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  • Writer's pictureNate Hermanson

REVIEW: Jackbox Party Pack 10 celebrates a milestone with one of the best pack games yet

When baseball players get eight years of service in the major leagues, they're awarded a golden card etched with their names that gets them (and a guest) free access to any regular-season baseball game for the rest of their lives. It's an honor that celebrates their longevity in the game and solidifies their presence in Major League Baseball for years to come.


After ten game releases in nine years, the team at Jackbox Games has more than earned the video game equivalent. Something that gets them access to any nerdy party where Jackbox gets played or... I don't know... a card that gets them the proper resale value of games at retailers or something.


Jackbox Games deserves a place in the industry's Hall of Fame for their near-annual releases and their consistency in regard to quality. The monumental 2023 release, Jackbox Party Pack 10, not only features one of the best games from any of the packs so far but also has a supporting cast of games well worth playing in their own right.

The key art for Jackbox Party Pack 10 features five characters representing the game's five unique games. They stand in a wooden clubhouse of sorts with various board games, posters, and portraits representing the 45 other pack games from previous Jackbox releases.

Just the Facts

Developer: Jackbox Games

Publisher: Jackbox Games

Platform(s): PC*, PS4 (PS5 via backward compatibility), Xbox Series S and X, Nintendo Switch, Smart TVs soon *platform reviewed on

Price: $29.99​

Release Date: Oct. 18, 2023

Key provided by fortyseven communications.

The Jackbox team is certainly spending some time looking back on their suite of games so far with Jackbox Party Pack 10, a game whose main theme pays homage to the original's wood paneling and board game aesthetic. A game that finds ways to squeeze in references to all 45 pack games released til now. And a game whose ideas find roots in some of the most obscure releases from the Jackbox vault.


The team is plenty aware of the long-standing legacy of the series, and as a celebration of the journey up to this point, Jackbox Party Pack 10 meets the moment to provide five brand-new games that earn their place in the Party Pack Pantheon.


It starts with the return of one of the all-timers: The make-your-own T-shirt battle royale, Tee K.O., returns with a slightly revamped Tee K.O. 2. Jackbox's trivia roots get time-wimey with the mind-bending TimeJinx. There's a game all about crafting the most chaotic text responses possible... in a group... with no delete button... That's FixyText. There's a legit rhythm game with Little Shop of Horror vibes called Dodo Re Mi. And tucked away at the very end, there's a fascinating hidden identity game called Hypnotorious.


Just like our process for reviewing Jackbox 8 and Jackbox 9, what you'll find below are mini-reviews for each of the pack's games, complete with feedback from our personal group's impressions of each game — because, at the end of the day, Jackbox is all about your group's enjoyment. After that, we'll wrap up with our overall thoughts on the pack and send you on your way to gather your pals for an immediate session with Jackbox 10. Don't bother trying to play with us, because we'll probably be busy playing with our own group, trying to unlock new things, and chasing high scores.


This is... a different kind of Jackbox.


But we'll start with the familiar as we return to the tee shirt arenas of Tee K.O. 2.

 

Tee K.O. 2 (3 - 8 players)

Let's get one thing out of the way right away: Yes, Tee K.O. 2 is basically just more Tee K.O. The wheel isn't reinvented: The team knows the first game was successful for a reason, and it's been lightly improved upon for nearly every phase of this sequel.


In Tee K.O. 2, you build the most unhinged clothing items possible out of drawings and phrases created by your party in successive rounds. After piecing together the funniest (usually: strangest) shirt, hoodie, or tanktop possible from those phrases and drawings, players vote on tournament-style matchups until a winner is picked, and then do it all again before an ultimate matchup between two tournament winners.


Tee K.O. 2 introduces a few new things to enhance each part of the experience. For drawing, they've finally implemented an undo button and taken the more robust drawing tools from Jackbox Party Pack 7 game Champ'd Up, adding the highlighter tool that draws underneath your pen strokes and allows for enhanced coloring potential. The artists in our group were definitely glad to see this enhancement.


In the clothing creation phase, they've added tons more options. You can pick between a shirt, hoodie, and tanktop and select between three different fonts for your catchphrase. They're tiny things that may seem superficial at first but have surprising effects on completing your chosen vibe package. Some of your group's more unserious and unsavory phrases just hit different on a tanktop than a cozy hoodie, and it's nice to have the choice.


Tee K.O. 2 also adds in a remix feature, which allows you to take a previously completed drawing in Round 2 and add your own twist to it. It's a fun way to reintroduce the "meme of the day" that so often crops up in a Jackbox session and work it into otherwise innocuous drawings.


And lastly, they add some more action to the final phase. Instead of simply voting on the final champion, you mash on your phone screen for your winner until their victory meter fills.


Rather than try to rework the formula from scratch, Tee K.O. 2 instead finds ways to iterate on the best bits of the first game. I personally wished for a little more innovation, but found the improvements more than welcome and found myself really excited to revisit the concept in a more modern pack release. My group was a little more forgiving than I was but generally had the same take.

My score: 4/5 Group score: 4.5/5

 

TimeJinx (1 - 8 players)


Trivia remains my favorite part of the Jackbox experience. From my first exposure to the company, playing You Don't Know Jack as a six year old when I really clearly shouldn't have been, to my love of the last few packs' trivia games — Quixort and Wheel of Enormous Proportions — Party Packs stand out to me most when they have a strong trivia representative.


After 10 Party Packs, you might expect they've run out of interesting ideas to make trivia new and exciting. Well, TimeJinx is here to flip you upside down and break your brain, all just to prove that Jackbox Games remains at the top of the trivia food chain.


In TimeJinx, you are participating in a special kind of trivia night that takes place with a group of time travelers. Your goal is not to get the highest score possible, but instead to have the lowest score possible. It starts with a Price is Right-like round that has you trying to nail the exact year that some event happened within a given range. Every year you're off by adds to your score.


After a few rounds, players then have a chance to reduce their scores by jumping through time periods, answering decade-based pop culture and historical events trivia to blend in, correcting space-time continuum errors by fixing blatantly wrong historical facts, and even partaking in time loop trivia that gives you multiple chances to answer the same question with new information presented the second time around.


The team really mines out everything possible from the time travel conceit to great effect, and it makes for a trivia experience that feels so fresh and fun. We were most compelled by how balanced the experience felt as well. Competitors are given scaled chances to get back into the fight since score reduction is percentage-based, benefiting those with higher scores much more than those with low scores.


It reads and sounds so confusing, as time travel often does, but like the best time travel media (Back to the Future, to be clear), it makes for an accessible, clever, and enjoyable experience for all.

My score: 5/5 Group score: 4.5/5


"After nearly a decade of work, the Jackbox team shows no signs of stopping and the quality is still there 10 games later."
 

FixyText (3 - 8 players)


If you've ever gotten a text that you had no idea how to respond to and found yourself pooling your friend group together to figure out how to draft the pitch-perfect answer, FixyText might be for you.


This chaotic writing game has you and a team coming together to help edit responses to awkward text messages as a group. You do it all at the same time, and you can't delete anything or fix typos. It's all stream-of-consciousness chaos. After the messages are crafted, a robotic text-to-speech voice reads out your mess to hilarious effect, and after that, a round of voting begins. Players on the opposing team pick out their favorite keywords from the message, assigning points to the authors of those parts. Teams switch roles after that, continuing the text chain.


FixyText is one of the most improv-heavy Jackbox games in a long time, making for a play experience that can swing wildly per session. The game seems to thrive on you making mistakes, maybe trying to lean into the community of folks who giggle when their friends spell words wrong, but the appeal fades quickly — at least within our group. Especially when the game is just writing and voting and writing and voting.


There are fun things where, as conversations go on and the rounds pass by, FixyText will pull popular words and even players' names into the text responses. It adds a fun dynamic quality to the game's progression and helps build some silly bits.


Groups with great improv skills, groups with cohesive styles of humor, or groups that happen to be... partaking... while they play may get a lot more out of it. But FixyText ended up being the game that some members of our group would take breaks during. There's fun to be had here, to be sure. And we had a fun time our first few times through. But if the pressure of performing during Quiplash sessions already scares you, FixyText probably falls out of the realm of comfort and enjoyment.

My score: 3/5 Group score: 3.5/5

 

Dodo Re Mi (1 - 9 players)

After multiple hours-long sessions within Dodo Re Mi... there are whispers within my group that it just might be one of the best games in the entire Jackbox library.


I know. Let's talk about it.


Dodo Re Mi is a rhythm game that sees players inhabiting incredible songbirds who are capable of replicating the sounds of a large variety of instruments: Guitar. Contrabassoon. Constant screaming. All the classics.


This is more important to their biological survival than you might expect, as they regularly face off against a giant bird-eating plant that can only be soothed through song.


First, you'll pick a song from a library of fascinating public domain songs re-recorded by the Jackbox team that go harder than you can even believe, plus all of the Jackbox original songs you've come to love from past Party Packs.


You'll pick an instrument that dictates your play style — number of note lanes, difficulty, and even style of rhythm game between the traditional Guitar Hero-like note hitting and a more Trombone Hero-like sliding note matching — and adds your own personal flair to the track. You've got the traditional stuff, like drums and electric guitar, and some that are a bit more Jackbox-coded, like Taz the Cat, Lip Flipper, and Gargling.


Each player will be let loose to play their own little rhythm game on their phone (or PC with customizable keyboard configurations) before coming back to hear the chaotic cacophony pieced together. Depending on how well the group did, you'll either survive the plant's attack or watch them get eaten. It's all very "Feed me, Seymour." And then... you keep going. Dodo Re Mi has no traditional session limits; you're free to play as long as you'd like before making the decision to end the session.


It makes for an experience reminiscent of the Rock Band phenomenon, where your collective progress adds to the group effort and the grind for perfection drives you to play song after song for hours. It's amazing that this game even works at all. It retains that "kind of purposefully offputting" Jackbox charm when you hear farts and violins on the same track, and it's something that several members of our group remarked they could "play forever."


With over 32 songs to unlock, each with a handful of different instruments to experiment with, Dodo Re Mi is one you absolutely cannot skip. My score: 5/5 Group score: 5/5

 

Hypnotorious (4 - 8 players)


Hidden identity games are always tricky. Mafia, Spyfall, and even the more modern takes on the concept, like Among Us. Your fun with each of them is dictated by how well the group works together and how difficult it is to suss things out.


Hypnotorious is Jackbox's latest foray into the genre, asking players to quite literally pop their brains out and figure out their place in the group.


In Hypnotorious, players are first assigned an identity. This could be quite literally anything, from a literary character or a famous celebrity all the way to cow manure. Your job from there is to answer a series of questions from the perspective of your assigned identity, using the answers of your fellow players to identify one of three groups that you and others fit into.


For example, you're asked about your New Year's resolution. Assigned the role of a smartphone, you might answer "to always stay charged up to 100%." How that fits in to what others have said is up for you to determine, and the game always manages to keep the assigned categories just close enough to be confusing through the end of the round.


The major twist here is that one player is "The Outlier," someone whose identity stands in its own category and doesn't fit in with anyone else. How different The Outlier is from the rest of the group and how well their answers fit into the questions asked really dictates how fun this game ends up. It either becomes immediately obvious or provides just enough of a wrinkle to make the whole affair that much more interesting.


After each round of questioning, you pick your place amidst the other players, and by the end, if you've chosen the right crew to settle in with, you'll be assigned extra points. Do that a few times and get an ultimate winner.


The fun in Hypnotorious comes more from the little investigation sessions that happen after everyone submits their answers more than picking a winner, and I personally found the guessing game to be an underrated gem in the pack. The group found that it could at times be too obvious or confusing but ultimately shared a similar opinion.


Shoutout to the adorable brain designs though.

My score: 4/5 Group score: 3.5/5

 

Jackbox Party Pack 10 would have been worth a look simply for the celebration of a decade's worth of releases. It would have been worth checking out for the ways it celebrates the legacy of each game that came before it, like the return of Party Pack hosts of yore in Tee K.O. 2's character selection. But even removed from that milestone, Jackbox Party Pack 10 offers a package worth celebrating.


The artists at Jackbox continue to deliver some of the best looking and sounding pack games yet, whether it's the stellar graphic design and typeface-focused art style found in FixyText or the epic renditions of songs like Pop Goes the Weasel in Dodo Re Mi. After nearly a decade of work, the Jackbox team shows no signs of stopping and the quality is still there 10 games later.


Long live Jackbox Party Pack.


Video Games are Good and Jackbox Party Pack 10 is . . . GREAT. (8.5/10)


+ Dodo Re Mi may be one of the best Jackbox games of all time, TimeJinx stands as one of the best Jackbox trivia offerings, and 10 games down the line, they're still finding ways to innovate the party game genre


- FixyText and Hypnotorious are heavily dependent on your group composition and can offer up more dud sessions than bangers


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