Between Time: Escape Room PC Review
Following hot on the heels of their previous escape room game, Tested On Humans, mc2games returns for their third title, Between Time. Like its predecessors, Between Time is all about solving logic-based puzzles using clues found in the environments. However, the theme for this game is time travel, which means there’s a bit more variety when it comes to the different rooms. The game opens with players breaking into a time travel lab to steal the time machine. However, instead of noble intentions, your goal is to travel through time and steal priceless treasures for your personal gain.
Between Time is once again a solitary experience as it does not feature any multiplayer, and your character never encounters any other humans. However, in the process of stealing the time machine, he does discover the Artificial Intelligence Time Machine Assistant, or A.I.T.M.A., for short, which adds some interesting twists to the story. For the most part, though, Between Time plays exactly the same as Palindrome Syndrome and Tested on Humans, which is not a bad thing.
The action is once again viewed from a first-person perspective, with players typically trapped in a room along with multiple puzzles. Players can then freely interact with these puzzles, but some of them must be solved in a specific order to proceed. Thanks to the time travel theme, mc2games were able to add a lot more variety to this game with settings such as a Mayan Temple, Alchemy Lab, Saloon, and spaceship. The alchemy lab, which is the third area in the game, is definitely our favorite, but the other environments are pretty neat too.
Players familiar with mc2games will feel right at home with Between Time, but the game is also accessible to newcomers. To us, it felt like the puzzles were not quite as hard as Tested On Humans, but some of them can still be a little unclear. The game does retain the hint system that was introduced in Tested On Humans, and sometimes it felt like the clues they provide are actually required to understand the puzzle. Thankfully, there’s no penalty for making use of the hints, and most of them are still cryptic enough that they only point you in the right direction instead of outright spoiling the puzzle. While we didn’t have to fill up a notebook with scribbles as we did during our playthrough of Tested on Humans, the puzzles in this game were still very rewarding to solve. We should mention, though, that there were quite a few puzzles that could be brute-forced instead of solving them as intended.
From a technical standpoint, we didn’t encounter any issues with Between Time. The visuals look decent, but thanks to the Low, Medium, and High graphics preset should be able to run fine even on older hardware. The five different “rooms” in the game are not very big, but this means there’s no wandering around aimlessly between puzzles. Instead, everything is within easy reach. Unfortunately, the game still doesn’t have any accessibility options to help out colorblind players, making some of the puzzles much harder for them. The audio is atmospheric without being obtrusive, and the voice acting isn’t too bad either.
Between Time can be played with a controller, but using a keyboard and mouse still felt the most intuitive to us. Players are free to explore the environments, but puzzles, as well as objects that can be interacted with, are clearly marked. This allows players to focus on the actual puzzles instead of having to click on everything to discover what is useful and what isn’t. It is still important to pay attention to your surroundings, though, as clues or even answers to puzzles are often in plain sight. We would also have liked to see clearer indications that a puzzle cannot be solved without first completing another puzzle. Too often, we wasted time messing around with a puzzle only to give up and solve another puzzle, which then provided us with clues essential for solving the original puzzle. The game tells players if they lack an item needed for a puzzle, but not if they don’t have all the necessary information. We have to give mc2games credit for not recycling challenges, though, which is something that is all too prevalent in other genres with puzzles, such as hidden-object games.
Overall, we enjoyed our time with Between Time, and it is great to see that the developers still have some interesting puzzles up their sleeves. As we mentioned earlier, the puzzles did feel a little easier this time around, but there were still a few that had us stumped for a while. Despite not having a multiplayer mode, Between Time is also a great title to play with a friend or partner next to you to help provide a fresh perspective on things. Figuring things out together or discovering something your partner may have overlooked definitely adds to the fun. Players looking for an even more formidable challenge after completing Tested On Humans might be a little disappointing by the easier puzzles in Between Time, but there’s enough here to provide value for money.