When you’re sent toy to review with the word “breaker” in the title then you know it’s going to be a hit with the kids. They just love feeling like they’re getting around something, which is exactly what they are doing with Safe Breaker.
Much as the name suggests, the aim of the game is to break into the safe. Before you start playing though you load the coins into the back of the safe via the slot that is there. This includes four special coins that you put stickers on – three with diamonds and one with an alarm bell symbol. More on the reason for these four special coins later.
To play the simple game you lay out in front of the safe 18 game cards, which have the numbers 1 to 18 printed on them. With the coins all loaded safely into the vault you can then switch it on using the small slider switch on the underside of the safe. This should make the red light on the door flash meaning that you’re ready to start playing.
You take it in turns by taking a card of your choice and then turning the dial on the front of the safe to that number. At this point you pick up the “spy stethoscope” and connect it to the top of the vault. When you listen via this you hear a heartbeat, and if you listen immediately after turning the dial to the number of your choice then you also hear the number read out loud.
Then it’s time to see if you’ve managed to choose the correct code for the safe or not. If you put your finger on the “fingerprint scanner” (actually just a button, but it gets the kids all excited to think that they have a toy with a finger print scanner in it!) then you will hear one of four sounds through the stethoscope.
Firstly, if you get the code right then you will hear a yihaa sound as the light on the front of the safe goes from red to green and the vault opens. Chances are that you won’t have got it right first time though and so you’re more like to hear either a ping, ping, a boom, boom or a police siren. If you get the ping, ping then it mean that you are incorrect, but the correct number to open the vault is higher than the number you have just entered. The opposite is the case with a boom, boom sound. If you get the police siren then it again means that you’re wrong, but it also means that you’re not going to get a hint as to whether you need to go higher or lower next, and to boot you also have to miss your next turn.
If you’re lucky enough to open the vault then you should randomly get out one, two or three coins – although when we played for the first time we actually got no coins out! The person who opened the vault should take the coins and then close the vault again for the next round. The winner of the game is the person who collects five plain coins, or who collects two diamond coins.
The alarm bell coin means that the police have been alerted and that you need to put all your coins (except the alarm bell coin) back into the slot on the vault and then move on to the next player’s turn. I guess it’s a bit like having to go down a snake in snakes and ladders.
One thing I quite like about this game is the fact that because you’re using the spy stethoscope to listen to what the vault is telling you other players don’t hear this so don’t know what hint you have been given. It adds a bit of an edge to the game.
The recommended age for Safe Breaker is 6+ and I think that is about right. At 7 years old Little Miss C can understand the concept of having to try higher or lower numbers in subsequent turns, but this was a bit lost on Master C, who is very nearly five.
There are a couple of variations you can play on the game by either not keeping the game play cards after you have used them, so other players have to try and remember which numbers other players have tried. For a really complicated version you just don’t use the cards at all, so others have no idea what numbers have been tried.
It took a couple of times of reading through the instruction leaflet to fully understand Safe Breaker, but once I did I realised what a fun game it could be. Not too complicated for children, but also not so easy that adults get bored quickly. I can see this one coming out at family Christmas events in the future.
Produced by Brainstorm, Safe Breaker is for children aged 6+ and for 2 – 4 players. The average game time is estimated at 20 minutes which seems about right to me. Younger children requiring a bit of help mean it might take a bit longer. The game requires 3 AA batteries which are not supplied.
Safe Breaker is available in all good toy shops or you can but it online here.
Disclaimer: I was sent Safe Breaker for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.