Mystique Room – Time Machine [Review]

Hot Steam Time Machine.

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Date played: August 26, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from 11,990 HUF ($46) per team of 2 players to 19,920 HUF ($77) per team of 8 players

Story & setting

Doctor Clarence Guinan Donnolly, a professor from a small town in the United States, had accidentally stopped time while configuring his time machine. We had to set things right or Doctor Donnolly and his entire town would remain frozen forever.

In-game: A gear covered set and a large locked cabinet with a nixie tube clock.

Time Machine’s steampunk time ship looked absolutely gorgeous. The set was detailed and busy. In fact, upon first glance, I was worried that it might be impossible to tell the relevant puzzle components from the set dressing. Fortunately, with rare exceptions, the puzzles stood out from the decor.

Puzzles

In terms of puzzles, Time Machine was escape room-y. It had many standard escape room puzzle and lock interactions creatively implanted throughout the game.

In game: a metal stairwell in a steam-punk set.

Standouts

I loved the beautifully polished, intricate, and expansive steam-punk gamespace. It was detailed, but not distracting.

In-game: an intricate array of gears

Time Machine was generally composed of tangible prop manipulation. We particularly enjoyed one incredible door-opening mechanism.

Mystique combined analogue and digital technology; these blended into the look and feel of the Time Machine. In this way, Time Machine felt like a cohesive puzzling experience.

Time Machine was the only escape room that we played in an old Budapest basement that didn’t smell musty.

Shortcomings

While there was a story behind Time Machine, the narrative elements felt forced. We appreciated it as a time-travel steampunk adventure rather than a deliberate mission to help specific characters.

In fact, when the puzzles leaned into the narrative, they fell victim to “escape room logic” where things only made sense in the context of puzzle solution.

At the time we visited, 2 large set pieces in Time Machine were broken. While this didn’t dramatically change the game, it did stifle reveals. This was particularly disappointing since an entire space was devoted to one of these broken setpieces and thus rendered unnecessary.

Should I play Mystique Room’s Time Machine?

Time Machine offered a gorgeous set and fun puzzles. These were challenging, but approachable. The narrative wasn’t particularly cohesive, but that didn’t stop the fun.

Experienced players should have an easier time than newbies parsing what is in play and what is not. That said, players of any experience level could appreciate Time Machine.

Budapest doesn’t have a lot of room escapes with meticulously designed sets, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then Time Machine is a must-visit.

Book your hour with Mystique Room’s Time Machine, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Mystique Room provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

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