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When an earlier incarnation of You Don't Know Jack hit the App Store last year, it captured the look and spirit of the long-running trivia favorite -- including the risqué subject matter and abrasively hilarious narration -- but its single-player-only approach eschewed the multiplayer mentality that made the series such a beloved institution. Luckily, Jellyvision went back to the drawing board and came back with an inventive asynchronous take on the formula, which near-perfectly recreates the fantastic feel and flow of the bigger versions in mobile-friendly, bite-sized chunks.
Using the popular Facebook version as a base, You Don't Know Jack lets you tackle brief episodes that feature five segments split between different styles of trivia. One might be delivered as simple question with multiple possible answers, while another may have you typing in a popular phrase that sounds like the gibberish one on the screen; and the culminating Jack Attack delivers quick-fire word association under a prescribed theme, like matching "lion" to "Mufasa" in a string of Disney animals. Each full episode only takes about five minutes to complete, which makes it a comfortable fit for a commute or break from work.
Whatever the style of play, the series' trademark approach infuses a lot of pop culture references (and jabs) and feels pretty current. For example: "If Lamar Odom used an 'Odometer' to measure his ability to keep up with the Kardashians, what information would he be able to attain from it?" Smartly, the universal iOS version creates the sensation of active multiplayer by letting you play whenever you want and looping in the performances of other Facebook users (including friends), making it seem like they're playing alongside you when they incorrectly answer Jack Attack prompts. It's an intelligent solution for mobile that keeps the game engaging without making you search through multiplayer lobbies or arrange times to play with friends.
One free game can be played each day, while others must be purchased with in-game coins, which are meagerly awarded for leveling up your profile and playing episodes. That structure works well if you plan to hit an episode or two per day, though extended play can get pricey. Also, the ability to buy score-boosting power-ups takes some of the shine off of the competitive side of the experience, but the huge entertainment offered by this remarkably polished app still shines through.
The bottom line. Lively, hilarious, and well-presented with a wealth of content, You Don't Know Jack's new iOS multiplayer revision warrants a return visit each and every day.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Amazingly clever trivia questions with a mix of question styles. Great asynchronous approach is a smart fit for iPhone and iPad. Immaculately presented, losing little in translation.
Playing more than a game a day can get expensive, quick. Ability to buy power-ups disrupts the competitive balance.