Update August 5, 2022: See Matthew Stein’s updated Reaction here.
“You get a clock! And you get a clock! EVERYBODY GETS A CLOCK!”
Location: Oak Park, IL (metro Chicago)
Date played: August 11, 2016
Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-6
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $32 per ticket
Story & setting
We fell through a grandfather clock and became stuck in the trap of a crazy clockmaker… or something like that. There were a ton of clocks.
The story didn’t make a lot of sense, but it didn’t take itself too seriously, so it worked well enough as the setup for a room escape.
There were clocks everywhere. All shapes, sizes, and types of clocks. In fact, the game consisted entirely of clocks, except for the furniture and various containment objects.
Escape Factor turned an escape room cliche into the entire game, which made it not feel cliche in the slightest.
Not surprisingly, The Timekeeper’s Trap relied heavily on clock-based puzzles.
Base 60 calculations can prove surprisingly challenging, especially to those of us who aren’t of the math-y persuasion.
This was a puzzle-heavy game.
Escape Factor managed to fill the game entirely with clocks and avoid the standard cliche clock puzzle: “The clock is stopped on 9:15. Try ‘915’ on all of the three digit locks.”
They created impressive variety with the clock concept. This game was a lesson in creativity: The Timekeeper’s Trap was designed around something we see constantly and repetitively, but Escape Factor pulled new puzzle experiences out of it.
The volume of clock math became tedious.
The room had plenty of clocks, but the scenery was weak. In fact, it was a bit of a clusterfuck to look at and sift through. There was a lot of stuff in this game… and the reset for our gamemasters seemed pretty hellish.
Should I play Escape Factor’s The Timekeeper’s Trap?
This room escape consisted of solid nuts and bolts. It was puzzle-focused and challenging.
In their first game, Escape Factor zeroed in on a concept that lent itself to puzzles. They worked it creatively into a complete, thematic game that sidestepped cliche clock usage. It’s rare to see a company keep to a theme and vision as closely as they did, especially on their first attempt.
The Timekeeper’s Trap wasn’t outstanding, but it was successful. We anticipate good things in their future.
This would be a challenging game for new players, but a good introduction to escape rooms. More experienced players will have fun tackling this theme. Bring a few people who love math.
If you’re visiting The Timekeepers Trap, stick around for the 20-minute game The Waiting Room of Dr. Awk C. Abmoor where you can let go of clock math.
Book your hour with Escape Factor’s The Timekeeper’s Trap, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Escape Factor provided media discounted tickets for this game.
I own another escape room in Chicago, so you know by my commenting here how strongly I disagree with aspects of this review. Most importantly the term “clusterfuck”. There are a lot of puzzles in this non-linear room but a lot of rooms have that. When I played the room with a group of strangers who were all first timers we didn’t have any trouble sorting through it. I’m honestly shocked that “clusterfuck” would be applied to this room. i ask all of my players where they have played before and Timekeepers Trap is consistently at or near the top for best games in the area.
Fair warning, this is just a bit more spoilery than we normally get
When I was a kid, my brother loved to disrupt people who were counting by shouting random numbers. Just hearing other numbers is incredibly effective at throwing off counting, calculation, and computation.
Timekeepers Trap is basically a room filled with locks that require similar length integers. Throughout our entire game we were deriving numbers, trying them in multiple places, and hearing other people shouting out numbers. This isn’t a normal problem in a room; it’s born of the theme. I’m willing to accept that maybe we should have expounded up “clusterfuck,” we firmly stand by it.
This room, while not bad at all (this was a largely positive review), was chaotic.