What's Eric Playing? #310: EXIT - The Forgotten Island [Spoiler-Free]
Full disclosure: A review copy of EXIT: The Forgotten Island was provided by KOSMOS.
Alright, this is it for another hot minute -- I did a whole month of EXIT game reviews, and now we're here at the end of November. What exciting times. I think, by my math, that means there are three more to check out before I've powered through all 9, so I'll start plugging away on those whenever I end up getting them. In the meantime, why not check out my thoughts on The Forgotten Island!
In EXIT: The Forgotten Island, I think you managed to accidentally strand yourself on an island. It's not quite as maliciously intended as some of your other being-locked-in-places (BLIPs) adventures, but still, you'd like to leave. On the plus side, if you survive, there's a chance of finding a lost pirate treasure. Hopefully not the kind that turns you into zombies or makes at least five movies based off a fairly thin conceit, but honestly, hard to say. Get your crew together and start solving riddles. Will you be able to escape this desolate rock?
For this game, you can kinda leave the random components in the box, for now. Take out the book and the cards. The cards should be split into Answer Cards, Riddle Cards, and Hint Cards, and spread out accordingly. Do not look at any of those. There's also this mysterious disk:
Once you've pulled all that out, make sure everyone understands the rules and how to play and it's time to go!
If this is your first time reading an EXIT review, welcome! You've been trapped on a deserted island and are trying to both find the pirate's fortune and escape (slight preference on escaping but if you can find the fortune and escape then you're in business). To do so, you will have to open locks using the disk that you were given along with the game. Many of these locks and puzzles can be found in the book included with the game, but even more exist on various Riddle Cards in the Riddle Card deck. As you solve them, you'll enter codes into the disk that will show some Answer Card for that puzzle. If you're correct, you'll earn more Riddle Cards. If you solve all the riddles, you escape!
If you find that you're stuck, you can also check a Hint Card for the puzzle (usually the one with the matching symbol) to see where you might be encountering problems. That will usually count as a penalty at the end of the game, but don't worry! If you get no new information from that Hint, it doesn't count for endgame purposes, so don't overvalue those cards!
Player Count Differences
This was another one where I could see it being alright at higher player counts, but I'm not positive. We played with 3 / 2 and there were times where I'm not sure one player had a ton to do, but there were a lot of opportunities for independent work, so that definitely helps. I'd say definitely recommended at 2, and probably a tentative recommendation at 3?
Pretty much the first thing you're gonna want to do is translate those disk icons into numbers. You know you're going to get numbers as the answers for some of the puzzles, if you've played any of the EXIT games before (if you didn't, well, now you do).
As I'll always recommend, if you're feeling a bit stuck (maybe 3 - 5 minutes with no real progress?) there's no shame in using a Hint Card; they're occasionally really useful! And if they're not, they don't count against you.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
A really good set of puzzles. A few of my favorite puzzles are in this box, honestly. There are a lot of different, fun challenges, and I think that they really do a good job mixing them together without adding in too many puzzles that are kind of obtuse or roadblocks.
A few puzzles can be solved independently. It's nice, especially at higher player counts. The less linear the game, the better suited it is to larger groups. Naturally, some sense of progression is important, but it sure beats four people all trying to handle the same tiny components.
The icons -> numbers conversion isn't as obtuse as it has been in other EXIT games. I just appreciate that. Sometimes it's kind of a mess or the icons are hard to distinguish from each other, but this one isn't too bad. Hopefully that'll be the standard going forward.
Almost strangely text-heavy? This may slow your time down if you're playing with more players and you want to read the text on the cards out loud. For some, it's gonna be easiest to just have one person kinda solve the riddle themselves to try and conserve time.
The art / theme didn't do much for me for this one, either. Not sure if I just don't enjoy pirate-themed stuff that much (I do own ... 0 pirate-themed games, I think, so that might be a helpful clue), or if I just didn't like the particular implementation, here. Probably my second-least favorite theme (The Sinister Mansion is my least favorite, of the ones I've played thus far).
Overall: 8.75 / 10
Overall, EXIT: The Forgotten Island is superb! Like I said, this probably had my favorite puzzles of the EXIT games I’ve played so far (though my overall favorite puzzle still goes to The Pharaoh’s Tomb). It also felt smartly designed — the puzzles had a good sense of progression, we didn’t really ever get stuck, and we could independently make progress on a variety of puzzles to attack the problem from multiple parts and angles. My major complaints are that there was just a lot of text to get through, with this one (so try to avoid reading out loud if you don’t have to; that’ll just slow you down) and that I’m just not the biggest fan of pirate themes. That said, neither bothered me too much, so I’d definitely recommend this one. If you’re looking for another foray into the EXIT series or just a fun puzzley escape room-type game, EXIT: The Forgotten Island is a lot of fun, and a great addition to the series!
If you enjoyed this review and would like to support What's Eric Playing? in the future, please check out my Patreon. Thanks for reading!