Gnome & Raven – Magic Lamp [Review]

Carpet diem!

Location:  Richmond, VA

Date Played: July 10, 2021

Team Size: 1-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player, $100 minimum

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration:  Crawling, sliding, and tall steps (for at least some team members)

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The moment we opened the front door to Gnome & Raven, we were transported to a magical land. The lobby’s gold-tinted blue walls, curated with gold-framed artwork and carefully filled curio cabinets, felt like something out of a Wes Anderson film and immediately established a distinctive aesthetic for the entire experience. 

A beautiful and colorful room with a table and chairs in the middle.
Image via Gnome & Raven

Gnome & Raven’s titularly mentioned mascots had a strong but not overbearing presence around their facility and lent a humorous warmth to their branding. (I highly recommend checking out the various trailer videos Gnome & Raven posts on their social media. You won’t be disappointed.)

At the time of writing, Magic Lamp was Gnome & Raven’s newest room, and they truly pulled out all the stops. As our costumed, in-character game host guided us into the room with a story and a flourish, our jaws immediately dropped. Filling the space was a life-size tree with hundreds of handwritten wishes hanging from it. Each new area of the set matched this level of wonder, and we were all brimming with childlike delight throughout the entire experience.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Aladdin fans
  • Any experience level

Story

For thousands of years, every genie must grant 1,000 wishes within 500 years. The genie Balazar Bolderdash has served in his Magic Lamp for 499 years, 364 days, and 23 hours but has granted only 999 wishes. We entered his Magic Lamp to find the final wish before his time ran out.

Setting

Magic Lamp is set inside the inner chambers of the genie’s magic lamp. Each room is ornately decorated in a loosely Middle Eastern style.

Closeup of a large object with many red ribbons and tags hanging from it, illuminated by an ornate lantern.

Gameplay

Magic Lamp is a puzzle-centric game with some light challenges.

Analysis

➕ Magic Lamp truly has something for everyone — story lovers, set lovers, puzzle lovers. All these dimensions of Magic Lamp were thoughtful, refined, and full of wondrous moments.

➕ The set was expansive and absolutely gorgeous. The gameplay made effective use of the space, with intermediate meta elements leading us to re-explore the space in new ways.

➖ While practically every inch of the set was meticulously designed, a few commercial combination locks felt aesthetically out of place.

➕ This room involved a lot of tech behind the scenes, and it all worked like magic.

➕/➖ A memorable interaction sent our hearts soaring, though some of our team found its implementation to be a bit too frictious.

➕ All bits of writing in the room were presented as laser-engraved wooden plaques, a stylish premium alternative to laminated paper.

➕ Gnome & Raven knows how to curate a multisensory experience. Pre-recorded and live audio were expertly mixed throughout the space. Some water fountains and mood lighting further enhanced the relaxing and magical ambience.

➕ Every game at Gnome & Raven either begins or ends in a room with a large table that both serves as a commanding set piece and allows them to host in-world parties. This is a clever business and creative decision which I haven’t seen at many other companies.

➕ The final room included a basin of ice-chilled water bottles. We were feeling quite toasty by that point in the game and really appreciated this unexpected gesture.

➕/➖ Magic Lamp ended on an endearing narrative note. However, compared to the rest of the room’s design, this felt slightly anticlimactic.

Matthew & Theresa holding their golden gnome.

➕ Teams that set a record in any Gnome & Raven room win an adorable golden gnome statue. (Our team set a record and won an adorable golden gnome statue!)

Tips For Visiting

  • Gnome & Raven is located in an open-air mall surrounded by a moat-like parking lot with plentiful free parking.

Book your hour with Gnome & Raven’s Magic Lamp, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Gnome & Raven comped our tickets for this game.

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