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Maine Escape Games - "Southport School for Wizards"

Updated: Apr 10

LOCATION:  Portland, Maine, USA

Photo above is property of Maine Escape Games

Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


📝  ETR DECODER

  • 🔑 GAME: Southport School For Wizards

  • 📅 DATE PLAYED: August 13, 2023

  • 🎬 GENRE: Fantasy, Magic

  • 🧠 DIFFICULTY (Based on 2 PPL): 7/10

  • 👥 TOTAL # OF PLAYERS: 2-8 ppl

  • 🕒 LENGTH OF TIME: 60 Mins

  • 💰 PRICE: $32/PP (more on weekends)

  • ☎️ BOOKINGTYPE: Private

  • 🔓 ESCAPED/ COMPLETED?: Yes (44:07)


📖 THE STORY

You and your team are students at the Southport School for Wizards, where you have been learning the four core disciplines of magic. Now it’s time to demonstrate your skills in an elaborate test set for you by the faculty. Should you pass, you will earn your very own wands. However, an evil wizard has tampered with the test in an effort to stop you. Can you best the challenges set before you and earn your magic? Or will you fall prey to the evil wizard’s machinations?


🎯 HIT THE BULLSEYE

  • The puzzles in this room are excellent, with several unique concepts I have never seen before. I was particularly impressed with some of the electronic puzzles, one of which had us strumming invisible strings. Very clever implementation of tech “magic,” all of which is well designed and runs very smoothly.

  • The narrative is simple enough not to be distracting while lending the puzzles a strong sense of context, plus it features a fun mid-game twist to raise the stakes.

  • The room does a great job signaling what is important without feeling too hand-holdy. Player frustration is minimized since most elements are easy to find, but puzzles remain very satisfying to solve.


🧩 MISSED THE MARK

  • One puzzle involved repeating a delicate task several times over, which became mildly tedious for two players on a time crunch. However, it was still a very cool design, and wouldn’t be an issue at all for a group of four or more players.

🏹 TAKE A SHOT?

I’m predisposed to be skeptical of the “wizard school” theme for escape rooms, which can sometimes feel like little more than cheap bait for Harry Potter fans. If I’d done any of Maine Escape Games’ other rooms prior to this one, I would have known not to be worried. But I hadn’t, which is why “Southport School for Wizards” ended up blowing my expectations completely out of the water.


First things first: the puzzles here, as in pretty much all of Maine Escape Games’ offerings, are top notch. Every one of them was satisfying to solve, with solutions that challenged our initial assumptions and made us think outside the box. Additionally, the puzzles all do an excellent job of broadcasting themselves at a distance. Instead of the nook-and-cranny room canvassing that escape rooms often employ to hide clues, Southport and its peers tend to put the important things in plain view, challenging you not to find them but to figure out how they work. The result is a puzzle format that not only minimizes the frustration of overlooked minutia, but also focuses on the most engaging and cerebral aspects of good puzzle design.


The technology in these rooms is also phenomenal. All the electronic elements are built custom by the owners, and while some of the props end up looking a tad blocky at first glance, the initial DIY impression quickly gives way to a strong sense of quality, professional design. Everything works as intended, with little to no friction taking away from the player experience. The electronic elements are also used in some very imaginative ways, with several moments that feel distinctly magical. Few rooms have ever captured my sense of wonder like this one, and it’s an experience that’s sure to please.


Whatever I thought I might find going in, "Southport School for Wizards" defied my expectations with one of the strongest all-around escape room experiences I’ve ever had. I recommend it highly and without reservation, both to escape enthusiasts and first-time players alike.

Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


ℹ️ ADDITIONAL INFO

  • Plenty of parking available just outside the front door.

  • Merchandise available for purchase in the lobby.

  • The building itself is handicap accessible, but not all the rooms are. Double check before booking!

Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers

 

(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)


Disclosure: We thank Maine Escape Games for comping our tickets for this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion of the review whatsoever.



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