Published on April 1st, 2016 | by Dean Love0
Time Run, London – The Lance of Longinus
I’ve written reviews of a lot of things in my career: video games, board games, books, TV shows, films and very occasionally, music. And music is always the hardest thing to write about. Especially live music. You can’t review a gig or an album by talking about how well produced it is, how well the band play their instruments, the quality of the sleeve artwork, or the décor at the venue. Reviewing music is about having a visceral, emotional reaction to the art and then trying to make sense of that and communicate something of it to the reader over the course of around 300 words.
Reviewing Time Run puts me in the mindset of reviewing music. Does it have the best puzzles? Is the best designed escape room from a mechanical or game design perspective? I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter. Because while you’re playing Time Run, you won’t be thinking about any of that. So you could just stop reading now and experience it yourself. You won’t regret it. Or read on and hear me struggle.
Before it all starts there’s a briefing, which is done by someone fully in character, and he introduces you to a number of recurring characters that appear via video as the game goes on. In our case, he also chatted and bantered with both teams (there are two copies of the room, with teams briefed together) for a good while as, presumably, other staff kept working on getting the rooms ready.
As the name suggests, Time Run is a time travel themed game, and during the course of the game you’ll travel through three distinct time periods. To even reveal what these time periods are would be spoiling aspects of the game, but put aside any notion of these being decorated ‘rooms’. If anything, these are film sets with no fourth wall. They look incredibly realistic, the only slight shame is after the first two, the final one is essentially that room escape staple: an office. Sure there’s a neat twist on it, but it’s just never going to be as impressive as the first couple.
The middle room was the most exciting of the bunch, with some clever puzzles some of which needed a bit of physical activity, and nice amount of teamwork. Interestingly there were a few puzzles where it didn’t seem like the room was actually recognising if you’d succeeded or not – rather it was just being triggered by the hosts when they saw you do the right thing. In other rooms, this sort of thing would be disappointing, potentially taking you out of the story, but Time Run does such a good job at selling its fiction that you can accept things happening by “magic”.
Perhaps the last thing worth noting – all this comes at a price premium. It’s by far the most expensive game in London (and so presumably, the country) but it’s very much clear where the moneys has gone.
Result – we escaped in 57 minutes – one nice thing is you get a ‘report card’ at the end based on how you did. We were told we were “The Zen” – calm under pressure, but maybe a bit too calm sometimes!
Date played: 13 September 2015
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess, Kirsty
Summary: The best game in London