Miss out on storming Area 51 last year? Now your family has the opportunity to Break In instead!
PlayMonster’s Break In Area 51 is a collaborative, escape-room-style experience, designed for 1-6 players ages 12 and up. But instead of getting out of a situation, the goal is break in. In the game, kids and families play as an alien who needs to rescue its spaceship before returning home.
This is the second game in the Break In series from PlayMonster, following Break In Alcatraz, which launched last year. In the Break In games, players must follow a series of clues in order to solve puzzles that lead to physically unfolding layers of the game — In this case, going deeper into the base to retrieve your spaceship and solving puzzles that reveal new story clues that aid in your journey. Gamers must use alien abilities and tools to keep from being seen, or else they become a prisoner of Area 51 and never get to return home.
Open the box and the game begins — but don’t proceed further until instructed to do so, because that could spoil the surprises that lurk inside. The game includes its one-of-a-kind, expanding, 3D game board; cards; solution sticks; some puzzles; and a “Quiss Ar-may knife.” Be sure to keep the knife close, as it is the greatest asset for revealing hints. The cards are all individually numbered, but cards 1-3 are the most important, playing the role of tour guide throughout the game and helping keep track of which puzzle to solve next.
The outside of the compound has many clues to explore and hunt for. For every odd symbol players find, there’s a matching clue card that gives information on how to proceed. Some puzzles will provide another symbol to find in the deck, while other puzzles require a symbol, a color, and a number to solve. When players think they’ve solved a puzzle, they can check the answer by using one of the eight solution sticks. Pay close attention to the numbers on the box that indicate where to slot in the solution sticks!
Area 51 is extremely challenging, especially if attempting it as a single-player experience(The difficulty level is rated 3 out of 4). It is also filled with a variety of different puzzle types that will keep gamers of all ages on their toes. Thankfully, there are plenty of hints to rely on for the most confusing puzzles. Whenever players become stumped, pull out that Quiss Ar-may knife and use its red filter to reveal hints and secrets that keep the game moving. When players get really stumped, there are also detailed puzzle solutions available on playmonster.com. There’s no penalty for needing hints and the game isn’t timed, so players can progress at a pace that suits everyone’s skill levels. However, an average game should take around two hours.
The game does well at fully immersing players in its world. It’s filled with loads of character specifics, and the board’s environment, artwork, and design provide great worldbuilding — almost like something from a movie. The act of actually breaking into the box every time you move onto another level is very satisfying and rewarding, too. Also, unlike some other escape-room-style board games, you can reassemble Area 51 for future replays of the adventure.
The Break In series features games that have unique, interactive game board designs that you won’t see anywhere else. The goal of revealing each new level is encouraging and motivating, and the experience is a great, screen-free way to keep tweens or teens entertained and working together.
When the adventure is all over, just remember it’s OK to trust the humans around you again!