RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 18:43
Gaze into a mystical crystal ball and catch a glimpse at a bright future for one of Tampa’s truly hidden gem venues.
Madame Antinori is a psychic for the town of Swannhaven. Rumor has it she started to dabble in Black Magic and accidentally cursed herself and her house. The whole house vanished with her in it. Lost to another realm for over 20 years, the house only appears in random places for 60 minutes at a time.
You and your group have figured out when and where the House will appear and have decided to try and break the curse. Now you are locked in her house with only 60 minutes to find her spell book to break the curse and get out or be Trapped in darkness forever.
Do you have what it takes to break the curse and free Madame Antinori from the darkness that holds her?
In a world of countless defuse the bomb and break out of jail games, The Twisted Curse of Madame Antinori instantly creates a refreshing break from the norm. Not only does Time Trapped establish an incredibly unique theme, but they cast a magically fun storyworld around it to bring it to life.
The Twisted Curse of Madame Antinori draws us in to its unique and quirky world as active characters in its narrative, leaving with us a sense of wonder and, perhaps most importantly, a real sense of urgency. The gypsy fortune teller flavor of Madame Antinori’s character leaves players just the right amount of on-edge, wondering if the magic we’re about to uncover is whimsical or sinister.
And then there’s the whole house disappearing in an hour for another twenty years thing. Yeah, I’d say we should take this mission seriously!
Let’s start by immediately addressing the scale of this experience: The Twisted Curse of Madame Antinori is Time Trapped’s smallest game. It exists entirely in a modest sized single room.
But here’s the thing. Size isn’t everything; Time Trapped’s smallest game is also their best!
The mood from the moment you enter the room is instantly engaging – dimly lit – almost dark (but not too dark) illuminated primarily by the eerie glow of the neon (esque) Palm Reader sign hanging in the window.
In the center of the space, a circular fortune teller’s table, appropriately dressed with a zodiac table cloth adorned with flickering candles and a crystal ball emitting an otherworldly glow. Around the room, more nods to the magical realm draw you even further into Madame Antinori’s storyworld, as you find various items from star charts to tarot cards.
Although a small space, every inch of it evokes a mood that instantly allows players to believe that Madame Antinori’s mystical, magical world is very much real, and now we are very much living within it – at least until it disappears again soon.
The Twisted Curse of Madame Antinori treats players to entirely intuitive, smoothly flowing gameplay that from start to finish exists solidly within its enchantingly magical storyworld. You won’t find a single puzzle-for-puzzle’s sake here; great care was clearly spent ensuring that each and every activity players tackle makes total thematic sense.
Time Trapped finds a satisfying balance with this game’s difficulty level – making it something that will appeal to newer, less experienced players while also keeping it fresh and unique enough to keep experienced groups like ours fully engaged.
Most exciting for us, The Twisted Curse of Madame Antinori truly makes use of every inch of its small space. We were surprised to find a few items around the room that we were certain must simply be themed decor would actually turn out to be integral pieces of a puzzle later in the game. This type of organic inclusion not only makes the storyworld all the more immersive, but makes the puzzles themselves more compelling and, as such, more satisfying.
When we first visited Time Trapped, we knew very little about their operation prior to walking in the door. On our return trip to encounter Madame Antinori, we entered excited to return to a venue that can only be described as one of Tampa’s hidden gems. Time Trapped, though easy to find, is a bit off the beaten trail so to speak in terms of the main cluster of games in the Tampa market.
In fact we’ve had a few readers comment on our social media check-ins that they’re local and never heard of the place. Well – you’ve heard of them now – and you really need to do yourselves a favor and pay them a visit if you’re in the area!
Time Trapped’s games are an all-together refreshing take on what an escape room should be. Their themes are unique, and their puzzle flow is well thought and intuitive. More importantly, when you leave a game like The Twisted Curse of Madame Antinori, you know without question that you’ve experienced something that you just won’t see elsewhere.
We also need to again acknowledge the venue’s enthusiastic and passionate mom & pop staff. Chatting with them for just five minutes will make it impossible to not feel like you’re long-time friends – and best of all, they, like us, are here simply because they’re huge fans of the escape game genre. As such, it should come as no surprise that their games are designed entirely in-house.
In just a handful of months Time Trapped has upped their game, both figuratively and literally. Their first room, The Mobster’s Speakeasy was a great room that easily earned them a very admirable 4 Key score. With their follow-up, The Twisted Curse of Madame Antinori solidly proves that this is a venue that will continue to strive for greatness.
Venue: Time Trapped Escape Room
Location: Tampa, Florida
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $28 per person
We thank Time Trapped Escape Room for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.