The world of interactive entertainment is becoming more virtual with an ever increasing amount of people being drawn to wanting to experience simulated escapism using the latest in cutting-edge VR technology. It’s ironic however that arguably the most effective virtual game experiences, are still attained with less gimmickry, and more plain old fashioned teamwork.
The latest offering, Time Run The Celestial Chain, sets out to achieve this by incorporating The Crystal Maze style escape rooms and tasks which test your team’s collective dexterity. It’s less of a game and more of a live experience, that forces you to think on your feet.
Upon arrival at its headquarters in the middle of East London, we were greeted by one of the Time Run associates. Smartly dressed in a Victorian-esque suit, he promptly escorted us to a room, full of historical antiquities. We felt like time had indeed quickly lapsed into the past, as we stood surrounded by old ornaments and furniture from the 1800s, that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of the H. G. Wells’ Time Machine novel. One of the statues – a robot named ‘Babbage’ was assigned to assist us during our missions. Being particularly useful when faced with the trickier puzzles.
He spoke vivaciously on time travel, and gave a brief synopsis about the Celestial chain – ancient artefacts which manipulate time, explaining how important it is to collect these in order to stop an evil force, pinning his hopes on us being able to save humanity. We were handed a satchel, and one of us was made responsible for collecting these artefacts from each room.
His introduction was entertainingly done, albeit tongue in cheek, and the periodic steam punk themed room, helped to easily immerse us into the whole quasi-time travel plot; whetting our appetites for the adventure we were about to embark on. Ushering us into a small portal room, we were then greeted by time travel pioneer Luna Fox, who gave us more details about the Celestial Chain, and our main mission objectives.
As the countdown projected on the opening escape room portal door, we couldn’t help being caught up in the buildup of anticipation and excitement. When the doors finally opened, we eagerly rushed through into the first room. What followed, were a series of cleverly constructed tasks and puzzles, which needed to be solved in a limited time. The end goal being to collect the aforementioned artefacts, before the portal door opens for you to leave, and go into the next escape room.
It really is a race against the clock, and at times, becomes frantic as you try to complete the tasks as quickly as you can. Luckily, Babbage is at hand to guide you whenever you hit a brick wall, which happened on more than one occasion. However, the difficult challenges never felt unwelcome, and the exhilaration you get from solving a task is second to none. Thankfully, every challenge, offered enough variety, to not feel repetitive, and relied on different skillsets, with teamwork being at the forefront of the required main attributes in order to excel. Aesthetically each room, differed from the last, painting a vivid picture of the various periods in the time travel continuum. Really managing to transport you into the game’s reality; encouraging you to absorb its unique atmosphere.
When you finally complete your time and exit the last room, you are greeted by another Time Run assistant who runs through how you performed. Skill points are added to the key tests completed, and adds up to your total points tally, which is all documented on a nicely presented certificate.
Regardless of your results, it is all entertainingly broken down for you, and the whole experience is a lot of fun. The only caveat, it feels like it’s over too soon, leaving you wishing you could do it all again, or should I say, go back in time.
Time Run The Celestial Chain is available to book from now. To book tickets and find out more information go to the Time Run website.