Time Escape is aptly named, as it may indeed take you quite a bit of time to complete—this game is long! Not that that's a bad thing, of course (can we really ever have enough pointing and clicking goodness?). An escape-the-house, rather than escape-the-room, adventure, Time Escape is a complex quest that will test your wits and boggle your mind.
December 31st, 1999. A mysterious conversation occurs between two concealed figures, only to be cut short by an unseen disaster. 100 years later, you wake up in a library, disoriented and alone. What are you doing in this strange house, and how can you escape? What connection is there between the events of the past and your situation now? To find out, you'll need to follow the trail of clues left by your predecessors and unravel the mystery of your own identity. If you're lucky and use all of the house's resources wisely, you might even get out in one piece.
Analysis: James Young, the university student creator of Time Escape, cites Mateusz Skutnik's Submachine series as one of the inspirations for his handiwork. This is definitely apparent in the game's appearance, play style and general mien; like the Submachines, Time Escape involves traversing a many-roomed building, picking up a large number of both generic and odd items and using them in expected and unexpected ways. Young also borrows a few other, more specific, elements of Mateusz's games, such as clues in the form of a series of cryptic notes and a backstory based in time travel and otherworldly phenomena. I do wish that in a few instances, Time Escape had deviated a bit more from the Submachine formula (for example, Young has a nearly identical system of finding "secrets" in the form of tiny colored balls), but on the whole the similarities do not detract from the game's creativity or quality. And really, could he have chosen a better developer to emulate?
I definitely enjoyed Time Escape, but at times the game tested my patience with the sheer amount of backtracking that was necessary to complete the adventure. I found it easy to become disoriented when navigating the house's various floors; a map would have been invaluable (the provided compass didn't prove of much use to me). Combined with the fact that many of the items obtained are used in earlier parts of the house, the game occasionally became more taxing than fun. Also, I found it frustrating that some seemingly-obvious actions, such as smashing a brick wall with a hammer, were discarded in favor of more dubious solutions; this meant that at times the game devolved into a "try everything with everything" clicking fiesta.
Despite these criticisms, I think that Time Escape is great. The graphics are quite nice, the interface is clean and simple and the soundtrack adds a wonderful ambiance. Creating such a complex, lengthy and atmospheric game is quite an achievement, especially for such a young designer; I can't wait to see what Young comes out with next! Enjoy.
A larger version of Time Escape is available, but is lower in resolution.