Escape Factor – The Timekeeper’s Trap [Review]

“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.

A bland wall with a number of differnt clocks hanging on it.

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.

Puzzles

Not surprisingly, The Timekeeper’s Trap relied heavily on clock-based puzzles.

A wall mounted clock as art with large gears, a globe and other steam-punkish adornments.

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.

Standouts

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.

Shortcomings

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.

Escape Factor – The Waiting Room of Dr. Awk C. Abmoor [Review]

!EPACSE

Location: Oak Park, IL (metro Chicago)

Date played: August 11, 2016

Team size: 2-3, we recommend 2

Duration: 20 minutes

Price: $15 per ticket

Story & setting

Set in a doctor’s waiting room, we had 20 minutes to complete our intake paperwork in order to see the doctor before he left for vacation.

The gamemaster played the receptionist in an adorable parody of a doctor’s office.

Escape Factor added an additional layer of theming: in this waiting room, everything was backwards. This added to the fun of the environment. Note the name of the doctor.

A small rocking hourse resting atop a magazine rack containing the

Puzzles

Although The Waiting Room of Dr. Awk C. Abmoor was short, the puzzles were challenging.

The puzzles focused on word-based challenge, and relied heavily on word skill, which wasn’t surprising, given the theme of this particular doctor’s office. However, Escape Factor also integrated a variety of other puzzling skills, continuing to play with the idea of inversion.

Standouts

The gamemaster’s character and game introduction were adorable and designed so as not to break the fiction. Our gamemaster truly delivered his script.

The overarching concept of The Waiting Room of Dr. Awk C. Abmoor was fresh, unusual, and clever. It gave an additional level of theming to the escape room.

The glibness and humor were an added bonus.

Notes ho the wall read:

Shortcomings

We played the game while it was still in late beta testing and some of the puzzles needed additional refinement.

One was particularly tedious to solve even once we had figured out how to do it.

In another instance, we were foiled by a sight puzzle that Escape Factor had not yet figured out how to clue for players like us who couldn’t see it. (We consistently struggle with sight puzzles.)

Should I play Escape Factor’s The Waiting Room of Dr. Awk C. Abmoor?

This was an adorable 20 minutes for two people. It was light and fun, but still presented a challenge.

Word lovers will be particularly at home in this game.

This was Escape Factor’s second creation and we are excited to see what they bring to their next full length game.

Book your session with Escape Factor’s The Waiting Room of Dr. Awk C. Abmoor, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Factor provided complementary tickets for this game.