RATING: 0 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 10:08
A, quote, “Harry Potter” adventure just as bad as one might expect from a company situated less than an hour’s drive from the studios who own the intellectual properties they are blatantly utilizing without license.
Just like the classic stories of renowned author J.K. Rowling, only with much less of a right to utilize them for profit – Harry Potter: Escape from the Chamber of Secrets wants so very badly to take place within the Wizarding World.
Unfortunately for this game, not all dreams come true.
This room stands as proof that saying you have a story and adding a few key themed props such as wands and a sorting hat to build to a “wait, is this a joke?” battle with a “Bassilisk” does not actually mean you’ve successfully immersed players into a story world.
It’s off to the Gryffindor Common Room – probably – to help Harry Potter escape from the Chamber of Secrets. Except this barely decorated room looks nothing even close to the actual Gryffindor Common Room – unless you count a framed illustration of Harry Potter flying on a broom, and another of bricks – because, you know, “Diagon Alley.”
Just like in the movie.
Which they probably have never even seen.
Although the scenic in this room is certainly better than that found in their former Mario game, it’s still a far cry from a quality presentation, and an insult to the brand they’re trying to gain notoriety from.
Muddled clues and non-intuitive challenges await young wizards-to-be, before finally getting to recreate that climatic moment from the beloved J.K. Rowling novel when Harry & Ron sit down at a table and solve three consecutive full page Sudoku puzzles in order to defeat He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named!
Like in the movie.
Which now we know they have never seen.
The battle with the blank wall lit by a blurred “I wish I were a Bassilisk” gobo projection was without a doubt one of the final steps in the game.
Here’s the thing about escape rooms – they have to be well thought through, and more importantly they have to be fun. People remember physical things they accomplish in a game. Moving something. Triggering something. NO ONE remembers doing math homework – and you know why?
Because math homework isn’t fun.
Couple that with all of the other flaws in game play, amateur-at-best presentation and inconsistencies that make it a random guessing game of “what did they expect us to think this means” and Square Room Escape is well earned some of our lowest marks for any escape room we’ve ever played.
The blatant disregard for two truly cherished intellectual properties that we all basically grow up with and have a strong emotional connection does nothing but add insult to injury – a significant statement to make when one takes into account just how hurt both our brains and collective dignity was after enduring this game.
*It should be noted that right before penning this review, Square Room Escape has abruptly changed the name of this game in all of their marketing from “Harry Potter: Escape from the Chamber of Secrets” to “Sorcerer’s Study.” I’ll leave you to draw the conclusion of your choice for what might have prompted such a sudden change of branding.
Venue: Square Room Escape
Location: Irvine, California
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.
Cost: $29+ per person (minimum 3)