I remember back when I posted the Crimson Room not being sure if that game was the beginning of the genre or not. Then I remembered that its creator credited a game already out there for inspiration; MOTAS.
MOTAS, or Mystery of Time and Space, is among the first of the room escape game genres, and unlike many that have entered the field since its inception four years ago, MOTAS remains as playable and enjoyable today as it did back in 2004.
You are one of very few humans that have been selected to take part in an experiment engineered by an alien race. This race of benevolent extra-terrestrials claim that the universe no longer holds any mysteries for them, and while your memory has been wiped for the sake of the experiment, the implication is that if you succeed, you too will find yourself among the enlightened few for whom time and space no longer remains a riddle.
The experiment? Escape a series of increasingly more complex and difficult rooms, of course.
Back when I played, MOTAS only had twelve or thirteen levels, but since then Logan entertainment, the makers of the game, have upped the number up to 20. It is, perhaps, the continued addition of new rooms to explore and escape from that continually adds to the freshness of the game.
MOTAS’ longevity comes in part from being one of the pioneers of the genre. By today’s standards the graphics are nothing to write home about, and for seasoned room escapers, it doesn’t even pose much of a challenge until the later levels.
But there are more than a few aspects to Time and Space that makes it worth your time regardless of your experience and discriminating eye. While the graphics are nothing to write home about, they are nevertheless clean and serviceable which is an asset in a genre cluttered with sloppily presented titles.
Also, unlike many other room escapers, MOTAS is unique in that it cultivates its players. One of the brilliant things about MOTAS is is that it starts off easy and does an excellent job in growing more difficult as you progress in levels. Thus, you can start off MOTAS being a room escaping novice and leave a hardened veteran.
Also, for a genre where many puzzles have become over used and clichetic, many of the puzzles you find in MOTAS are unique and original. Indeed, the trick to leaving the first room is still one that I’ve yet to see reproduced in any other ETR game to date.
Finally, MOTAS provides a support system unlike any other; a built in chat room. Getting stuck in most ETRs typically warrants a trip through google as you try and track down a walkthrough or at the very least a page full of hints, but in MOTAS you needn’t go that far.
A little link at the bottom instantly connects you with a horde of others currently puzzling their way through MOTAS’ secrets and usually you’ll bump into one or two kind folks who have been where you are and should be able to help.
Between this and Crimson Room, you have the two ETRs upon which I cut my teeth, and now with a bunch of new levels that I’ve never experienced, you’re sure to find more than enough to keep you busy for a while.