Use Your Words Review

By Jonathan Barnes,
As the husband to a wife who loves to entertain, I often get drafted into providing some post-dinner fun. While Cards Against Humanity gets heavy use amongst our friends and family, the introduction of party games like the Scene It franchise, You Don't Know Jack, and the The Jackbox Party Pack upped the digital entertainment value to our soirees. That being said, when I was presented with the opportunity to review Use Your Words, the latest party game from Smiling Buddha Games, I jumped at the chance. I was hoping for another game that friends would ask us to break out or, taking things a step further, ask us to host a party so that they could play. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Use Your Words is a shallow party game that pales in comparison to others in the genre.

It's a party!  ...sort of.It's a party! ...sort of.

Like other party games for the Xbox One, Use Your Words has players interact with the game via a smart device. Any phone, tablet, or laptop can easily log into the game's website, type in the unique room code, and allow the user to play along with up to five other friends (additional friends over the six-player limit can participate and vote for favorite answers in "Spectator Mode"). On a technical level, this functions very well and the game doesn't make use of any timing-based rounds that require quick buzzing, which has plagued games like You Don't Know Jack in this format. Unfortunately, the game did have occasional (but severe) stuttering issues with film clips and booted us to the dashboard a few times.

Sub the Title allows you to create some MST3K type of humor."Sub the Title" allows you to create some MST3K type of humor.

Games in Use Your Words last around ten minutes and you'll go through five rounds and a final lightning round to score points. Unfortunately, there's very little variety within those rounds. By my count there are four different types of round: "Sub the Title" has you insert a subtitle into a foreign language film clip, "Extra! Extra!" has you write a newspaper headline for a photo, "Blank O Matic" has you fill in the blank to a sentence, and the final round, "Survey Says" gives you 60 seconds to answer each of three prompts. With such little variety, Use Your Words gets stale after only a few games.

When playing the game, you're encouraged to enter in your own funny answers, but if you're someone who occasionally struggles with being funny and creative at the same time, you can always click the "House Decoy" button and let the game play an answer for you. Doing so will net you fewer points than if you create an original submission, but if any of your friends pick the canned answer, they will get points deducted from their score. As an added bonus, games will always have one "House Decoy" tossed into the mix to attempt to throw people off. Use Your Words also features a "Family Mode" which brings prompts and "House Decoys" down to a PG rating so that younger gamers can get in on the fun.

Don't believe everything you read.Don't believe everything you read.

On the achievement front, Use Your Words is a game that's going to require some boosting chicanery to complete. Either that, or you're going to need to have seven web-enabled devices in your house and be a master multi-tasker. To get the full completion, you will need to play 1999 minigames and find some way to capture every point in a six-player game. On the flip side, if you need a quick score boost, you can easily get a few hundred achievement points playing solo with a few devices.

I've got 99 problems... but this game has a few, too.I've got 99 problems... but this game has a few, too.


Summary

Use Your Words is the latest in Xbox One party games, but it is by no means the best. Its lack of variety makes the experience repetitive and boring after only a few games. Furthermore, while Use Your Words is priced cheaper than other party games on Xbox Live, its competitors have greater variety, depth, and replay value. Unless you're aching for a new party game and have already milked every last drop of fun out of all of the others available, Use Your Words is worth a pass.
3 / 5
Use Your Words
Positives
  • Another in the long line of party games for Xbox One
  • "Family Mode" encourages kids to play along.
Negatives
  • ...another in the long line of party games for Xbox One.
  • Lack of variety in game types
  • Grows stale quickly
Ethics
The reviewer spent approximately three hours playing with family and friends, as well as a few solo runs with multiple devices. Along the way he unlocked 9 out of 22 achievements. A copy of this game was provided by the developer for the purpose of the review.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.