The tall Benedict Cumberbatch look-alike who greeted us was Aubrey Defoe and he introduced us to a world of time travel. His charming spiel about the task ahead of us included health and safety issues and scene-setting warnings of our “4.3% chance of survival”.

This was Time Run: The Celestial Chain , an immersive gaming experience in London Fields.

In the second almost pitch black room time traveller Luna Fox appeared on video. She set the
scene of the story about an escaped vengeful goddess. We were told her robot Babbage would accompany us on our quest but this turned out to be his tinny voice through the speakers.

He was there to “help us” as we fumbled our way through a series of rooms, solving the challenges which mixed dexterity, logic and physical co-ordination.
Most of the time I wanted to tell Babbage to shut up. It was hard enough trying to read the instruc- tions in the gloom without him distracting us.

The organisers advise three to five on a team and I would say find five friends. Our trio struggled to sift what needed to be done from the red herrings, which made it impossible for us to complete most of the puzzles in the time allowed. Another set of eyes would have helped, especially in one room designed so that our own bodies blocked the panel we were searching for.

The Celestial Chain

The puzzles make good use of the space with plenty of detail and are sturdily constructed. One mecha- nisms seemed faulty though – but that was blamed on our inability to decipher “righty tighty from lefty loosey”.

Finally, an overly cheerful man in a white lab coat took us through to a debriefing room. We were told our team of journalists we were “bang average” and while cool under pressure (naturally) we needed to work on our communication skills (the cheek!). We all tried to muster a smile as he snapped our team photo.

But, ultimately, the experience was confusing and low in entertainment value. It hardly registered the rooms were set up to reflect different time periods and the payoff lacked oomph.

Better to hide a Rubik’s Cube wrapped in a £5 in the garden shed and invite your mates round for a rummage.


On now, £30-£42 per person, 9-15 Helmsley Place, London Fields.

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