Since the 90s, Jackbox Games’ You Don’t Know Jack has delighted gamers on a variety of platforms, from the PC to Facebook to the Ouya. Its unique brand of irreverent question asking has made rote trivia games of the past look like baby steps before the real trivia game arrived. With its arrival on iOS devices, a whole new generation can experience the hilarity of host Cookie Masterson and his off-the-wall game show.
At its core, You Don’t Know Jack is just a trivia game. Questions range from biology to geography to history, with plenty of pop culture laced in. Thanks to the touch screens of iOS devices, buzzing in your answer is as easy as tapping it. Just answering correctly won’t rocket you to first place, however – every question has a time limit, and this adds two additional layers. One, the faster you answer, the more money you earn; two, you can’t just sit on a question forever, mentally eliminating answers.
Not every question in You Don’t Know Jack comes as a simple multiple choice. You’ll always have choices, but the presentation changes with the game’s special segments. The classic “Dis or Dat” gives you 30 seconds to put seven items into one of two categories, ranging from LL Cool J songs to features of a La Quinta Inn. “Funky Trash” lists off several items and asks which celebrity they belong too. And, of course, every game ends with the infamous “Jack Attack,” which is a series of rapid-fire “match two” questions.
It’s segments like these that show exactly what makes this game great. Much like acting isn’t based on what you say, but how you say it, You Don’t Know Jack isn’t great because of what it asks, but how it asks it. So many questions made me laugh so many times, and only a rare few require deep knowledge to answer. Thanks to the iOS’ integration with Facebook, these laughs can be shared with friends at any time. Of course, the anonymous guest mode works just as well.
Playing to unlock sponsors and achievements can keep you coming back, but the real hook is the game’s nonexistent price. In other words, it’s free…though not completely. You get one game per day with the free version, but you can always play again for 200 coins, earned in game or purchased for a small fee. During gameplay, you can also use coins to buy point boosters, which add a bonus percentage to your score. The paid version also unlocks peckers, which you can use to “peck” away wrong answers from questions. Though a few things are locked behind a pay wall, the core game can be downloaded and enjoyed for free, without any sense of limitation.
You Don’t Know Jack is hilarious, fun, and free. A few nonessential features must be paid for, but the fun of irreverent trivia with or without friends can be experienced for free on your iOS device. Even though the portable versions limits the game to four questions plus the Jack Attack (the regular game includes 10 plus the Jack Attack), the adage “You can’t complain if it’s free” strongly applies here. A fun, free game is hard to come by, especially a classic like this one.