Maine Escape Games – Southport School for Wizards [Review]

The New England Branch

Location:  South Portland, ME

Date Played: October 15, 2021

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player (Friday through Sunday and holidays the price for just two people to play a room is $90)

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Crammed with solid puzzles, and classic escape room gameplay, Southport School for Wizards was the Harry Potter-inspired game that a lot of escape room creators strive (less successfully) to create.

Maine Escape Games captured the vibe and allure of Harry Potter without using any of the names or props… and did it with style.

A wide view of the wizarding school, in focus is a book titled, "Kingdoms: Every King Needs One."

If you’re visiting Portland, Maine, Dr. Jem’s Time Trap is the must-play game. However, if you’re looking for a second game (or you love Harry Potter!), make it this one.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Variety of interactions for different skills and types of intelligence
  • Balances unusual interactions well
  • Charming Harry Potter-esque game

Story

Wizarding school was in session, and it was time for us to earn our wands. We had to prove our competence in four wizarding skills: transmutation, evocation, divination, and conjuration… and of course, we had to keep an eye out for the nefarious activity of an unnamed evil wizard.

Setting

Aesthetically, Southport School for Wizards gave off some strong Hogwarts classroom vibes. The combination of wood, stone, books, spells, and crests sold us on the New England magic school.

It was sturdy, elegant, and thoughtfully constructed.

A few piles of magical books on a wooden table twi colorful circles atop it.

Gameplay

Maine Escape Games’ Southport School for Wizards was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

A large wooden device named teh "Master Spell Caster 3000" has a hand print on it beside a grid of magical words.

Analysis

➕ The set was a lot of fun. Who doesn’t want to spend an hour solving puzzles at Hogwarts? It was also well-constructed with large, interactive set pieces.

➕/➖ The name Southport School for Wizards was fun and early in this game, there was a nod to not being at that school. We would have loved to see this joke pushed even further with more New England flavor.

The Lionheart house crest features a red lion on a blue shield, it's mounted to a stone wall above a locked chest.

➕ Maine Escape Games relied heavily on capacitive touch in Southport School for Wizards. This was magical. Seriously.

➕ Interaction design was top notch. From unusually placed magnets to unorthodox laser usage, Maine Escape Games built interactions we seldom encounter.

➖ While most puzzles had complete clue structures, we encountered an unclued anagram.

➕ We especially enjoyed forcing a prop to undergo a transformation. This added magic to the experience.

➖ Light was sometimes a struggle, especially when color was important.

➕/➖  The second act of Southport School for Wizards provided more of the first act. On the one hand, the first act was a ton of fun. On the other hand, this would have been an opportunity to add more intrigue with a bigger departure – in set or story – from what had come before.

➖ The finale lacked the fanfare that a wand should provide. We wanted the arrival of our wands to facilitate a more bombastic conclusion to our adventure.

Southport School for Wizards can be adapted to different player counts.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Maine Escape Games’ Southport School for Wizards, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Maine Escape Games comped our tickets for this game.

2 thoughts on “Maine Escape Games – Southport School for Wizards [Review]

  1. I played here a few years ago and thought their alien room was excellent! The first room is the fictional back office of the escape room, onto which an alien ship has crashed, so I found starting the game by breaking into the ship was a creative way to be a creative way to stage the first act

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