand new spin on fighting games, these games pit two characters against one another in a battle of words that can only end with one victor.
Growing up in a highly competitive house, I’ve grown into a fair bit of anxiety when it comes to competitive games. Finding one that manages to feel just as fun whether you win or lose is rare, but Ultimate Chicken Horse nails it. I can’t tell you the number of times play sessions devolved into the entire room laughing as the ridiculousness of the stages grow each round. Coming newly to the PS4, Ultimate Chicken Horse is one of the best couch competitive experiences available on the console which can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Tabletop gaming has been something I’ve only gotten deeper into with the last few years, while my video game hobby has been around since I could hold a controller. Since I started getting more into playing board games, I’ve been excited to see the two types of games blend together. There has been no better example of this concept than Hand of Fate. Taking some core concepts of tabletop gaming, like drawing cards for random chance encounters, and mixing them with video game concepts like real-time combat encounters, it worked surprisingly well. Hand of Fate 2 takes all of this and expands upon everything adding more elements and improving the overall structure of how the game is played to make for an even better blend.