Gnome & Raven – Wizard’s Castle [Review]

Organic artisanal good time

Location:  Richmond, VA

Date Played: October 2, 2021

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player, 4 player minimum

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Wizard’s Castle was witty and engaging. The interactions were well designed to sing to Harry Potter fans, and fans of fantasy in general… which really worked for me.

A stone wall with glowing cubbies inside of it within a magical study.

In the scheme of Gnome & Raven, Wizard’s Castle was a little smaller, and slightly less epic than their other offerings. While I strongly recommend it for fans of wand- and potion-based fiction… I’d suggest that everyone else check out Magic Lamp or Shipwrecked first. This is a very worthy wizard game.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Wizarding school fans
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • That party room
  • Large and magical set that captured the theme

Story

The renowned Wizbin the Wonderful, wizard to kings and queens, was searching for an apprentice. To prove our worth, we needed to craft the Midas Potion, which would turn anything to gold.

A wall of paintings of wizards, with lanterns and candles.

Setting

Wizard’s Castle was packing some strong Hogwarts-meets-Dungeons & Dragons vibes. Portraits of wizards, magical trinkets, crests, and suits of armor decorated the space.

A shelf with a golden raven beside a golden key.

Wizard’s Castle was a physically smaller game for Gnome & Raven… which meant that it was still a large game by escape room standards. It was also incredibly detailed, down to the many creative labels on potion bottles.

Gameplay

Gnome & Raven’s Wizard’s Castle was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

A collection of glass bottles with magic ingredients, one is labeled, "Witch's Brew."

Analysis

➕ We enjoyed the regal-meets-apothecary aesthetic of Wizard’s Castle. It was beautifully crafted and fun to take in and explore.

➖ We barely spent any time in the opening set, and once we’d unlocked another set, we weren’t sure whether we should be pressing onward, or if we should return for another look around.

➕ In a land of magical reveals, we especially enjoyed concocting a transformation. This changed up the gameplay in a rewarding way.

➕ Wizard’s Castle was witty. It was full of Easter eggs. We were amused by the solves, reveals, and even the searching.

➖ When we stalled in Wizard’s Castle, we didn’t know if we were search-failing, or if an interaction was unavailable. A lot of the inputs were front-loaded. A bit more gating would alleviate this confusion and avoid time spent on yet inaccessible interactions.

➕ We loved when static props awakened to display challenging, layered puzzles within.

➖ While most props belong in this world, one puzzle felt clearly out of place.

A large, circular wooden table surrounded by a large map and a suit of armor.

🏰 The table in the last set of Wizard’s Castle would be the perfect place for a birthday party or other group gathering. We love how Gnome & Raven is designed as more than just a puzzle game or thematic adventure, but also a world into which you can bring your own fun.

➕ Wizard’s Castle belonged in the world of Gnome & Raven, a world of characters, magic, and fantasy that included not just this gamespace and gamemaster, but also the lobby and everyone on staff.

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 Wizard’s Castle, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

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