The popular “irreverent trivia” game You Don’t Know Jack is now available on the App Store for your iPhone/iPod touch [$2.99/Lite] or iPad [$4.99/Lite]. The series began back in 1995 on PC and has since seen a multitude of iterations across computers, game consoles, the web, physical board games, and even a short lived television show. The iOS version of You Don’t Know Jack is based on the 2011 franchise reboot that hit major gaming consoles earlier this year.
If you’re familiar with that version then you’ll be instantly familiar with the game on iOS, and aside from a few missing features and no multiplayer mode it’s a very competent mobile version of the console game. Even if you’re completely unfamiliar with the series, You Don’t Know Jack is a fun and intellectual trivia game mixed with silly pop culture references and humor.
Unlike previous games in the series that presented a random selection of questions, this version of You Don’t Know Jack contains 20 different episodes each filled with 10 questions in a predetermined order. The first 5 questions in an episode are considered Round 1 and are worth face value. The next 5 are Round 2 and are worth double the points. After the 10 questions are completed, Round 3 consists of a special Jack Attack game before giving you your final score for the episode.
The majority of the questions in an episode are multiple choice with 1 correct answer and 3 that are incorrect, and the game has no problem using clever word play or trick questions in an effort to throw you off. You’re given 20 seconds to pick an answer and are awarded cash based on how quickly you answer correctly, with a similar amount deducted for a wrong answer. There is no penalty for not answering at all.
During each episode, one of the questions takes the form of a “DisOrDat”, where you’re given 7 titles or phrases and must determine which of 2 completely different categories they belong in. For example, in one episode you’re given 7 fancy sounding names and are asked to determine whether each one is the name of a luxury sports car or the name of a cajun cuisine. There’s 30 seconds to complete all 7, where right answers earn you cash and wrong answers take some away, and any extra time on the clock gives you bonus money.
The final round of an episode consists of a Jack Attack. It starts by giving you a common theme for the round, then presents a word or phrase in the middle of the screen while other phrases zoom by above and below it. Your job is to tap the word or phrase that relates to the one in the middle as it zooms by. This round rewards you with huge payouts for correct answers as well as penalizes you heavily for wrong ones, and can really make or break your final score for an episode.
So up to this point, You Don’t Know Jack is a fairly typical trivia game, albeit with pretty cleverly written questions. What really makes it stand out though is the excellent presentation. The “host” of the game Cookie Masterson, who has appeared in many of the previous games, has a great personality and makes a ton of hilarious (and often crude) jokes as well as pokes fun at you when you get a question wrong. There’s also some silly intro animations for every question and a few other funny surprises, but the running dialogue from Cookie is what really makes the game what it is. This isn’t a game you’ll want to play with the sound off, as you’d be missing out on 90% of the enjoyment.
The 20 included episodes are far less than the console versions, and due to their linear nature there’s not really much reason to replay them multiple times, but the developer seems keen on adding additional episodes and features in updates. There’s also Game Center integration for unlocking achievements and tracking your scores for the initial play through of an episode, which adds a bit of replay value to the game. Hopefully multiplayer can be added at some point too, since playing trivia with friends is when a game like this is at its best, though it’s still a really fun solo experience.
If you’re already a fan of You Don’t Know Jack, then chances are you bought and downloaded the iOS version the second you heard about it, and for the most part I think you’ll be satisfied. It features completely new questions from the console versions and is surprisingly up to date with its references to current events, with questions involving Charlie Sheen, Liz Taylor, and everybody’s favorite pop star Rebecca Black. If you aren’t really familiar with the series but like trivia games, there’s a lite version with 2 full episodes to check out first to see if it’s up your alley. Players in our forums have been digging this one quite a bit, and for irreverent trivia on the go You Don’t Know Jack is a solid pick up.