Another great space
Over the past few months we have seen little activity from the Sniglets. While we our intelligence agents suspect they were planning their next attack we have not had any concrete evidence to go on, until now. We have just received intel that suggests that the Sniglets have sent back a small fraction to June 5th 1944, the day before ‘Operation Neptune’ was launched.
As you may well Operation Neptune was the codename for the D-Day landing operations scheduled to take place on the 6th June 1944, as part of the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. While we do not know their exact intentions we believe their objective is to disrupt the channels of communications to the Allies, ultimately placing ‘Project Neptune’ in danger.
Your missions is simple: return to June 5th and repair the Allied communication chain. You will need to draw on your training to ensure you complete your mission and return to the present day within the 60 minute time window.
We were at TimeQuest for the entire evening, thus, after thwarting the Sniglets’ attempt to hack the Central Computer in Reset, it was time to take a quick, but well-earned break with a coffee and a chat with Michael and James, father and son of the family-owned and operated TimeQuest.
We chatted for quite some time in the spacious reception area, but eventually, it was time to get on with ensuring that D-Day would happen as planned, and we wouldn’t want to end up in some alternate reality like The Man in the High Castle. James led us around the corner and through another comfy looking waiting area, stopping outside the door to 1944. After a quick brief to ensure we were prepared to go into the past and were aware of our mission objective, we entered the code to unlock the door and stepped back in time.
Saving Operation Neptune was not short on padlocks or searching (it was most certainly not short on searching, with a few sneaky hiding places to boot), but the puzzles resulting in combinations were varied and plentiful, allowing the game to unfold in a non-linear manner – perfect for keeping large groups busy; I think even groups of five or six will never really find anyone left out of the action. With the volume and breadth of puzzles, teams are sure to find something to suit everyone.
But it wasn’t all padlocks – there were a number of more “real world” tasks to really draw you into the story. Tasks were all centred around the theme in general, but there were some that really reinforced the main objective, allowing the game to become more immersive as we moved through. Some of these tasks were rather time-consuming, however. With a larger group, I think it would have been less daunting, and more fun, but as it was, I felt as though I was in a never-ending loop of decoding, while Gord ran around, solving everything in his wake, and just generally having a good time until we were thwarted by our inability to search.
One of the most impressive aspects of the games at TimeQuest is the sheer amount of physical space devoted to each game at the venue, and Saving Operation Neptune was no exception. Without a doubt, it would be possible to fit at least two games (maybe more) in the space given to Neptune, but as the one thing that the oast house that houses TimeQuest is not short on is space, why not? As the saying goes, “If you got it, flaunt it.”
Of course, the sheer size of the game, while a bonus for larger groups hoping to avoid close quarters, can be quite daunting for a smaller team of two, particularly as the start of the game felt rather cluttered with vintage artefacts that turned out to be mostly set dressing, but could easily be distracting. Despite the slight feeling of clutter at the start of the game thanks to the various items throughout the space, the decoration was actually rather sparse – not that it needed much, thanks to the 1940’s theme. At the start of the game, I felt as though I was in a labyrinth of a WWII museum, with a few puzzles thrown in. Each of the games that we played at TimeQuest utilised the towers of the oast houses; I hadn’t noticed it as much in Reset, but the moment the room opened up into that massive space, it had a certain wow factor. As soon as we entered that space, the game kicked up a gear and became much more immersive.
Saving Operation Neptune was eerily silent, something Gord dislikes, although the reason for that became apparent as we progressed, creating a kick of adrenaline at the climax of the game, straight through to the finale and our escape back to the present.
Fortunately, when TimeQuest developed their time travel capabilities, they made it possible to transmit the signal from a walkie talkie across not only space but time itself (just go with it). In addition, there was a very small discreet screen located in the room that not only displayed our remaining time but was also capable of receiving written clues.
James was on hand to help, should we need it. We did need a few nudges, primarily due to a failure to search properly, and in a few cases, my visual acuity was just not up to the task of identifying the correct image. James came through for us quickly whenever we did admit that we needed help, and occasionally nudged us in the right direction using the screen when he could see we were on the verge of going off on a tangent.
While the games we played at TimeQuest were good fun, the real stars of the show are the team that own and operate TimeQuest. We didn’t get to meet everyone, but James and Michael are lovely people and deserve a massive thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable evening despite a rocky start (we got a flat tire on the way to the venue), and going above and beyond what even I would consider to be excellent customer service, not just because Michael helped us change our tire, but also because they offered up space to salvage a birthday party for another team that had planned to go elsewhere to eat after, but had their reservations cancelled, so I know we didn’t receive this treatment just because we have taken it upon ourselves to publish our thoughts on escape games on the internet.
Team: 2 players – mission complete in 48:42
Address: Bell 4, The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge TN12 6PY