University Of Magic
Lucardo has built a reputation in the UK for quality games and had long been on my wish list of places I wanted to visit. They entered the online market in mid-2020 with Gemrunner (which I rated highly for its design and the overall experience). I’ve not had the chance to play Safe House as yet so when the opportunity came up to play the University of Magic I immediately signed on. Along with Prisons, pirates and sci-fi, Magic is one of my go-to themes.
This game is conducted solely through Zoom, no Telescape or any other kind of inventory and realistically, with the design of the room, it wasn’t needed. The video was good and solid throughout (no seasickness here), the audio was also good but occasionally was fighting with the background music that was in the early part of the room.
When you first enter the room, you are greeted by Professor Rick who explains that you need to complete three tests to prove your magical prowess. It’s not hard to see the influence of the adventures of a certain boy wizard with regards to some of the terminology and design choices in the room. Broomsticks, spellbooks, pictures of wizards and mysterious bottles filled with more mysterious ingredients all decorate the room. Puzzles are a combination of traditional padlocks, maglocks and magic!
In a change to most Avatar led rooms, the camera is handled by someone else (in this case, a Pixie, called Emzie) so Professor Rick is always in your view. With an appropriate flourish, the Professor and Emzie move around the rooms in concert as you direct them. They look at and examine all of the various elements of the room, at various points you have to engage with Professor Rick to help cast magic to progress.
The theming of the environment is well done and the puzzles flow well from one to another in a relatively linear fashion (hence no need for an inventory). If we ever got stuck then we would get a helpful in character nudge from the Professor. The environment is relatively small but is used well (even more so when you consider how the Professor and Emzie moved around each other).
I’ve said before that the Avatar can be the difference between a good room and a great room and Professor Rick is excellent. He was fun to interact with, constantly adapting to our random requests and was just a lot of fun to play with throughout.
This was a lot of fun and the theming would appeal to a wide range of people, this game was completely family-friendly and the puzzles flowed well from one to another. If you are an enthusiast with many rooms under your belt, then none of the puzzles will probably surprise you, but they are implemented well and in keeping with the character of the room. if you’ve looking for a fun room with a great host then this has been one of the best experience I’ve had for a while.