Deadlocked Escape Rooms – The Time Machine [Review]

There’s no such thing as too much Energen

Location:  Reading, United Kingdom

Date Played: March 7, 2020

Team size: 2-4; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: £25 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Great Scott! This game was fun.

Structurally, Deadlocked did something utterly genius with Time Machine. While it was functionally a 90-minute escape room, narratively it was a 60-second escape room. Because time travel. It’s the kind of idea that’s so good that I know tons of creators will read this and wish that they had come up with it.

In-game: A spaceship's interior, through the window a sun burns bright.

From a gameplay standpoint, Time Machine was delightful. Experienced teams won’t need anywhere close to 90 minutes to complete this game, but the lengthy clock was a lovely affordance for newer teams.

The set was a mixed bag. It looked really good for a homemade set, but it looked noticeably homegrown. The power of Deadlocked was in what they did with their sets to create magic, surprise, and drama… which they did regularly from the moment we entered the door.

If you’re in London, we highly recommend hopping a train to Reading for a game or two. Deadlocked’s Time Machine was a fantastic game crammed with love and ingenuity.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The intro
  • The core conceit of the game
  • Smart and smooth scene transitions
  • The primary gameplay loop was super clever

Story

The crew of the Wexell Corporation’s Time Machine had vanished during its maiden voyage. To make matters worse, they had also created rifts throughout the timeline, profoundly altering history.

Along with our trusty robot sidekick Wexie, we had to traverse the timestream and right the wrongs of the previous crew.

In-game: Wexi overseeing the timeship.

Setting

The Time Machine had a crafty and innovative set. The magic of this game was in its transitions and scene changes.

Upon closer inspection, the seams and reclaimed materials didn’t look sharp. It had a decidedly homegrown look about it that still worked, even when there were ample opportunities for more refined construction.

In-game: Closeup of a homemade looking spaceship made from tubing and reminant hardware.

Gameplay

Deadlocked Escape Rooms’ The Time Machine was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: Energen tubes, the "Next Generation of Energy."

Analysis

➕ At Deadlocked Escape Rooms, we were greeted in character. The introduction to The Time Machine was high energy and hilarious. The acting was phenomenal.

➕ The Time Machine was a 60-second escape room, but we had 90 minutes to solve it. Brilliant concept. We loved this little twist on the escape room format, which was explained clearly and humorously. The gameplay supported the concept. Although we encountered some looping game mechanics, they never grew old or tiresome. The setup added pressure, which upped our energy.

➕/➖ The set did a number of incredibly cool things. However, while we appreciated that Deadlocked Escape Rooms built The Time Machine with reclaimed materials, the set construction was sloppy. The seams showed.

➕ Overall, we enjoyed the puzzles and the gameplay.

➖ The puzzle flow of the final act felt a bit choppy relative to the smoothness of the rest of the game.

➕ Deadlocked Escape Rooms minded the details of the scenario they’d dreamed up, which built cohesion in the game world. These were small details that made us smile.

The Time Machine used a small physical footprint well. As the game progressed, Deadlocked Escape Rooms build in new intrigue with personal touches and fun reveals. One late-game reveal was game-changing.

➕ Our robot helper Wexie was adorable and entertaining. She joked with us, establishing her own character. Her hints were a lovely part of the experience.

Tips For Visiting

  • The Time Machine is at Deadlocked Escape Rooms’ Reading location.
  • One teammate needs to be able to crawl.

Book your session with Deadlocked Escape Rooms’ The Time Machine, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Book The Time Machine

Disclosure: Deadlocked Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.

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