Only when you escape that room, you find that that's not the end of your escapades. There are more rooms to be visited, more items to be collected, and more doors to be unlocked. And as you progress through these rooms, you begin coming across unusual sights and items, and possibly the beginning of a plot linked with the mystery of time and space.
If this - or at least the "use various items in the room to escape" premise - sounds familiar, you've most likely already played other escape-the-room games before this one. Mystery of Time and Space (aka MOTAS), however, was created way back in November 2001; it wasn't just one of the first escape-the-room games around, but started the escape-the-room genre. Even more than a decade later, with many escape-the-room games on the Web containing improved graphics and more complex puzzles, MOTAS's levels (currently 20) and puzzles are still worth a playthrough, if only to get a feel of the genre's origins.
This game contains the following tropes:
- Cloning Blues: It's hinted that the player character is an escaped clone.
- Dead Game: The game hasn't been updated since 2008. However, the game developer does seem to still be active, judging from the 9th anniversary logo on the game's page, so there's still hope...
- Easter Egg: One level has a soda machine, but unfortunately you don't have any money on you...unless you picked up an extra coin in a previous level after having used up the obligatory one to play a pool game, in which case you can indeed get a Coca-Cola can from the machine. The Coca-Cola can serves no purpose other than to look cool in your inventory. Then, if you choose not to use the coin in the vending machine, you can throw it into the wishing well in the next level.
- Follow the Leader: Paved the way for numerous escape-the-room games, Crimson Room being one of the first and most notable.
- Genre Popularizer: Of the escape-the-room genre.
- The Key Is Behind the Lock: In the first level.
- Key Under The Door Mat: The doormat is on top of a grate for some reason, so after you accidentally knock the key down you have to go down and get it.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The PC states at one point that this entire experience feels like a "logical nightmare, just like one of those text adventures".
- Mind Screw: You get a couple of hints and suggestions about your background and intended purpose but nothing more than that, and the hints actually seem to contradict one another at some points.
- Paper Key-Retrieval Trick: One of the early puzzles.
- Pixel Hunt: Actually averted most of the time, as clicking on cabinets, drawers, boxes, etc. will automatically give you everything located within them. The one possible exception is not realizing that one of the flag's pins can be taken in Level 2.
- Stable Time Loop: At the end of one level, you see someone else seeming to be spying on you. It turns out that the "spy" was actually you after you time-traveled from the future to the past to find an electronic component for an UFO.
- Title Drop: One of the levels has a book titled "The Mystery of Time and Space" that you can read.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: You eventually do make it outside (that is, "escape the room"), but you can't just go walking off into the horizon. There are still more rooms to explore and more puzzles to solve.
- You Wake Up in a Room