Finally, a magic room that feels magic!
The SpellCraft twins, Evilinda & Spellinda, two witches, two paths, two shops, two worlds, two journeys, their two magical worlds collide, and you find yourself in the middle of their story.
SpellCraft will take you on a magical adventure, you’ll need to work together, but in the end there’s always a battle, will you escape and who will win?
Anytime Tulleys opens a new room it’s a special occasion, so we decided to make this an even more special occasion by teaming up with Amy and Ian from Brit of an Escape Habit, but to make it even more special, this was to be their 500th game and our 300th! (We don’t count online games in that tally).
We met up with Amy and Ian a little earlier than our room time as we had planned to get breakfast at Tulleys. Yes, Tulleys has a lovely cafe on site where you can get some very tasty food before, between, or after your games. I’m not sure we’ve ever played games at Tulleys without stopping in their cafe.
Having been sufficiently fuelled, we headed over to the escape rooms area where we were met by our GM for SpellCraft, Becky, and also a very cute cat who seemed to be living a great life at Tulleys. Becky took us through to a separate area that had a secondary waiting area just for SpellCraft (great in Covid times), where she proceeded to give us a general briefing. What we weren’t expecting was to be split into two teams: Team Light and Team Dark. Obviously it was a no-brainer that Liz and I would be ‘light’, and Amy and Ian were ‘dark’. With our wristbands on (so we didn’t forget our side) we were led into the room via different doors, and our experience began.
Covid-19 Precautions: We didn’t see any other teams while we were on site, but if we did, the place is big enough that we wouldn’t need to come close to them. Plenty of hand-sanitiser was in place and I gather the rooms get a thorough cleaning between games.
Once we entered our separate spaces, we were given an additional video briefing (each side got a different intro). So, like Dodge, this game has a split-start element to it, always good to keep you on your toes!
I’m not sure we have played a game yet that could rival SpellCraft for a sense of adventure and immersion. There were so many spaces to work through and explore, and thanks to a very clever game mechanic, we never really knew where we would end up next. If I could only use one word to describe SpellCraft, it would be ‘Adventure’. I’ve got to admit, at one point I did get a little lost and ended up taking a scenic route to basically get back to where I started, not my best moment.
I loved how this game used the space available, and used it well. I forgot to check my FitBit step tracker after playing, but I’m sure I got a ridiculous amount of steps by simply going backwards and forwards between the spaces.
SpellCraft had the usual Tulleys build quality, everything felt robust and built to last and I’m sure this game will be fascinating teams for years to come. There was ambient music and extra sound effects playing throughout the experience and lighting was never an issue.
Tulleys games are never easy, and part of the challenge is that you just don’t know how much more there is to go. SpellCraft is the same, the space keeps going and the rooms keep appearing, but this game is not a hard game in the traditional sense. It’s also definitely a game that you can take the whole family to, I’m positive that kids would get a kick out of using the magic wands, we certainly did!
Tulleys modus operandi seems to be to cram in as many puzzles as possible, some could argue that this is so people fail and want to come back to complete it, but personally, I think they cram in as much as possible so that it appeals to everyone. SpellCraft had a ridiculous amount of puzzles but there was definitely something geared towards the brain of each of our team members; searching, observation, decoding, physical aspects, audio, taste, touch, spatial relations, wordplay, logic, and magic – this game literally had it all.
When we thought we had done it all, there was one last ‘hail mary’ by Tulleys that we didn’t see coming. It’s the type of puzzle that some people will excel at, and others will crash and burn, but it gave a great climax to the game and was a good bit of competitive fun to end our adventure.
SpellCraft didn’t have the hardest puzzles that we have seen at Tulleys, and I would say this game was more about the whole experience rather than just puzzle solving. We played as a team of four and this worked well, but I probably wouldn’t cram in more than six people as it could get cosy in places. It’s probably doable as a team of two, but make sure you wear your running shoes!
I love it when a company thinks about the clue system as part of the experience and not just a bolted-on after thought. Tulleys have very much integrated the system so that nothing feels out of place. Obviously our clues were triggered by Becky, but they came through as audio nudges from a Goblin that we had been introduced to earlier.
We needed one or two nudges to get us back on track (mostly for search fails) and when we did, they were delivered on time and at just the right level so that it spoon-feed us.
The magic added something to the immersion. Nethercott is possibly still my favourite, and Mutiny might still be Liz’s, but objectively SpellCraft might be one of Tulleys best. The magical elevator taking us places, and then revisiting other rooms, and the twistyness of everything gave it a level of mystique. The good vs evil also gave it a feeling that was both cooperative and competitive at the same time. And of course, the set was as beautiful as all of their other games
Team: 4 players (escaped in 49 minutes)
Address: Tulleys Farm, Turners Hill Road, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 4PE