Time to Escape – King Tut’s Tomb [Review]

Read like an Egyptian.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Date Played: March 24, 2018

Team size: 1-10; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public or Private

REA Reaction

Time to Escape loves minding the little details of period accuracy when crafting their historical escape games; King Tut’s Tomb was no exception. While we enjoyed the details and overall concept, the gameplay was rocky. Some of the puzzles suffered from wear that muddied our ability to accurately perceive clues and we had to read a ton of material to make progress.

We left really wanting to like this escape room more than we did. It had a lot going for it, but it had too much unfulfilled potential. King Tut’s Tomb could be further refined into something great.

If you’re a local seeking an adventure through ancient Egypt, check this out. Ultimately I’m much more eager to recommend Time to Escape’s Al Capone’s Speakeasy.

In-game: A wall of hieroglyphs and a cartouche.

Who is this for?

  • Amateur Egyptologists
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Surprising reveals
  • Layered puzzles

Story

It was 1922 and we were part of Howard Carter’s crew searching for a burial chamber. We had received word that Egyptian authorities were on their way to shut us down. Time was of the essence.

In-game: a large wooden crate and a brush.

Setting

We entered a dark chamber in a tomb with one flashlight fewer than the number of people in the group. The set was fairly Spartan, with a few puzzle interactions. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling with accurate recreations of Egyptian tomb wall carvings and art.

As we explored the game further, we found light among other elegant props.

In-game: A mural on the wall of an Egyptian tomb.

Gameplay

Time to Escape’s King Tut’s Tomb was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and puzzling.

Analysis

+ This game was well researched. It accurately depicted tomb art.

+ There were some interesting puzzles.

– A lot of those puzzles, however, were really best for a solo solver, maybe two people together.

– Puzzle solving required a lot of reading, much of this in low light.

– Portions of the set and props needed some touch-up paint. The problems caused by the worn paint were amplified by the dim lighting.

– I had an encounter with a reasonably potent laser at eye level.

+ The conclusion and the corresponding props were solid.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking in their lot.
  • Time to Escape is located on the second floor behind the building. There is an elevator in the middle of the building and stairwells on the sides.
  • This game does require a little bit of crawling or crouching. I suspect that if you have accessibility needs, Time to Escape would be able to accommodate them.

Book your hour with Time to Escape’s King Tut’s Tomb, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Time to Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

Time to Escape – Escape from Alcatraz [Review]

Swimming not included.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Date played: April 2, 2017

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

As Alcatraz inmates in 1962, we found a series of clues left by escaped convict Frank Morris. We had to follow his footsteps to freedom.

The set was the star of the show. Time to Escape built a compelling prison.

In game: A heavily weather concrete wall with a metal door.

Puzzles

Time to Escape worked hard to build the puzzling interactions into the set and props. This worked with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Some puzzles felt like they truly belonged in the narrative; others felt like escape room puzzles that had been bolted onto a prison set.

Standouts

The set design was outstanding. Time to Escape’s attention to detail was evident in the custom construction, complete with detailed weathering.

In game: A heavily weather concrete wall with a metal door. A light hangs about them.

At their best, the puzzle / set integrations were exciting.

Shortcomings

In contrast to the set itself, some of the props felt cheap. While the set felt artfully designed, many of the props deflated the environment. Additionally, there was a significant anachronistic prop that wouldn’t have existed in 1962.

One particular puzzle needed stronger cluing. It seemed rather ambiguous.

In another instance, where order preservation was necessary, a team could mess with the props such they would render a late game puzzle impossible.

Should I play Time to Escape’s Escape from Alcatraz?

If you’re looking for a set-driven adventure, then Escape from Alcatraz is absolutely worth a visit. Time to Escape built a beautiful set and it was fun to play within it.

If you’re looking for an escape room that is rooted in puzzling, you should go in knowing that the puzzling is a little uneven.

Beginners and experienced players alike will be able to find just about equal enjoyment in Escape from Alcatraz, as the room itself is the driving force behind the entertainment.

Book your hour with Time to Escape’s Escape from Alcatraz, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Time to Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

Time to Escape – Al Capone’s Speakeasy [Review]

A game served with a twist.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Date played: April 2, 2017

Team size: up to 14; we recommend 6-8? (more on this below)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

Set in a Chicago speakeasy in 1929, we were on the hunt for evidence to put Al Capone behind bars.

The set was awesome. It looked like we had stepped into a bar. I would have happily sat on one of the stools and enjoyed a drink.

Time to Escape - Al Capone's Speakeasy

Not only was the set compelling, but there was an in-game actor playing the role of the bartender. He delivered clues, hints, props, plot points, triggered events, and generally bantered with us.

Time to Escape’s promo video for the game accurately depicts the set, as well as the actor’s delivery (although we had a different actor).

In addition, each player was given a secret and unique role to play within the room. The roles impacted each player’s game in 3 different ways:

  • Each player had a one-time use power within the game.
  • Each player had a secret win condition that, if achieved, would guarantee that they won (regardless of whether the team succeeded or failed the overall mission).
  • The actor would interact with each character in a completely different manner based on who they were.

This was one of the most ambitious games we’ve ever seen.

Puzzles

The puzzling was mixed throughout the game. While most of the puzzling components were available from the start, many of them required an additional component or piece of information that was triggered by the actor.

These trigger points frequently felt like cinematic cut scenes in a video game. The gameplay would stop and we would watch or interact with the actor. Upon the conclusion we’d have what we needed to make the next progression.

Standouts

Time to Escape crafted a beautiful, detailed, and spacious speakeasy for this adventure.

The puzzling came in all forms including interpersonal interaction, audio, visual, and more hands-on experiences. We had to think in many different ways.

The bartender was engaged and engaging. He was both a character and the gamemaster. When a swing tune came on the radio, Lisa and I started swing dancing in the middle of the room and he rolled right along with it.

We too were characters with our own influence and motivation.

Shortcomings

Al Capone’s Speakeasy was trying to be a lot of different things all at once. While it did a lot well, not everything played well together. We weren’t always sure how we should be spending our time – in puzzles or in more of a theatrical experience.

It wasn’t always clear when we had enough information to even bother solving a puzzle. Looking back, we burned a silly amount of time focusing on things at the wrong time.

Even the objective was confusing. We each had our own side quests, some of which seemed to give incomplete information. We didn’t entirely understand how they fit into the overall mission or narrative.

These side quests were not even, in terms of intrigue or difficulty. One player can end up solving one of the most challenging puzzles practically alone. Others quests barely involved actions. The fact that solving the side quest triggered an early win for a player regardless of the team’s overall performance created the opportunity for hollow victories.

Should I play Time to Escape’s Al Capone’s Speakeasy?

Al Capone’s Speakeasy was a complex experience that had a lot more going on than most escape rooms.

In so many ways, it was a truly wonderful escape room. The set, actor, roleplay, and puzzles (to a lesser extent) were great game components. The challenging aspect was that these often collided with one another in awkward ways. This is the nature of ambitious games. Incredible concepts create new problems.

  • The character roles need more balancing.
  • The individual win conditions should only be applied if the team wins.
  • The puzzling needs a mechanism to help players determine what is in play when.

If Time to Escape can crack these nuts, then this will be a breathtaking room escape.

In its current state, it’s still pretty damn impressive.

Al Capone’s Speakeasy won’t be fun for everyone. For some people, this will feel more like theater than puzzling. Furthermore, it’s theater that you have to participate in. You must embrace interacting and role playing to enjoy it.

If a combination of roleplay, theatrics, environment, and puzzling sounds appealing, then I think you should speak the password to Al Capone’s Speakeasy.

Book your hour with Time to Escape’s Al Capone’s Speakeasy, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Time to Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.