At the end of January, we returned to Time Race in Bury. Our last visit to the venue was in September 2017, when we played their first game “Vault 17“.
When we played it, we’d enjoyed parts – some of the puzzles were great and the set looked brilliant, but there was one major problem… It was impossible to complete. Countless experienced players visited, and yet the game remained with a 0% success rate, with most people coming to the conclusion that it would work as a 90 minute experience, but definitely not as a 60 minute one. Eventually, the famous S2 team managed to escape (of course!), but overall we were put off returning. The premise of their second room “The Invitation” sounded interesting, but players had gone and again reported it was near-impossible, with one puzzle in particular being a sticking point.
We were never going to go back and play it, until we heard the company was under new management. In fact, both games were reported to have been reworked and simplified, with the rooms now definitely escapable. As such, we finally went back to give “The Invitation” a try…
Professor Curtis Lockwood, adventurer extraordinaire, that was how he used to introduce himself to everyone. You remember stories he would tell of his adventures around the world, all the treasure he brought back, the damsels he saved. He was a hero to you.
It had been months since you last heard from him which is why it surprised you when his butler called you and told you to meet him at the mansion.
You arrive to find the place empty, no sign or Curtis or the butler. As you look around you remember about the secret gallery he used to take you as a kid. Quickly you head inside and find a letter addressed to you.
What secrets could this letter contain? What happened to Professor Curtis Lockwood?
The game takes place in the small gallery area of the mansion, in a room that doesn’t immediately look like there’s much of note in it. The space is lit up, but with the lights being a little dim, you’re provided with torches to use if you wish, which did come in handy in parts. There wasn’t much furniture in the room, which meant there wasn’t a lot of searching involved – instead, you got on with finding puzzles and beginning to work through them.
The puzzles varied nicely, with a few answers being super simple, and a couple of pieces requiring a chunk of time to properly concentrate and dig a way to the answer. The most surprising thing is that this game has gone from being painfully near-impossible to complete, to being a definite beginner’s room. That’s not to say nothing stumped us – we did hit a few blocks along the way, and despite it being an easier room, it didn’t stop it from being an enjoyable one.
There’s a very interesting, unique mechanic built into this room, that we were told is now being used in the complete reverse way of the previous game. It’s something we hadn’t seen before – definitely an interesting idea.
Overall, this is definitely an easier game, but it’s one we still enjoyed. It sounds like Time Race have definitely taken on board all of the negative feedback from their previous management, meaning the game is a lot more playable than previously. We’re looking forward to going back to replay Vault 17!
Host: Our host was Ryan who has redesigned both rooms. A great host who has quite a bit of experience in the escape industry – always a good sign.
Clue System: I don’t quite remember – we did get a clue at one point, and I think it may have been delivered by a voiceover.
Success? Yes, we escaped in exactly 43 minutes.