Our next games in Vienna were held at Time Busters, who have two seperate locations in the Austrian capital, just around the corner from each other. We were playing two games at their Rembrandtstraße branch, starting with a trip underground to the mine shafts.
Mission: The Mine
Who was it who at all costs wanted to explore this abandoned mine with its dark, damp galleries and lost or forgotten objects? Well, it doesn’t really matter, because actually you all wanted to undertake a forbidden mystery tour and feel this creepy excitement in your stomachs again, didn’t you? Fair enough, but may be you shouldn’t have broken that lock at the entrance open and ignored the warning signs!
And while these thoughts are crossing your mind, the planks at the gate start to creek and clank louder and louder until finally the adit comes tumbling down in a roar. At this point the old explosion-proof mine telephone unexpectedly rings. You lift the receiver and are petrified, the unavoidable is looming ahead.
The theming in the mine is great, with the room looking and feeling as dark and dirty as you’d expect for the setting. The room is very dimly lit, but you’re required to wear helmets with effective torches clipped on throughout the hour. There is also a light switch in the room so you can turn the main lights on if needed, but you are asked to try it without to keep the immersion strong. We didn’t really have an issue with the light, and found it to be a reasonable addition to the theme.
The puzzles in the game were well mixed, with the game moving from linear to open-play a couple of times, meaning as a team of two we’d be sometimes working together, and also often solving puzzles solo. The difficulty level also varied, with some parts seeming simple, but fun, and other parts being much trickier. One big part that stumped us was a skill-type physical piece that kept us occupied for 10 minutes before our host sent through a code to get us out of it in alternative manner. This type of puzzle is always fun, but if you just can’t do it, it’s always good to have a back-up prepared – a big box ticked there.
The aim of the game was to set up explosives and blast our way out of the mine, and the entire end part of the game felt a little bit confusing – I think because we had so little time left and were rushing through.
Overall, this was a fun immersive game with some challenging moments, but nothing to worry about for experienced players. Newer players should take at least three people for this one.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via an old mine telephone.
Success? Yes, we got out with around two minutes remaining.
The secret: The Sheriff of Tombstone colludes with Jack Greed, who owns a lot of land around Tombstone. Jack bought a piece of land of a widow for a knock-down price. What the widow did not know: on this property is an entrance to a subterranean system, from where, in case of a climatic catastrophe, selected people are supposed to be brought to another planet. Jack is in possession of a map with the coordinates of the entrance. His deal with the Sheriff: He hides the map in the jail in tombstone, in return on day X he will be granted entrance to the other world.
The mission: The future of humanity cannot lie in the hands of gangsters. For this reason, the order sends you glorious heroes who are ready to get arrested. To manage getting thrown in jail, you staged a bank robbery. Your task is now to find the map, break out of jail and to keep this knowledge safe for the order and humanity. Do not let yourself get confused, trust your instincts. Because they exist, the hints on life on other planets.
Again, the theming at TimeBusters was of high standard, with the cell and sheriff’s office looking like they’d come out of a Wild West theme park. The game begins in your darkened jail cell, with the aim to get into the neighbouring office.
The gameplay was fun, with some searching skills required at first, while the dynamic of being in a cell with gaps between the bars was well utilised, bringing the game’s second space into play before you were in it.
At first glimpse, it doesn’t look like there’s a lot to do in this room, but we were quickly overwhelmed. It’s definitely one that is very challenging for a team of two, and at times we really could have done with another head or two. At parts, the gameplay was open meaning we could be working on different puzzles, but instead we had to keep coming together to try and crack through some of the more complex parts.
There’s no language barrier to worry about if you don’t speak any German. A couple of puzzles did require some reading, but it looks like they easily swap the correct game material into the room depending on if you require English or German.
We love a challenge, and while at times everything felt incredibly frustrating, we still had a great time – this is a very good room.
Host: Our host for both games was the owner, whose name I can’t quite remember. He was very welcoming and promised a challenge, which he definitely delivered!
Clue System: Clues were delivered by phone
Success? We escaped… but went over on time by around one and half minutes, meaning this was our first fail since June 2018.