Time Run by Mashael Zaidi (review)

I got tickets for Time Run through Love Pop Ups London to try out their new game, The Celestial Chain. I was really excited when I heard that Time Run had a new game, being a fan of the first one, The Lance of Longinus. On a practical note, they don’t let you in early, and there’s no waiting area, so try to arrive just a few minutes before your time slot.

From the beginning, the entrance with the cool door, and the in-character staff welcoming us straight into the story with his old timey accent, it was very promising. I love the interior of their space and that the staff is dressed as if they’ve just stepped out of Victorian times. The game also uses a really fun and well-done video with Victorian character Luna Fox to further introduce you to your mission across space and time, as well as Babbage the robot whose voice will give you hints through the games if you need help. There are 5 rooms and you have 12 minutes in each. The moment when the video is over and the “portal” opens for you to enter is pure magic!

They have definitely kept up their production values, with great props and room designs but overall the game was not as fun as the first one. I think the main reason for this is with the way the new game is set up, you don’t get a sense of achievement. In fact, most of the time we thought we were doing really bad, and my entire team was really surprised to find that we had scored a decent mark. If you can’t even tell if you’re doing well or not, it takes away from the satisfaction of the game. I guess players should keep in mind, that even if they haven’t reached the goal for most rooms, they can still make up for it in the last room. On top of that, the game is set up so that the final room is not really pass or fail, it has levels of success.

The first room was the most fun for us, with the most intuitive set up, reminiscent of the Crystal Maze type games and a crane was involved. The second room is where it all started to fall apart, with our team split up for 3 tasks and not a single team getting anywhere with it in the allotted time. It was a bit frustrating to get nowhere and I think the puzzles in that room could use some redesign, as trial and error isn’t really a fun strategy in the short time you’re given.

The third room was an improvement, and also reminiscent of the Crystal Maze’s physical challenges. The fourth was not bad, but set up in two rooms so that if you don’t have the correct number of players in each place, you will lose a lot of time, which is annoying. I found the challenges unnecessarily detailed in that room and difficult to finish in the allotted time due to quantity not quality. The fifth room is where the game story reached a climax and storywise it was fine, however there is actually that much for one to do in there. They gave us a score card in the end of how we did, which is interesting to see.

Overall it was a well-done game but I would have preferred that some of the puzzles were more intuitive like the ones in their previous game, although I did appreciate the physical ones in the first and third rooms.

Mashael Zaidi