Time Run – The Celestial Chain

*Disclaimer* I have tried so hard to keep this brief … but there were so many elements to this game that it was impossible!
Having heard so many raving reviews about Time Run, I knew a trip to London would revolve around this! We arrived at the location rather perplexed; no signage, in what appeared to be an industrial area? The address we were given was completely closed off with shutters. We had strict instructions to knock at our exact time slot, not a minute sooner or later. 

After persistent “googling” to make sure we really were in the right location, we established that underneath the shutter was indeed the correct place. At exactly 1pm the experience really began; the shutter opened to reveal a beautifully crafted door. We had to knock on the door called “The Archive” – right from the outset I felt tense, nervous and excited. 

Our host, in character, opened the door and led us in. The best way to describe him would be as an old fashioned time traveller. He was brilliant! Built the story well, and had excellent banter, responding to our comments with ease. After a thorough brief, we were led into another room to begin our game. 

Game story 

A rogue goddess, once imprisoned, has broken free of The Celestial Chain. Gather what you need to bind her, once again: or risk the end of the world as we know it.

 – Gather the artefacts you need from across time to imprison an ancient force.

 – A brand new format, never seen before in a live game experience 

 – A clear scoring system that reflects your team achievements

It’s safe to say we were intrigued at the thought of a new experience. What was this new format? I was confused when I booked this room because the time slots allowed a booking every 15 minutes despite it being the usual 1 hour duration. How is this possible? We were given a certain amount of time in each section before the game forced us to move on, approximately 12 minutes. I assume this means that as we left an area, there is chance for it to be reset for new players to follow behind us.

Our mission was to collect as many artefacts as we could from each section and piece them together at the end to defeat the “rogue goddess”. Basically, everyone escapes in this game but your success depends on if you have gathered enough artefacts and you are also judged on how well you played the game. Have I lost you?
Now to get to the game play. I can’t actually describe how well this game is built. The theming is incredible, immersive and visually stunning. The tasks reminded me of my Escapologic experience; no padlocks and minimal codes. The puzzles were what you would expect in line with the theme. The concept of time travel is a fantastic theme because you can basically do anything and it works. Each room had its own identity and as a result, the puzzles changed to suit. 

The puzzles required a combination of every skill imaginable which gave each team member a chance to shine; physical, logical, observational and lateral thinking. I would describe the game play as non – linear as there was plenty for us to split off and explore, but there were moments which naturally brought us together and communication was essential for success. There were many puzzles we didn’t complete as we were forced to move on. Plenty for everyone to get on with and absolutely no one standing around. 

After a dramatic finale, we were given our de-brief. We were told our strengths as a team, and we were even given a category to describe us – ours was “the bold” because we didn’t mess around! We were told we could improve on our communication because we shout at each other – they were definitely watching us intently!! After bonus points were added for completing extra puzzles, we were given a score of 94% which, I believe, is better than the average of about 70%! 

I’m still trying to get my head around what I experienced that day. It felt so real and dramatic. My friends are still making fun of me for screaming in panic at them to “hurry before it’s too late!” Immersion at its finest.

I could keep writing about this game but I really would be here all day. It is a MUST DO experience! I would say that first time players could be totally overwhelmed by this. I’ve certainly never played anything like it before.

Highlight of the game – There were SO many elements to choose! The theming and story behind this experience was well- thought out, detailed enough to make it feel real, and led us through the game so beautifully. 

Any drawbacks? It does take a while to really begin to game due to the detailed storytelling and I remember feeling restless, but after completing it I realised it did add to the experience and the sense of realism. I really felt like I knew the characters Luna Fox and Babbage personally by the end! 

Overall Opinion – This experience would absolutely fit in with Universal Studios. I was in two minds as to whether I could rank this game on my escape room ratings because the aim of the game is different to the usual escape room experience. It’s a very similar debate as to whether the crystal maze can be ranked in comparison.

However, I’ve decided I will because: 

 a) you have to work together to complete tasks in each section and gain at least one of the artefacts in each room to be successful, and

 b) because it deserves to be included!

Want to know more about the Celestial Chain? http://www.time-run.com/

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2 thoughts on “Time Run – The Celestial Chain

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