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Now that Dungeons & Dragons is officially mainstream thanks to Stranger Things, even your coolest friends are down for game nights. But when the Cards Against Humanity jokes have all been played out and you’re tired of settling Catan, things can get monotonous. Thankfully your PS4 is here to save the day.
Tons of game companies are developing party games — many of which don’t require a controller — to enhance your party experience with the power of technology. So download these games, grab some pizza and beers, and text all your friends because this party is just getting started.
The OG of PS4 party games is on its third edition, and it’s only getting better. This pack of five games all work in the same way — they’re broadcast from your PS4 but played via web browser, so anyone can join in from their phone, tablet, or computer. Of the five games, some are definitely more fun than others — Trivia Murder Party (a horror themed trivia game,) and Fakin’ It (a hidden identity game) are gems but you can probably skip Tee K.O.
Worth every penny, even if it didn’t come in a pack, is Quiplash. The game sends you joke prompts to your phone, where you then fill in the punch line. You can even fill in your own prompts with inside jokes and references. Unlike Cards Against Humanity (and all the various knockoffs) which have the punch line written for you, Quiplash lets you make jokes that are entirely your own. Yeah, I said it: I think you’re funnier than the Cards Against Humanity people.
Like Jackbox, Sportsfriends is a group of games packaged together. As evidenced by the name, these are all vaguely sports-themed and are all played with controllers. In Super Pole Riders you play as pole-vaulters trying to knock a ball to the other end of the screen. The controls are a lot like the viral browser game QWOP, and it’s fun to watch your friends struggle with them even if you’re not playing.
My favorite of this pack is definitely Johan Sebastain Joust. Everyone gets up and moves around the room while cartoon musicians on the screen play (what else?) Bach concertos at varying tempos. The game utilizes the PS4 controllers’ motion sensors to detect how fast a player is moving — if your controller moves faster than the music, you’re out. The goal is to make your opponents move while protecting your own controller. It is an excellent excuse to shove your friends and I highly recommend it.
Use Your Words is a relative newcomer to the world of joke setup party games, but it’s already one of the best. This game is similar to Quiplash — you’re given a prompt and enter punch lines from a browser on your phone — but there are enough differences to keep it from becoming redundant. Use Your Words has four different rounds in each game, the most fun of which is writing your own subtitles for a foreign movie clip. The Japanese monster Gamera makes several appearances and it’s amazing every time.
Use Your Words also introduces a fun mechanic. Each round has house answers to try to trip people up — if you vote for a house answer instead of something your friends wrote, you lose points. To the credit of the game developers’ humor, none of the house answers are super obvious.
Honorable Mention: That’s You
This game doesn’t come out until October 24, but it looks so fun it deserves a spot on this list. Yes, you can add personal prompts to Quiplash, but this game does it for you with questions specifically designed around your friend group. It also looks like the first one of these types of games to fully utilize the phone you’re playing on, with selfie challenges and drawing prompts. You can pre-order now — I’m definitely going to.