I'm a big tabletop gamer, and I long for the days of local multiplayer video games, so I'm all about the current trend of party games making their way to consoles. The gold standard is the Jackbox model, where a whole room full of players will all join the game running on your console via their phone browsers and answer questions, make jokes and score points in digital takes on drawing and wordplay games.
Sony PlayStation's That's You has just dropped, and it's looking to score a piece of that living room gaming pie. It follows the same model -- centered around the PlayStation 4 and TV as the main screen, two to six players will all use their phones to play along. PlayStation is calling the new party game range "PlayLink," and it's offering up a variety of different multiplayer experiences.
Unlike Jackbox's browser-based interface, you'll need to download a companion app for That's You, available for Android and iOS. It does mean you get a wider set of features, like profile photos, games using the camera and better pass-around features like group drawing.
The minigames within That's You are all based on group voting, and that's one of the game's biggest strengths. It's not about being the cleverest, or the funniest. That's You is all about how well you know the other players.
The questions themselves (if you're not writing your own) vary. You might get left-field questions about the apocalypse, or the more mundane, like "who's the most likely to have a dramatic break up?" There are drawing games and picture questions thrown in too, where you might need to mimic a photo or draw something one of the players is likely to have sculpted. In any case, everyone votes who among the players best fits the question. You get points if you've made the same choice as other players.
The concept is devilishly simple, but the execution is fantastic. I mean, you'll probably hate the announcer's grating all-American accent and lame jokes, but it's a shared hatred. It's a bonding experience. Just like everyone piling on one player for every embarrassing answer.
Like any party game, the success of That's You depends on who you play it with. I had the chance to play it with two different groups of friends (one game was a lot less PG-13 and involved much more alcohol than the other), but in both cases it was a riot. But buyer beware, a lot of it relies on what the group brings to the table. It's not so much an icebreaker as it is a way for a group of friends to rip on each other. Which, if you ask me, is perfect.
That's You is out now, and if you're a PlayStation Plus subscriber, it's free until the end of October 2017. It's also only the first PartyLink social game PlayStation has put out. You can read more about the pick-up-and-play multiplayer range here, and start complaining about the wait until the crime thriller Hidden Agenda is released.