Milan, May 2023
Mad Machines’ second game was the one we played first, and the venue impressed as soon as we entered – it’s a small thing, but still a great sign when the entrance to an escape room venue already puts you in an upbeat good mood with music and visuals.
This continued to an entire pre-game mini game, an initial task to complete before we’d begun the real game. This worked really well, getting us in the right mindset from the outset; I imagine it also gives the host a useful impression of what a team is like.
Time Machine has a more familiar theme than the venue’s other game. When they tell you you have a choice of which time period to visit, that may be a little disingenuous; beyond that I’m not going to give any spoilers to how the story proceeds, just strap in and enjoy the ride.
Of the two games at the venue, Birth Machine is the one that’s mentioned more in enthusiast circles, thanks to its (entirely deserved) TERPECA ranking. However, of the two I perhaps enjoyed the puzzles in Time Machine even more.
The puzzle design is truly superb, and what makes it so effective is that it’s always clear what you’re trying to achieve and why, and the process of achieving it tends to be both rewarding and great fun. There’s an energy and humour that reminded me of some of the great point ‘n’ click adventure games of years gone by, where the puzzle solutions aren’t just creative but also witty and funny.
Few games I’ve played have been as satisfying to solve; even fewer have been as fun. If you’re reading this you probably need no further encouragement to visit Mad Machines, and I’d hate to blunt the games’ appeal by overhyping them; but yes, you should make strenuous efforts to visit, and should play both rooms while there.
Disclaimer: We played this game on a complementary basis. This does not influence the review or rating.