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Review: University of Magic: The Entrance Exam - Lucardo, Manchester

Room Story - from Lucardo

You have been offered a place to study at the mystical University of Magic. In order to secure your place, you will need to cast spells, recite incantations, mix potions and battle with dark forces. Do you have what it takes to play this ultimate escape room and become the next Witch or Wizard of the University of Magic?



Key Stats

Room NameUniversity of Magic: The Entrance Exam
VenueLucardo
LocationManchester, UK
Date21/10/2018
Escape Time47:27
Team Size3
My Recommended Team Size3 - 5

Review

I got a gift voucher as a work leaving present to play University of Magic (take a look at this post that reveals the quest I had to complete to get my voucher code!). Out of all the escape rooms we’ve ever played, University of Magic is the busiest room I’ve ever encountered as it’s usually booked up for the next month. If you want a Saturday game, it’s usually two months before you find an open slot. So other than the obvious parallels that can be drawn with Harry Potter, I was really keen to find out what made this game so popular!

After we’d received the usual safety briefing, we went to don our cloaks and receive a list of 3 tasks we had to complete in the room. How quickly we completed these tasks would decide what house we’d be sorted into. Unlike most escape rooms, the aim is focused around the completion of the tasks rather than escaping.

As soon as we entered the room we were amazed by the quality of the theming and props. We found ourselves in a stone walled corridor surrounded by pictures, broomsticks, books, wands and other magic paraphernalia. At the end of the corridor was a door to the Potions Lab. This corridor required a fair bit of searching, observation and even spells to solve the puzzles to unlock the door. Everything flowed really well and there were lots of visual clues to guide you. We completed this part of the room fairly quickly and headed to the Potions Lab.

When we opened the door to the Potions Lab, we all muttered some variation of “this is so cool”. The lighting in the room is initially quite low and you’re surrounded by twinkling and glowing potion bottles throughout the room. It gives the room a genuinely magical feel and we were sad to turn the lights on!

The puzzles in this room are all centred around finding the spell and ingredients to concoct a potion. There are lots of nice puzzles that make brilliant use of the props in the room to keep you progressing onwards. One multi-part puzzle did cause us a few problems. First, we tried to complete it too soon before we had all the required information. Then when we got the required information, we managed to confuse a couple of things and come to the wrong answer. We eventually discovered our mistakes but it consumed quite a bit of time.

The game comes to an end when you’ve successfully completed your challenges and you’re welcomed with open arms into the University of Magic. We all loved this game; we thought the puzzles were fun and the theming was excellent. It never felt too difficult, so it was nice to do a gentle paced room where we could take time to enjoy the theming. I think this is one of the games we’ve played with the most universal appeal – it's definitely a must for any Harry Potter fan.

The team were Beth, Daniel and Becky.

Ratings


Overall It’s an extremely popular game and we could see why. It’s a beautifully themed and high-quality game with good puzzles excellently tied into the theme. 
Difficulty There’s nothing ambiguous in the room and all the puzzles flow nicely. It is a game that has been designed to appeal to all. 
Fun It’s not often you get the chance to don a cloak, make potions and utter spells. It’s really great fun. 
Puzzles Unlike other Lucardo games that seem to be a lot more padlock based, this game has a mixture of padlocks and electronic puzzles that help to make the magic realistic. There are some really good puzzles in this room perfectly tied into the theme. 
Immersion It's clear that a lot of work has gone into making this room – it's beautifully designed with robust props and set that gives it a real quality feel. The on-theme puzzles further help to make it feel like a truly immersive experience. 
Surprises There are a few nice surprises in this game, particularly as you discover more and more of the excellent theming, 

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