Lucardo Manchester – University of Magic: The Entrance Exam [Hivemind Review]

University of Magic: The Entrance Exam is an avatar-led livestreamed adaptation of an in-person game, created by Lucardo Manchester in England.

A wizard in the stone halls of a magical university over Zoom.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Adaptation of an in-person game (can be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: £80 per team

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

This is an avatar-led game (with a separate camera person) that takes place in a real-life escape room. You play through Zoom and there is no inventory.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

We had to prove to our professor that we were worthy of passing the magic exam, but there were quite a few tasks and hurdles we had to overcome first.

At its best, our gamemaster was the highlight of this game, portraying a super fun character, interacting with us, and even doing some magic. There was also an extra person handling the camera. Additionally, I really enjoyed the themed space. Apart from mostly standard puzzles, there were a few beautifully implemented components.

At its worst, at the beginning there was a lot to look at simultaneously with only a little gatekeeping. While the ending had a nice special effect, puzzle-wise it was a bit disappointing. I was hoping for a more grand final puzzle. Unfortunately, the livestream was lagging at times and the overall audio quality was pretty bad.

Once again, here’s proof of how a gamemaster can make or break an online escape experience. I had a great time.

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Lucardo Manchester brought an insane amount of energy to their online adaptation of University of Magic: The Entrance Exam. I absolutely love having an avatar who is willing to wear three hats the entire game (literally). His willingness to embrace the silly, the fun, and the improv heightened this experience greatly. The puzzles were fun and interactive, and worked well without the use of an inventory. Lucardo Manchester decided to add some flair to the experience that can only exist on this online platform, and that was quite fun! My only issue with this game was the audio. Thankfully our avatar did a great job of projecting his voice, but the audio was muffled with some squeaky background music playing. With a small upgrade to the audio setup, this game will be a must-play.

Andrew Reynolds’ Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

University of Magic: The Entrance Exam is an avatar-led experience that transports you to a magical world that will seem at least a little familiar if you’ve been consuming any amount of pop culture for the last 20 years. Once safely in the school, you’re tasked with passing your entrance exam, a feat that can be accomplished by solving a series of mostly standard escape room-style puzzles with the help of an instructor.

We had to work through some tech problems, but nothing insurmountable: mostly a persistent audio issue, but also our avatar’s camera just sort of dropped out at some point. Tech issues happen and I don’t hold this against them. In fact, our avatar did some comical ad-libbing when he reappeared. It was entirely in-character and brought us right back into the game.

Brett Kuehner’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.
  • + Entertaining and energetic host performance
  • ? The room tour at the beginning was a bit of a slow start, but it served a useful purpose
  • + Having a “Pixie-cam” (separate camera operator) lets players interact with the host in a more natural way, and keeps the camera view more stable
  • + A fun and well-executed magical moment early in the game
  • -/+ A connection issue stopped the game in the middle for about 5 minutes, but once reconnected the game continued right where we left off
  • – There are several rather mundane searching/decoding puzzles. It would be nice to see more on-theme magical interactions
  • – Background music interfered with the host’s voice. The game would be improved by leaving out the music for remote play.
  • + A satisfyingly magical ending

Tammy McLeod’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

This was a fun game. Our host avatar was excellent! He acted his role with gusto, and played along with our silly requests, staying in character the whole way. There was a “pixie” managing the camera for him, which freed him up to focus on our game experience. The puzzles were well signposted, and clued in ways that would make this game approachable for less experienced players. The room looked great, and would probably have been fantastic in person.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.