Published on October 30th, 2018 | by Kirk Hiner0
BEST Apple TV games: The Jackbox Party Pack 5
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 costs $30. On Apple TV. That alone should tell you you’re in for something different here. This isn’t an app you launch to kill some time while you’re waiting for a show to start, it’s a party game that actually gives you a reason to have a party, and it’s as fun on Apple TV as it is on any other compatible platform.
As is implied by the name, The Jackbox Party Pack 5 is a collection of five games for one to eight players, although most of them will require at least three. The centerpiece of the collection is You Don’t Know Jack, originally released by Jellyvision and Berkely Systems back in 1995. This irreverent quiz show—still hosted by Cookie Masterson (and that’s important for those of us who were there in the mid-90s)—is as fun (and difficult, really) as it ever was, provided you’re able to get into its groove. It mixes pop-culture trivia with questions about science, history, etc, and even those are usually framed within a pop-culture setting.
I knew I would enjoy playing You Don’t Know Jack, but the great thing about the Party Pack is that the other games make for a diverse collection that should appeal to just about everyone. My wife, for example, hates You Don’t Know Jack but loves Split the Room, a game which tasks players with presenting this-or-that scenarios that will cause the other players to disagree. The more you split the room, the higher your score.
My daughter (likely the most creative family member) had the most fun with Mad Verse City in which players complete rap verses in hopes of getting the most votes for the best rhymes/lines. She also liked Patently Stupid, a game of invention. Players have to invent a product that solves a particular (usually humorous) problem, then draw it, name it, give it a tagline and then present it to the group.
The party pack is rounded out with my son’s favorite: Zeeple Dome. This is a simple arcade game in which players launch themselves at enemies. Although you can play it by yourself, it becomes much more entertaining when you have four to six players bouncing around the screen.
The reason all of this works so well on Apple TV is because of the control system. You select your game and go through the initial settings with the Siri Remote, but then everything is turned over to your iPhone, iPad or Android device. Each new game gets a room code which participants enter using their device’s web browser at jackbox.tv. They don’t have to register or provide any personal information, just connect and play. It’s a slick system, but it unfortunately sometimes presents connection problems. The web-provided controls became unresponsive on multiple occasions, and you will sometimes find yourself behind your phone’s lock screen if you don’t keep tapping it to keep it on.
Those issues aside, The Jackbox Party Pack is a great collection that makes perfect use of the Apple TV as a gaming system. Up to eight players can join in at once, none of whom will need a Siri Remote or third-party gamepad to play. Don’t let the $30 price tag dissuade you, pick it up now and be ready for all the visitors you’ll be receiving over the upcoming holidays.