During the great indoors-ening of the past year, my group of friends has had to find ways to hang out and do things together while staying in our own homes. Most of us being into gaming, this usually defaulted to playing some kind of multiplayer game while chatting on Discord. More often than not, that game ended up being one of the Jackbox Party Packs.
Easy to set up, fun to play, and a game that everyone can partake in whether they have a high-end gaming PC or just a simple smartphone. Party games like the Jackbox series have become a regular part of our weekends, and I’m sure many others as well.
With the popularity these games have had even before the events of the past year, it’s only natural that other developers would jump in as well. Wide Right Interactive’s entry foregoes the “pack of multiple games” approach so established by the Jackbox series, opting to focus on a singular game. One that evokes the feeling of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Developed and published by Wide Right Interactive, What the Dub?! was released on April 8th, 2021, for Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and PC via Steam. The PC version was played for this review.
What the Dub?!‘s premise is a simple one. All players are shown a clip from an old movie, commercial, or some other kind of ancient stock footage. A line of dialogue is deleted in the clip, and each player has to enter their own line to replace it. The players’ lines are then played back, dubbed in a generic robotic voice, and players vote on their favorite. Most points wins.
Much of the enjoyment from this game solely rests on the kind of people you play it with. Are your friends quick-witted? Do you have a ton of in-jokes that you can put to use? Does your group all have a similar sense of humor? If so, then you’re likely to have a great time…as long as you have at least two friends to play with, as What the Dub?! requires a minimum of three players.
Most of the clips that I encountered in the game were set up well for humorous dubs. Cheesy on-screen acting, reactions from the on-screen actors after the dub line…it’s the little things that set up for some great moments. A few clips, though, just didn’t provide much setup. There just isn’t much to go off of in these situations where the line delivered before your dub is something as mundane as “how are you doing?”
The clips are all of varying lengths, mostly under ten seconds. Which is good, because at the end of every round of the game, you have to watch the clip over and over to hear each player’s dub. Every player working with the same clip does create an even playing field, but having to see each clip up to six times in a row each round does get a bit repetitive.
Our group also ran across a couple of issues during gameplay. During the time players are inputting their dubs, there’s an option on the screen to see the script of the clip that just played – a good idea in theory, to be able to reference the clip if you weren’t paying attention (or have been partying too hard). However, for both myself and a few of my friends, pressing this option would instead submit whatever dub we had typed so far. With no option to go back and edit after submitting, that essentially meant an automatic loss on the round.
Also, at the conclusion of a round, the host of the game has the option to start a new game with new people, a new game with the same group, or quit. A couple of times at this point, the game would lock up on me, not allowing me to select an option. My only choice was to force-close the game and restart it.
Even with these issues we encountered, though, my friends and I pushed through because…well, the game was just fun. It feels like a budget Jackbox game at times, but it mostly captures the same humor and charm. The only element that really missed the mark for me was the in-game announcer. What the Dub?! is clearly going for the kind of snark you get from Jackbox announcers, but most of the time it comes off as blunt or just plain mean.
Alright, this was a much shorter review than is typical for us here at Gamer Escape. And really, that’s because there’s not much to review. What the Dub?! is a fairly simple party game, not weighed down by any kind of intricate gameplay mechanics or fancy stories. Get some friends together on Discord or load it up with your audience on Twitch, grab your nearest phone/tablet/smart fridge/what have you, and have a good time.
The little bugs here and there can certainly make it feel that you’re playing a budget title at time ($7.19 on sale on Steam at the time of writing). But for a single, simple party game, there’s really no need to go high-budget. Just give the players the tools to have a good time, and they’ll do the rest.
What the Dub?! knows what it wants to be, and it does it well, straight-forward and with very little frills. If you have a friend group that already enjoys the Jackbox series and other quick and easy party games, there’s little reason not to add this one to your rotation.
Review copy provided by Wide Right Interactive for PC. Screenshots taken by reviewer. Featured image courtesy of Wide Right Interactive.