Form a team to tackle this quest, a magic journey with no time to rest!
Create the potion to bring back the light, using ancient methods and teamwork might!
No other experience will be quite like this, definitely an escape room you won’t want to miss.
We’re quite familiar with the majority of the exceptional escape room companies Reading, but I’ll admit, Escape Reading is one that for one reason or another, always seems to have been mostly missed during previous visits. Just a few short weeks before lockdown in February 2020, we did finally manage to play one game at the company’s more central location, Blown Away, and while it didn’t quite live up to its title, we definitely had a good time and were looking forward to coming back to try some of the company’s even more highly regarded games.
That opportunity finally presented itself on the end of our mini Kentish road trip, as Reading was the perfect stopover on our return journey home. We were a bit limited on time and could sadly only fit in one game. The obvious choice in this situation was Age of Magic. So bright and early on a Sunday morning, we made the trek from Central Reading out to Escape Reading’s secondary venue.
We were warmly and enthusiastically greeted by the lovely Jacob, and after a walk through the very sci-fi feeling corridor, made ourselves at home in the reception area. The usual pre-game chat ensued, and we lost a little track of time, which unfortunately didn’t help our time crunch situation any. I guess we would just have to be quick in the game!
Eventually, Jacob disappeared, and was replaced by a rather wizened looking wizard. The head wizard led us back down the corridor to the entrance to the Age of Magic, where we quickly set about restoring the light and saving magic (and therefore, the world!)
What I was expecting and what we got in Age of Magic were two very different things. What I was expecting was something along the lines of a magical school in a castle, wands, broomsticks, and strong references to a certain teenage wizard. What we got was something delightfully different as we stepped through the entrance into a lovingly crafted, ancient-looking cave. And it only got better from there.
Age of Magic took us on what can only be described as a truly magical journey, where everything we encountered fit into the narrative perfectly. The set was breathtakingly beautiful and the lighting and sound design combined with the scenic design perfectly, fully immersing us in both our surroundings and the task at hand. Game aside, Age of Magic was just a lovely space to be in.
But in terms of gameplay, Age of Magic was simply non-stop. With an open design, excluding the natural choke points, larger teams would have no problems dividing and conquering. But as a team of two, the pace felt almost frantic. In fact, Escape Reading actually advertise this game as suitable for three to six players, so it’s no surprise that we were busy! Gord and I often worked independently of one another, sometimes swapping puzzles if we encountered one that we struggled with, and occasionally coming together to solve another. But each task we encountered either fit perfectly into the surroundings, or served to further the narrative, and sometimes both. Like any good story, whatever its medium, Age of Magic built upon the foundations laid out at the start, with new discoveries, highs and lows, all culminating in a beautiful finale.
There were plenty of chunky and tactile things to play with throughout Age of Magic, rather than locks with codes to solve for (though there were a few of those too.) Whatever challenges we encountered, however, seemed to evolve naturally out of the surroundings, sticking closely to the narrative. Tasks and puzzles were, for the most part, incredibly fair, logical and intuitive as we progressed through the game.
Both logical and lateral thinking skills are critical throughout Age of Magic, but puzzles also incorporated pattern recognition, observation, a bit of searching, some wordplay and more. What’s more, teamwork became absolutely essential at certain parts of the game, and the finale was presented in such a way as to bring the entire team back together for one, final hurrah, ensuring that no one misses out.
The final puzzle of Age of Magic took us much longer to figure out than it should have due to a bit of a tech glitch. Sadly that diminished the magic of the room just a little bit for us, but in hindsight, if we had asked for a clue earlier, Jacob could have told us what we were doing was right, and to ignore the thing that was confusing us. For larger groups, I think this would be less of an issue, as this puzzle was also slightly modified for our little team of two.
Although it isn’t advertised, I understand that it may be possible to scale the difficulty of Age of Magic for different teams; for instance, if your GM knows that there will be a number of children playing, or perhaps that you’re two very experienced enthusiasts, there are certain tweaks that can be made to the puzzles to either guide you a little more directly to the solution, or in our case, make your brain work a little bit harder.
Jacob was passionate and enthusiastic during our pregame chat, and was a pleasure to have as a host. But aside from being a lovely human being, he was also excellent as our GM, ensuring that if we hit a snag in our journey to save magic, we were never struggling for too long.
The method of clue delivery changed as we progressed through the game, further immersing us in our magical travels. Whether we were getting a verbal clue from an ancient god, a written clue from magical well, or a more visual clue from another magical source, any assistance was delivered immediately upon request.
Age of Magic almost certainly wins the prize for most beautifully themed magic room I’ve played thus far. On top of that, the puzzles were solid, making the entire experience simply enchanting.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 56:25
Address:92B Audley Street, Reading, United Kingdom, RG30 1BS