It’s wonderful, of course
Lewis Carroll, Professor Potch’s favourite author is in trouble. It’s 1871 and Carroll has come up against a pesky case of writer’s block while writing his second novel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. It’s your job to fix it by travelling between regions of his brain and lighting the sparks of his imagination. Be quick about it, though! If you don’t manage to get rid of the block in time, Alice Through the Looking Glass will remain uncompleted forever…
I always look forward to our trips to Reading, and I’m not convinced there is a bad game there. With the likes of TimeTrap, Deadlocked, Escape Reading, and Knockout, there are a lot of great games to choose from. For this trip, we decided that we could wait no longer and got ourselves booked in to play Curiouser and Curiouser at TimeTrap.
Curiouser and Curiouser is actually the sequel to another TimeTrap game, Imaginarium. But don’t worry, you don’t have to have played that game to enjoy this one. We had played Imaginarium in the past and really it just added a bit to the story.
We arrived at our allotted time and were buzzed into the building and led up the stairs. TimeTrap have got one of the nicest waiting areas around so it’s always nice to chill in there before the game and rehydrate with some water. When it was just about time for our game, our GM, Dan arrived and gave us the health and safety briefing. I must admit, I can’t recall where our room specific briefing took place, but I’m going to go on the assumption that it happened just before we entered the room.
We’re yet to play a bad game at TimeTrap (and I’m not sure we ever will) as all their games are so well thought out and well put together. It’s hard to feel immersed in a room that is supposed to be set inside someone’s head, yet there was a good sense of immersion here – it was actually a lovely place to be.
If you’re familiar with any of the Lewis Carrol stories then you’ll likely get a kick out of a number of the spaces, puzzles and set decoration contained within this game. There was a good use of space, and although the starting area could be a bit cosy for bigger teams, it opens up soon enough into a very large area.
I can’t recall if there were background noises or not, but part of me thinks there was. Although I know at one point we heard some noises from the scaffolders outside and that was a bit confusing as we weren’t sure if it was part of the game (it wasn’t, and they’re likely gone now anyway).
This was just a really well thought out game and everything in it felt like the type of thing that you may expect to find in Lewis Carrol’s mind, and I’m sure he’d be happy to know that his mind is still bringing joy to people, even in this new medium of Escape Rooms.
This game is perfect for larger teams as a lot of it is multilinear so can be tackled at anytime. Saying that, we played as a team of two and found it also worked well – there were times we were working on puzzles independently but also times where we had to work together to solve something.
Sometimes we’ll play a game where they have a beautiful set but then shoehorn in puzzles that really don’t fit (could name a few there), but not with TimeTrap. The puzzles always feel like an integral part of the game and like the game was perhaps designed around them – this game is beauty and brains.
As you’d expect for a game based in the mind of Lewis Carrol, a lot of the puzzles are based around his books and literacy in general (English language skills are useful here), but nothing needs external knowledge at all – like all good escape rooms. There was a cracking variety of puzzle types though; wordplay, observation, searching (minor), physical, communication, and teamwork. I can’t think of any puzzle in this game that wasn’t a joy to solve, and I lost count of how many times we said “that’s clever” after completing a puzzle.
A number of the puzzles, when completed, would result in combinations for padlocks but there were a number of other mechanics involved to keep things interesting.
TimeTrap seem to have some of the best GMs in the country and Dan was no exception. He was a delight when he greeted us, remained in character the entire time, and was lovely to chat to after our game too. Of course, it wouldn’t be very immersive if it was just Dan giving us clues as/when needed, so any help required came over a speaker system as the thoughts/mind of Lewis Carrol.
I can’t recall if we needed any help in this game as everything just seemed to click and flow well for us, but there is no doubt in my mind that if we had, we would have gotten help very quickly.
Another example of a beautifully assembled game by TimeTrap that was a joy to play. The puzzles were great and on theme, and the room itself was wonderful to interact with. Don’t worry if you didn’t play the prequel to this game, you’ll still have a great time.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 50:53
Address: 11 Friar St, Reading RG1 1DB