Ever wanted to have magical abilities? You now have a chance to graduate from the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and prove everyone that you are a true witch or wizard!
Completion Time: 50 minutes
Date Played: 5th August 2020
Party Size: 4
Our first real life, physical escape room since lockdown happened and it was … Magical! It played like a dream for the discerning Harry Potter fan out there. In School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, your goal is not to escape. Far from it – you, a student at the Wizarding School, must work within the time limit to pass 5 exams. History of Magic, Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Charms and Runes. After all, why would I want to escape from Hogwa- I mean, the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?
What starts fairly non-linear quickly becomes more and more linear as you complete various tasks relating each subject. There are 3 distinct rooms in this game, hidden in clever ways. There’s more than enough in there for different groups to be puzzling out different things at the same time. Whilst one pair is translating, the other might be solving a complex riddle, the others working on a puzzle involving rare and mythical creatures. I value this a lot in an escape room and am a fan of the non-linear, so this game proved to be the perfect balance.
What really stood out about the game were the special affects. Not a single lock – instead you navigate the puzzles by waving a wand, filling up a cauldron and coming face to face with an enormous and fearsome creature. There’s a bubbling smoke effect at one point, immersive sound effects and very cool hidden bricks and pressure plates in the walls. Locks would certainly have broken immersion, but more than anything they don’t fit into the narrative. You’re not trying to escape, you’re trying to complete the magical tasks.
In particular, as a bit of a potions boffin I LOVED the potions puzzle the most, if you couldn’t already tell from my mentioning it a lot in this review. Anything with a wand too, sign me up. I’m still waiting for my acceptance letter to Hogwarts, pretty sure it’s just lost in the owl post … So this escape room was about as close as I can get to being an actual witch.
Overall, as an escape room it’s really strong! I recall when it first opened the waiting times to get a booking were around 3+ months. In this case, my team got very lucky securing a booking in the first few days after they reopened from lockdown.
Yes, the post-lockdown world of escape rooms is really, really different. It was a bit of a culture shock, but not an unexpected one. It’s impossible to deny that escape rooms are really intimate spaces. Whether you’re playing with just your household, your social bubble, or friends you haven’t seen in a while – you do have to get up close and personal. You’ll all be touching the same things and sharing the same air space.
But from what I’ve seen Enigma Quests (and other escape rooms we’re looking forward to playing later in the month), the companies are making it as safe as possible to return to. With compulsory masks (some places are making gloves compulsory too!), regular cleaning, a 1 in 1 out policy with teams so the waiting areas aren’t crowded, and of course hand sanitiser a plenty.
School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is £30 per person and can be booked directly on the Enigma Quests website.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.