Drawful 2 Switch Review
Ability to play on phones and tablets
Silly and fun art direction
Up to eight players
Option for player-written prompts
Internet connection mandatory
There’s no denying that party-games are a lost art. To Nintendo’s credit, they’ve maintained the potential for party-game fun, including at least four controller ports in every console since the Nintendo GameCube, along with games like Mario Kart and Mario Party that have long been staples of game-nights all over the world. Because of this, it’s no surprise that Jackbox Games, the developer responsible for insanely popular party-game series You Don’t Know Jack, Quiplash, and Fibbage, has chosen the Nintendo Switch as the newest platform to release its games. In addition to compilation titles in the Jackbox Party Pack series, the latest release to grace the Nintendo eShop is Drawful 2, a bite-sized look into the quirky and irreverent minds of this generation’s party-game kings.
The biggest hook of Drawful 2, and indeed every Jackbox title, is that it’s played without controllers. This is the way it works: a game lobby is loaded, which generates a room code, a four-letter pass key that allows you to join the game through the Jackbox website. The upside to this is that you can play with a phone, tablet, or computer, pretty much any device with a decent web browser. The downside, however, is that the console and all players must have an internet connection, no big deal for most people, but definitely something that will turn some people off.
Once everyone has entered the room code and is ready to play, the game can begin.
When played with three or four players, there are two rounds of play. The first part of the round involves each player drawing something on their device, based on the individual prompt given to them, usually a nonsensical or incongruent phrase. These can range from something simple like “Burping Ghost” and range all the way to something like “Coma Party”, and everything in between. Each player gets two color shades with which to draw, and these are unique to each player. Once everyone’s drawing is completed, the next part of the round starts. In this part of the round, one of the player’s drawings is randomly chosen and displayed, and all the players besides the drawer have to write what they think the prompt could’ve been that birthed such a masterpiece.
After this, all the player-written prompts, along with the original, are shown, and the players must choose which one could’ve been the original. If players choose the original prompt, the drawer earns points. If players choose the player-written prompts, then the author of the chosen prompts earn points. Even if a player’s prompt isn’t chosen, it can still be given bonus likes by the others, though no extra points are given. After each round, the cycle repeats, though the number of rounds is changed depending on the number of people playing, which can be from three players all the way up to eight. If you have more than eight people down to draw, the rest can join in as audience members, allowing them to vote on player-written prompts as well. Another fun inclusion is the ability to tweet pictures and GIFs of your drawings, saved in the gallery section after each game. Though I never drew anything I deemed worthy of sharing with my followers, having the option is both novel and intriguing.
In addition to regular play, using the prompts generated by Jackbox, there is a mode that allows players to write their own prompts, adding just the right personal touch to a game that is overflowing with its own fun personality, from the quirky prompts, to the excitable narrator, and (my favorite) the elaborate and random drawn animations, like a cat’s paw holding a pencil that draws a line from one side of the screen to another, denoting the amount of time left for the player to finish their drawing. It’s fun, it’s cute, and most importantly, it’s memorable.
The sound design plays a big part of this, as well, and one of the most endearing aspects of the game is the random noises assigned to each player, such as a dog’s bark or a burp, that play whenever a player does pretty much anything. Finished a drawing? Meow. Wrote a prompt? Yelp. It’s a small thing, but one that still managed to make me chuckle, even after two or three games. The soundtrack itself is standard Jackbox fare, most aptly described as peppy elevator music. It’s fitting for the party-game aesthetic, and I found myself humming the simple tunes for a while after playing.
Though it may be included in a Jackbox Party Pack compilation in the future, at the time of writing Drawful 2 is only available as a standalone download on digital storefronts. This review was written based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game, but rest assured that the game will play the same across all available platforms, which includes Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC, and even Apple TV and Amazon Fire Stick, if that’s your thing. The game is on the cheap end too, as far as party-games go, and will only run you $9.99 across all platforms. Though the rounds are short, the seemingly endless variety that Jackbox Games provides, in the form of completely new and randomized prompts each game, will ensure that Drawful 2 will stay at the top of the list next time you plan your game-night. Ready, set, draw!