Forbidden Island

Down To The Wire Excitement

Ever had the feeling that doom is just one step away? In Forbidden Island, it pretty much always is. The island is constantly sinking at faster and faster rates, which means that every turn taken is a turn that counts.

I’ve heard Forbidden Island described as “Pandemic Lite.” While that’s a fairly accurate description from a game mechanics perspective, it’s also a wonderful co-op game in its own right. The fact that you are trying to collect treasures on a dangerous mythical island makes it an exciting adventure; it’s one thing to save the world, it’s another to grab treasure and cheat death in the process. And that’s what Forbidden Island is all about.

The Breakdown

  • Decisions: 3/5. Like I said before, this game is a race against time, so each turn really counts. That said, the available actions are somewhat limited, and usually (in my experience) there end up being one or two “alpha” players that effectively convince everyone else what to do. This isn’t the end of the world (pun intended), but it does mean that there may well be some team members who are not making decisions of their own.
  • Artwork: 5/5. It’s hard to think what could have been done better in the art department. Each land area is beautifully illustrated, and the little treasure figurines make the game much more exciting than a cardboard cutout would have.
  • Replayability: 4/5. All you need to do is arrange the tiles in a different configuration, and boom, it’s a new challenge. Also, depending on when certain cards come into play, you may have an easy start or an uphill battle from the first.
  • Awesomeness: 3/5. I like this game, I do, but I wouldn’t play it all the time.


Bottom line: Forbidden Island offers a lot of game and a unique gaming experience for a pretty low price tag. I’ll have to try Forbidden Desert next and see which one I like better!

Forbidden Island
  • Decisions 60% 60%
  • Artwork 100% 100%
  • Replayability 80% 80%
  • Awesomeness 60% 60%