“Quick in! Quick out! Nobody gets hurt!”
This is the mantra of most blokes who choose to go shopping with their family – but it is also the phrase that greets you when you start this game. Bank Attack, by Ideal Games, is an electronic co-operative game for two to four players. Working together, gamers need to take instructions, be quick and efficient, and pull off the heist of the century. The aim is to rob a bank of 50 million. It is a like a cross between Bop It! and Simon Says.
Each player takes the role of one of the criminal gang. Up to four roles may be assigned; the money man, the lookout, the explosives expert and the hacker. These are indicated by labels on each of the four sides of the bank vault. Up to eight pieces of equipment will be needed to break in. This is an electronic game so all of the instructions are given by the game itself in a slight American drawl. There are five levels of difficulty with a bonus level. This is only unlocked if the fifth level is completed without a glitch. A single bank vault attempt will take about five minutes if successful.
Following instructions, each player collects different items and tools. Players must use their equipment at the correct time, within moments of being given the task. This is performed by pushing the appropriate button on their side of the vault. Some of the commands will tell players to pass equipment between each other. During the initial phase of the game the equipment is distributed, and players need to keep tabs on who has what pieces.
As the game progresses, so the intensity of the instructions increase, and the time permitted to complete each task becomes shorter. This pressure is “helped” by a warning buzzer that increases in frequency. Any errors in handling equipment, or failure to deploy tools in a timely fashion is also rewarded with a warning. Too many mistakes and an alarm will sound and the game is over.
As different tasks are completed, so rewards are earned. Initially “just” one million at a time but as the game advances more money is won. The hope is that by completing the game, a total of fifty million will be released. At this point the bank vault opens and 12 “gold” bars fall from it in a dramatic fashion.
Will you and your team escape with the gold bullion, or will you get caught red handed?
This is a straightforward, reaction- driven challenge. It is perfect for families with children and young teenagers. Certainly the initial levels are simple and quite slow. When we first started the game on level one it was almost as though we could carry on with a normal conversation and play Bank Attack subconsciously in the background. Anything beyond level two really does take your full attention.
The bank vault is made of tough plastic with four buttons on each face. It is quite lightweight and in the heat of a game it could be pushed over by exuberant players who are desperate to “use” their equipment in time.
The bank contains 12 small golden bars. These are plastic pieces about 12mm in length. These could be a risk for families with very young children as a swallowing or choking hazard. That said, this is a game for children of ages seven years or older. They would enjoy the tension and fun. Adults will enjoy Bank Attack as a quick filler game, as a warm up act before a more weighty co-operative number.
The game components are very small, orange, plastic pieces. Whilst their shape may represent the equipment, their size and lack of distinguishing marks can make identification difficult. Similarly, as they are very small, passing them quickly is quite a challenge.
However, they are far more robust and more easily handled than if cards were used instead. The tools have no function except as an indicator as to who may need to push their button at a given time. At first I had assumed that to “use the drill” I needed to put the drill into a slot. No such dexterity is needed. A player just needs to push their button if they have the drill in front of them. An observation would be that Ideal games could have made these tools larger.
Bank Attack is great fun. The rules are very simple – just obey the instructions as quickly as possible. The voice commands are reasonably clear to hear and understand. However, as in real life, in the confusion and tension of the game, sometimes players might mishear what is said and make mistakes. This is compounded by the warning alarm that sounds throughout the game. The alarm becomes increases in intensity too. It all adds to the suspense and drama.
Although Bank Attack is an easy game to play, it is a very hard game to beat. The first two levels are child’s play. Level three is straightforward as long as players keep their wits about them. Level four is hard and will make your pulse race and blood pressure rise. Some players can get a bit “shouty” at this point. Whilst it is fun to observe how different people respond to stressful situations, getting flustered serves no purpose. This is all about teamwork and perhaps shows who might do well in a crisis. Level five is difficult.
Even with the experience of several weeks of play, and with four “young” adults working together early one afternoon, we have finished this level just once. Even then we did not complete our bank raid perfectly – so have still not unlocked the bonus level.
Bank Attack is one of those games that should make a regular appearance at a games night. I might even suggest a copy is put an office coffee room at lunchtime. It breaks the ice. Players need to be able to listen and act quickly. I’m not into drinking games but could also see this little challenge forming the basis of entertainment later in an evening.
Bank Attack is a lot of fun. It works for all ages. It takes seconds to set up and a few minutes to play. As an electronic game it does need 3x AA batteries to work. (these are not included with the purchase of the game). I could see this game being used as a team bonding challenge or in an office to make people work together. If Bank Attack was in the middle of the table in a staff room at work, there would be plenty of fun and laughter during breaks. Perhaps it should be considered as a tax-deductible piece of equipment to improve team morale. If not, families of all ages can still have plenty of fun with this game.