Through the good times and the bad – Time Machine @ Trapped In Bury

This review of Time Machine is based on a visit from January 2016.

Time Machine photo

“Come solving faster. Obey your master. Your time ticks faster. Obey your master. Master.”

Continuing the theme of names, one that I absolutely love is Trapped In Bury. Not perhaps for the reasons the owner intended (after all ‘Bury’ isn’t really part of the name) but because being ‘trapped in Bury’ is definitely something you would want to try and escape from. Perfect!

Trapped In is in a shared use old mill building half way between Bury town centre and the M66. As a result there’s a good size free car park on site. Getting into the building proved quite a challenge as despite the instructions on the outside we still weren’t getting anywhere. Luckily someone came out of the building while we were looking confused and we were able to walk through the held door. Take that security system! Inside the building is quite quirky with astroturf on the floor and artwork on the walls. One of the other units is Arcade Club, a collection of retro and modern video games. Entrance to there is half price after you escape which could be fun, but we didn’t have time to visit on this occasion. The toilets were available and unnoteworthy, just how I like them. Similarly the reception area was nicely decorated with a few seats. Good start. On to the room, Time Machine:

Mad professor Elias Ivarsson from Sweden has been creating the world’s first inter dimensional time machine, capable of travelling to any place or time in a matter of seconds, and now he thinks he’s had a breakthrough and created a working prototype. You and your team are responding to a newspaper advert recruiting guinea pigs to test his creation. The risks are clear, but Elias assures you that everything is safe as long as you’re not away for more than 60 minutes as power reserves are limited. Climb aboard his marvellous creation and prepare to become a part of history as you are the first humans to travel in space and time. Choose your time and place and go explore, but make sure you’re back before the power is exhausted.

 

The good start continued with the first impressions of the room. While not dazzlingly beautiful there was a definite charm to our shiny vessel. There was also some fairly impressive technology for the workings of the time machine which explains what happens next. Unfortunately that isn’t built into your actual escape so we completely ignored it until we got stuck and back-tracked later on. Instead we quickly progressed through the pretty simple puzzles and were on through to our destination, which was, well, surprising.

Last year Shut Up and Sit Down (my favourite board game site) reviewed the time-travelling game T.I.M.E. Stories. In it they posed the question, if you have all of history (and possibly the future) to explore, why would you go to the same place as so many other games? I was immediately reminded of this as I entered the second room, and overwhelming banality. I’ve never before encountered such a change from nice to, well, not. While I pondered this the rest of the team carried on with their impressive progress and soon we were on to what appeared to be the last puzzle.

We spent about five minutes on this checking and double-checking every possibility. It turns out we even came close to the correct method at one point, but the leap from there to actually solving it was still gigantic. Then the screen pinged with a hint. But this didn’t feel like a gentle nudge based on what we’d tried (or not) so far. This felt like it was copy and pasted from a file called TheHintThatEveryoneWillNeed.txt. It gave a number of ‘suggestions’ that weren’t clued in the room, and involved straining your eyes to see the almost invisible. While I pondered if that had really just happened, someone else solved it and we were back to the future/reception area.

Even with that delay on mission(:) impossible we still escaped in just under 30 minutes. For any room that’s unacceptable. And considering this is supposed to be their harder room it’s quite scary. Time travel enthusiasts may want to see what their version of a time machine looks like. Sadists may be tempted to try and solve the last puzzle with a hint (and see just how drab a room can look). But most people will want to look for a bigger challenge and more fun in a different time and place.

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