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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Forbidden Desert comes to the iPad

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Among our favorite games of last year was Forbidden Desert, a cooperative game where you and your cohorts attempt to survive a crash-landing in a desert, while building a flying ship to escape. The board game is super fun, and I recommend checking it out, but good news for those who don’t like punching out cardboard pieces: it’s now on the iPad as well.

Forbidden Desert

The adaptation is the work of Button Mash Games, which previously did the same for Forbidden Desert’s precursor, Forbidden Island1, and it brings the same attention to detail to Forbidden Desert.

Supporting pass and play for 2-5 players, Forbidden Desert looks great on the iPad–I particularly enjoy the whimsical animations that accompany the use of the gadgets you uncover during the game–and play is faithful to the cardboard version, albeit with fewer pieces to keep track of. You can also save games in progress, which is definitely improvement upon the “don’t touch the dining room table” method of my youth. The only thing sadly lacking is online play, though that’s understandable: as a game, it really thrives on the in-person experience.

Personally, I’m a sucker for a good coop game2, and Forbidden Desert ticks all the boxes: it’s definitely beatable, but it’s still a challenge. I’ve certainly lost as many times as I’ve won, if not more, and that’s generally starting on the Normal setting.

If wandering in the desert sounds like fun to you, well, you might want to have your head examined. Or perhaps you’re exactly the kind of person who will also enjoy Forbidden Desert. You can grab it in the App Store for $7.

  1. An excellent version of that game as well, and currently on sale! 
  2. My friends and I tried Pandemic Legacy for the first time the other night and wow that is a fun but really hard game. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

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