Not Another Escape Room – Time Machine [Review]

Escape the 2020s

Location:  Brea, CA

Date Played: December 17, 2021

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $40-45 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Not Another Escape Room’s Time Machine was something special. It embodied the sort of fantastical whimsy one can concoct with a fairly low-budget set, boundless creativity, and some wonderfully impractical ideas brought to life. This game lived up to the company’s namesake and was indeed not just another escape room.

I’ll admit, my confidence in the experience wavered at the start. The time machine felt like what some children might build while playing make-believe as time travelers — a sort of tin foil-coated-cardboard-box-meets-conspiracy theorist’s lair — and it was initially unclear whether this aesthetic was an intentional choice or not.

Yet this ultimately provided effective contrast for what was to come. I was soon met with moment after moment of childlike wonder as the room continuously unfolded in unexpected ways.

Overall, I found Time Machine to be charming, clever, and quite memorable. If you’re looking for a Hollywood-level set, this may not be the game for you. But if you’re open to a unique and lovingly homemade adventure, Not Another Escape Room’s Time Machine was a delight.

An old living room with a small packman arcade machine.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Time travelers

Story

Calvin J. Lloyd had built a time machine… but then he disappeared. His family hired us to investigate Calvin’s time machine and find out what happened to him.

A room with aluminum covered walls, kit in green. There are a few famous paintings on the walls beside a conspiracy board, and locked boxes.

Setting

Time Machine started off in — you guessed it — a time machine. The set was sparse and somewhat flimsy, akin to a tin foil-lined box.

But that was just the beginning. As the game progressed, the set unfolded in unexpected and delightful ways.

Gameplay

Not Another Escape Room’s Time Machine was a creative escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around puzzling, making connections, searching, and video game-esque minigames.

Analysis

➕ Time Machine stood out for its transitions; surprises awaited us behind every door. While I’ve seen variations on the core mechanic used in other escape rooms, I was impressed by the seemingly impossible number of times it was pulled off in Time Machine, executed in a way that felt like magic.

➕/➖ Time Machine‘s set had a distinctly homemade aesthetic that ranged in effect from charming to flimsy and underwhelming. A more intentional build consistency – especially if that meant leaning more fully into an overtly low-budget, tin-foil-hat aesthetic in parts — could have communicated Time Machine‘s narrative in a more visually cohesive manner.

➕ The final area of the game was filled with nostalgic props and interactions and provided an awesome backdrop for a prompted in-game selfie opportunity.

➕ The puzzles were logical, creative, and varied, and they generally supported the time travel narrative.

➕/❓ A video game-esque sequence was fun and well implemented. It matched the context in which it was presented, but it bordered on feeling like filler past a certain point. My team enjoyed this segment, but your mileage may vary.

➕ A phone-a-friend moment was a clever story-driven highlight of the game.

➕ Time Machine concluded with a message that amusingly reflected the zeitgeist of the 2020s.

Tips For Visiting

  • Street parking was available nearby.

Book your session with Not Another Escape Room’s Time Machine, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Not Another Escape Room comped our tickets for this game.

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