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April 10, 2014 / Jett

Forbidden Island on iPad Review

The first in the Forbidden series of board games makes its way to the iPad courtesy of Button Mash Games and Gamewright. In it, you and your team of adventurers are trying to gather four mystical treasures while the island you’re standing on is sinking. Can you make it off of the island with the goods before everything is submerged by the ocean?

As a board game, Forbidden Island is designed to be a co-operative experience for up to 4 players. The iPad game supports that, though it also works well as a solo adventure. Simply assume the roles of 2-4 players and you’re good.During each player’s turn, they have three actions that can be used to move, shore up tiles or trade treasure cards. After that, they’ll collect two treasure cards from the deck and then flip the flood cards to see which locations will be submerged or sink to the bottom. Your goal is to collect four of each treasure card and cash them in at specific locations to get the corresponding treasure before rushing back to the helicopter pad and flying away. While there’s only one way for you to win, there are many ways for you to lose, which is part of the challenge and fun that comes with the experience.

Since this is a direct port of the board game, all of my thoughts regarding the game itself are the same. I think this is a solid cooperative board game that works particularly well as a gateway into the designer board game scene. However, I also take issue with the way in which treasure cards are collected. The mechanic used here is borrowed from Pandemic, which makes sense in that game, but I don’t think it makes much thematic sense here. This takes away some of the enjoyment for me, but  the mechanic is still fun.

The iPad version does a great job of translating the board game into an experience that plays well on the tablet. Everything you need to do is easily controlled through the game’s clean interface. If you want to play with a number of different map layouts, you can purchase all of them for an extra $0.99.

Forbidden Island is a solid board game and iPad game. There are very few extra bells and whistles that are used to embellish the core experience, though it does what it needs to do. For fans of the board game that want a digital fix or curious players that aren’t ready to commit to buying the physical box, consider giving this one a shot.

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