Trivia games are often made or destroyed based on their selection of questions and challenge. It is always nice to see one take a stray from the norm. PC gamers that have been playing for some time will likely recognize the classic title at hand and, if you have ever played it, you are no doubt very excited to see it return. You Don’t Know Jack is a trivia game that uses clever writing and excellent pacing to make answering a series of questions more fun and entertaining than it really should be. If you are a fan of the genre at all and have never experienced the series, you are in for a treat.
As far as trivia games go, YDKJ is about as basic as it gets. There are 73 episodes on the disc, which basically just offer various sets of questions and a spoof product endorsement. Every match has exactly the same setup. Ten questions with three rounds and the final round consisting of a matching question. The majority of your questions are simply multiple choice, but once or twice during a game you will get a “Dis or Dat” or other theme type inquiry. Basically, that is the entire gist of the game and it never deviates from the formula.
For some this might sound like a deal breaker, but I promise you there is a reason why this series is so popular. You see, YDKJ is so cleverly written that you look forward to each new question with anticipation to hear the punch line. Thankfully the questions are also written so well that even if you don’t get the humor, you will still have a good idea of the how to answer it. The delivery of the host, Cookie Masterson, is top-notch and there are so many laugh out loud moments in this game, it makes for the perfect party title.
Each question earns you cash depending on how quickly you answer it. Round two doubles the money and, in an almost game breaking decision, the third round offers up so much cash that it nearly makes the first two rounds seem pointless. Still, each and every question is a treat and so well designed that you simply don’t mind. There is also a wrong answer prize for every episode. This will net you a large dollar amount as well some witty dialogue. The writers of YDKJ have really outdone themselves once again and brought back so many memories of why this series was so revered.
Another dragging issue on trivia games is repetition. How quickly do the questions start to repeat and how fast does the narrator wear thin? This is the area that makes YDKJ stand out. Cookie (that name still makes me chuckle) does a fantastic job of delivering his lines and humor without ever grating on your nerves. Sure, there are weak jokes and poor humor, but the ratio of great writing to stinkers is off-the-charts. Even after two hours of tearing through the questions with my wife in one session we had yet to see a repeating question, nor did we feel the need to hit the power button. This speaks volumes for the quality of the writers.
There really isn’t much else you can say about a trivia game that only has one mode. There is the option for DLC and local and online competition which is great. The trademark “screw” returns allowing you to put your opponents on the spot. As I have mentioned this is one great party game that will likely replace the quintessential Rock Band at our house.
You Don’t Know Jack brings back memories of the classic series with witty writing and some truly challenging and off-the-wall questions. There is just enough diversity to keep things fresh and rounds move by so quickly that it never feels like it is dragging. Presentation and writing are king here. I recommend all trivia buffs pick up this amazing package, especially at the steal of a price at $30.
Review copy provided by publisher.