This review of Air Traffic Control is based on a visit from March 2016.
Despite my reservations that their ‘harder room’ was too easy, I’m a sucker for a Groupon so decided to return to play Trapped In‘s easier game, Air Traffic Control:
Terrorists have attacked the air traffic control tower, kidnapping the air traffic controllers and damaging vital computer systems. You and your team have been called from a nearby airport to come in to get the place back online. You must act quickly as there are planes circling above and they only have enough fuel left to fly for one hour. You must succeed to prevent a massive mid-air disaster. Find the clues to gain access to the control tower and get everything back online before time runs out.
Wow, terrorists! Although, if you look closely, the same amount of menace could be caused by someone spilling their drink. I don’t think there’s any reason to panic. You’ve been called in from a nearby airport’s IT department because presumably all the local ones have gone looking for the missing air traffic controllers, which seems like a much bigger cause for concern. Although I guess the fact the pilots are circling, rather than just going to a different airport, does apply some urgency. It must be during one of those storms that stops you going anywhere else, like in Die Hard 2.
But we haven’t even got to the game yet. We arrived at the reception a little late, about two minutes before our scheduled start time. But we couldn’t get near the desk or staff because it was absolutely overflowing with kids and their parents. We resolved to waiting in the corridor until things quietened down a bit, which wasn’t until 10 minutes after our start time. We were slightly worried that this would affect our game, but we needn’t have been as we were told “Sorry about that. We just need to reset the room now. You should be able to start in about 15 minutes. Kids, you know?” No, not really, but I got the point.
30 minutes after our allotted start time we finally entered the room. We received our briefing and were ready to start when our host, in Columbo style, said “Just one more thing; unfortunately the technology in part of the room isn’t working. So when you get up to that bit you’ll have to buzz for a clue and we’ll bring you a print out of what you should see.” Unperturbed (he said very loosely) we set about searching the room. There is a lot of stuff to find, but not many puzzles to solve. Within 10 minutes we were on to the second room, which looked quite impressive (a reverse of my view in Time Machine), but it also became clear which bit of technology, the only bit in the room, wouldn’t be working. Five minutes later we’d completed all this room had to offer and pressed the buzzer for the display substitute.
Bizarrely the host then asked us if we’d completed a puzzle back in the first room. Obviously we had. A minute or so passed. Then he asked us if we were sure we had done everything apart from the technology. I’d have thought he should know, but we said we had. A minute or so passed. Finally the door opened and we were given what we needed. I’m not sure if this was the host not paying attention to our progress, or a desperate attempt to slow us down. Regardless, just a couple of minutes after the door had been closed on us a second time, we were re-opening to effect our escape.
Even with the delay we were out in 23 minutes. Not the shortest game I’ve ever heard of, but certainly a record for us. Good news for the site as we put their schedule back on track. Not so much for us who hadn’t really got value for money despite it being discounted, especially with the centrepiece technology not working. This is a very easy room. Only one of the puzzles caused more than a moment’s thought. Nor does it offer anything interesting to look at. It may (and apparently does) appeal to children and nervous first timers but everyone else should be looking to land elsewhere.