Deadlocked Escape Rooms – Tunnelling Through Time [Hivemind Review]

Tunnelling Through Time is a point-and-click escape game created by Deadlocked Escape Rooms in Reading, England, and all proceeds go to the Brunel Museum.

And… today is Matthew and Theresa W’s 100th Hivemind Review!

Tunnelling Through Time title card over Zoom. Performer looking nervously behind her while in a large cavernous space.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click
  • Video-based experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 90-120 minutes

Price: £15 donation to the Brunel Museum

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

You are at the Brunel Museum which showcases how the Thames Tunnel in London was built, and through some unfortunate events, you’ll end up time traveling. At least now you get to explore the true stories of the Thames Tunnel.

This is an online puzzle game with strong video elements that drive the story. After watching a scene, you interact with a point-and-click section containing several puzzles related to the narrative.

A man in a top hat and dated suit with a ghastly expression on his face.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Tunnelling Through Time is a wonderful play-at-home game that combines great puzzles with a high-quality filmed narrative that really elevates the game beyond the typical point-and-click experience. The story is charming and funny and tied the puzzles together in a way that made you eager to see what would happen next. I even recognized a few Easter eggs from their other play-at-home games. The fact that this game was uniquely themed around the Brunel Museum and that all proceeds are donated to the museum is just icing on the cake. I am a huge fan of Deadlocked Escape Rooms, and was really impressed by the creativity and heart that went into Tunnelling Through Time.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 1 out of 3.
  • +/- Great theme, since Brunel is an interesting historical character, but the game didn’t make full use of the possibilities and didn’t teach much about his work
  • + Used actual spaces from the Brunel Museum
  • + Good video and audio throughout
  • +/- Some sections allow multiple players to solve at the same time, but others are single-player, so everyone else just watches
  • – One interactive game feels a bit random and looks kind of slapped together
  • + A variety of puzzle types and interaction mechanics
  • – Some puzzles could be made substantially more interesting with minor changes
  • – One logic puzzle was a bit tedious, though it did have a couple of amusing rules
  • – Can’t simply be purchased in the US – You need to email the museum to arrange it (though they are very friendly when responding)

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Deadlocked Escape Rooms dove head first into an incredibly unique take on the virtual game format by creating a story-driven experience told through a series of videos. While this may not be my favorite experience by Deadlocked Escape Rooms due to some clunky “minigame” puzzle segments, the overall story was goofy and intriguing with a good amount of fun solves tied in. I’d certainly recommend playing this on a single device with a low player count, as most of the puzzles and minigames are not satisfying to play or solve through screen sharing. The game is filmed fully within The Brunel Museum’s walls, showcasing some nifty exhibits I never would have seen in real life. I truly love the mission that Deadlocked Escape Rooms is achieving with this game, as it is a great way to bring donations to this museum during tough times!

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

Tunnelling Through Time is beautifully presented in the distinctively eclectic-dramatic style that’s come to characterize Deadlocked Escape Rooms’ online games, but I found it somewhat lacking in cohesion and intentionality of puzzle design compared to their previous games. I loved how the game wove centuries of history of the endlessly fascinating Brunel Museum into an over-the-top time travel narrative, and I’m now sold on wanting to visit this museum in person! The game also decently substantiates its claim to be “the most cinematic virtual escape room ever.” (The cut scenes in the Project Avatar games might be top competition.) The video content was all highly enjoyable and well produced.

Many of the puzzles, however, fell flat for me, and with all the effort put into interface and visual design, this didn’t have to be the case with just a bit more forethought. None of the puzzles were broken and the game flowed pretty smoothly, but many puzzles just felt arbitrarily included/ framed and occasionally un-fun. One particular interaction seemed like it was intended as an asymmetrical interface challenge for multiple players, yet the entire game is designed for just one player screen sharing (which didn’t work particularly well for the people just watching) or for each player playing through the game on their own at the same time.

Overall this was still a decently fun game, but The Cyphstress is evidence that Deadlocked Escape Rooms can create so much better.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

We were helping an employee at the Brunel Museum but ended up traveling back in time to when the Thames Tunnel in London was built.

At its best, this is a prime example of how a historic event can be incorporated into an escape game. The online puzzles were interactive, had a great variety and the difficulty level was spot on for me. I admire the programming skills that made this game work. On top of that, you get beautiful and funny videos with an interesting story and a cute ending.

At its worst, one number lock made me guess the last number. I’m not quite sure if there was a small puzzle I skipped or not. Also, getting this game outside of the UK is a bit laborious.

Deadlocked Escape Rooms offers some of the best digital escape games I’ve played so far. Plus with this game, you support a good cause. So go for it!

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