Panic Island! – Oldchap Games – Review

Panic Island! cover

Theme and What is it?


Panic Island! is the cooperative memory game in two minutes tops!

In Panic Island!, you are on Gouga Island among other Cro-Magnons who live in harmony with the famous Dodos. Sadly, one morning, the volcano erupts. You need to flee!

As clan chiefs, you have 2 minutes to save as many Cro-Magnons, Dodos, and Eggs as you can before the Volcano destroys the island.

And don’t forget the raft and its oar or you won’t go anywhere!

Panic Island! is a quick memory game for 1-8 players.

Gameplay Mechanics


The mechanics for this game are Memory, Matching, Timed, and Cooperative Play. 

The cards are shuffled and laid out in a 5×5 grid (25 cards total: 16 Character cards, 1 Paddle card, 1 Raft card, 1 Volcano card, and 6 Action cards).

On each player’s turn, they may flip 2 cards to try to save the inhabitants of Gouga Island and find Supply Cards necessary to escape the island.

Dodos are saved by Cave Dwellers of the same color.

Eggs are saved by Dodos of the same color.

When a Dodo Card or an Egg Card is saved, remove that card from play and place it next to the island. The other card stays on the island and in the game; flip it face-down so the next player can take their turn.

If neither card is saved on a player’s turn, flip them both face-down (and try to remember their locations for next time!).

There is a one-time-per-game effect called the Gouga Effect and it is the only way to save Cave Dwellers. To use this effect, one player calls out a character (egg, dodo, or cave dweller) and flips a card. If the flipped card matches the character called out, that card is saved and it is the next player’s turn. They also call out a character and flip a card. Again, if it matches, that card is saved. Continue this way until a flipped card does not match the called-out character. If the flipped card does not match (or an Action Card is revealed), the Gouga Effect ends and play continues as before.

The game ends as soon as the timer is up or the Volcano Card is flipped.

Initial Impressions


The game’s tin box looks nice and is unusual… It’s colorful tin on the front and back, but the sides are fabric. The entire box unzips to hold and protect the game pieces.

The cards are colorful and of good quality for this type of game. Iconography on the Action Cards is clear and will be easily understood after a couple plays. The Action Cards instruct players to do silly things, like spinning around once or piling their hands on the revealed card, or switching seats. Additional action cards provide lasting effects like making players play with their chins on the table, play with one eye closed, or playing in silence (no one can speak).

Game Build Quality


As mentioned above, the quality of the components is good for this type of game. The tin box looks durable, though sometimes it is a little difficult to unzip around the corners of the tin. The manual appears to be thorough with no spelling errors.

Artistic Direction


Artwork in this game is bright and colorful, appropriate for the target audience.

Based on the artwork, I believe this game will be friendly for color-blind players. The artwork for each “suit” (dodo, egg, cave dweller) looks different in the two colors of the game. The action cards have icons at the bottom that remind you what to do.

Fun Factor


This would be a fine choice for a quick filler between heavier games, or for a short amusement before all the members of your gaming party arrive. If you enjoy memory games, you’ll certainly like this game. 

There’s not enough game here to appeal to serious board gamers, but it’s a fun diversion. It plays up to 8 players, so if you’re a gamer and have non-gamer family coming over, this is a good selection.

Once you get the hang of the original game, there are additional Action cards that can be swapped in for some variety.

There is a cellophane envelope labeled “DO NOT OPEN” included in the game. Once opened, these additional cards offer a couple variations that will give the game more life.

Panic Island! Do Not Open

Age Range & Weight


This is a very light game (BGG rates it 1.00/5.00) which would be suitable for kiddos ages 8+. If you enjoy memory games with just a smidge of variety and challenge, you’ll enjoy Panic Island!.



Panic Island! brings to the table a cute theme on a memory game. The colorful artwork and zany Action cards make this a great selection for younger gamers. There’s not enough strategy here to please serious gamers, but that’s not what a trip to Gouga Island is about.

Pro-tip: Remove the cardboard protector around the timer. It’s useful only for shipping and takes up precious room inside the tin. Unless you plan on using the game box as a bowling ball, you won’t miss the cardboard (and will appreciate the extra room in the box).