Drawful 2 is a party game that anyone can play, even those who don't play video games. This is something I certainly appreciate. Most of my friends don't play games, so it's always great to have a title like this that everyone will be able to have fun with. But this is also its downside as well. Playing Drawful 2 is like being written a prescription for fun. There's a lot of enjoyment to be had If used at the right time with the correct group. But if either of those two components are not met, the sense of fun will just not stick.
Before I can describe the game, a fundamental aspect of the experience is the control set up. Specifically, Drawful 2 follows the same formula as the other recent releases from Jackbox Games (formerly Jellyvision Games). You boot up the game and are presented with a website URL (www.jackbox.tv) and a randomly generated four-digit game code (the code is always something simple like GX42). All the players are then asked to enter their name. When all of the players are present and accounted for, the game starts. While this sounds convoluted on paper, it's actually quite an elegant system. The beauty of it is that almost everyone already has a controller on their person at all times: a smartphone, a laptop with a mouse, a tablet, and almost any device with Wi-Fi and a touch screen input method. It's in this manner that Drawful 2, like the rest of the Jackbox Games recent lineup, excels. Your grandma might have a huge amount of hesitation if you hand her a joycon. But if she's using her smartphone that she's already familiar with? Well, you might just have a great game with grandma!
The amount of controller options is truly pheonomenal. For one of my games we had three players using smartphone, one player using an iPad, another using a Wi-Fi-capable drawing tablet device, and another using a laptop with a mouse. All of the devices connected and operated flawlessly. I would not be surprised if other devices worked as well.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Drawful 2 is, well, a game all about drawing silly and crazy things. Your input device must have a touch screen or a mouse in order to play because drawing is a must. Therefore players using devices with a larger screen, such as an iPad, will have a fundamental advantage. Trying to draw with your finger on a small smartphone screen is no easy task. But making terrible drawings is half the fun.
During the game, each player is presented with a specific phrase on their device that only they can see. These range from silly to mundane. The game's structure works like this:
1. Each player is given an individual prompt. For example, you might get "Pope Party."
2. Each player draws their drawing.
3. One player's drawing is then presented on the television set (each player's drawing will eventually presented and the order is random).
5. Each player (except the artist whose picture is displayed) must then provide an answer as to what they feel your drawing could be. This can be as silly, serious, or crazy as they wish.
6. Once all the answers are in, all players are able to guess as to what answer they feel actually matches the drawing using their controllers (phones or otherwise). The answers are displayed on the phone and they just select one.
7. If a player guesses correctly what the artist was actually trying to draw, they get points as well as the artist. If they guess the answer that another player made, only that other player receives any points.
8. Then you wash, rinse, and repeat for a few rounds. The player with the highest point total at the end of a few rounds wins.
The big catch here is the people you are playing with. Not everyone will have fun with such chaos. Not everyone is going to enjoy something this chaotic and crazy. My father, for example, is an intelligent man but the man doesn't have a creative or imaginative bone in his body. Playing this game with him would be such a bummer that it would drag the party down. You need to play this sort of game with a sense of whimsy and to embrace the chaos.
Just as en example, one of our group's players was given the word "bidet" but had no idea what one was and instead drew a bird. While we were all surprised to find out what the word actually was, we all had a good laugh. You need to be able to roll with the punches to have a good time with this game.
One of the problems is that there is no eraser function on what you draw. I understand that this was purposefully left out of the game to cause chaos, but we all just found it to be absolutely infuriating to not be able to erase. Another problem is that you have to have a minimum of four players in order to even play the game. Although, truth be told, any less than four players would be far less than fun so I really cannot fault the developers for placing this restriction in place.
One of my favorite game functions is that after each drawing is made, all players are allowed to award "favorite points" to answers they know are wrong but are still fun. The player at the end of the game is crowned "most liked." They don't get any points for this, and if they haven't won the game they still lose, but it's a fun little consolation prize that is utterly meaningless.
While I certainly recommend Drawful 2, I cannot help but feel you might just be better off with purchase of Jackbox Party Pack. Specifically, Jackbox Party Pack 4 which contains a similar, albeit more restrictive drawing game called Civic Doodle. While it's a lot more condensed than Drawful 2, the Party Pack also comes with four other party games all similar in nature. So, as a standalone product Drawful 2 is great fun and definitely recommended, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s a better purchase. Regardless, Drawful 2 is a ton of fun. Just make sure you play it with the right people.
Overall, as a stand alone product, Drawful 2 a dang good party game and fun for many families and groups, provided they can laugh at chaos and can tolerate the drawing aspects.
P.S. If you are all adults, I highly recommend playing this game with alcohol. Much fun was had in this way. Your mileage may vary though.