MoviESCAPE Stockport: Merlin’s Magic Academy

Just over a week ago, we made a last minute trip down the motorway to moviESCAPE Stockport, to take on their recently opened magic game. We previously enjoyed moviESCAPE’s games, particularly Haunted House when we played it a couple of years ago, but were left a little underwhelmed on our last visit to take on the Meth Lab, so we were unsure what to expect with their new magic game. After a 15 minute delay in reception due to a children’s party, we finally headed into Merlin’s academy, but would it be worth the wait?

If you love the Boy Wizard… you will adore Merlin’s Magic Academy.

Actual working wands…. create potions… free the dragon!”

Merlin's Magic Academy at moviESCAPE Stockport

The above brief from the website is a bit limited, but the story within the game is a lot more detailed, as you’ll find when you read your academy acceptance letter at the start. Basically, the premise is that you’re proving your skills with a one hour exam, and along the way, you must uncover the secret that the school is harbouring…

The theming of the room is spot on. Big stone walls, stained glass windows, candles hanging from the ceiling, big bulky books, pictures of the Academy’s ancient alumni, all with a great level of detail.

It’s not just good theming though, but also good puzzles. They had the mix of puzzles just right, with some quite easy, and others requiring some proper thought. There was a little bit of searching to do, but mostly this was quite a padlock based room. In between the padlocks though were some proper magic themed puzzles. As the game description reads, you do have to create potions, and there are “actual working wands”. Although… our wand didn’t work and someone had to come in to sort the puzzle out for us. Hopefully that’s something they can get working more reliably, as it’s a nice touch!

Overall, this is a very good magic room, and if you enjoyed “University of Magic” at Lucardo, you’ll definitely enjoy this. It’s a similar theme, but executed in a completely different way, also packing a fantastic finale piece with some great theming and special effects. It’s a great surprise to finish with! This is definitely the best of moviESCAPE’s games, and I hope we see more at this high standard from them in future.

Host: We didn’t catch our host’s name, but she delivered a quick brief covering everything we needed to know, and we had well timed, useful clues.
Clue System: The clue system must first be activated, which is a great bit of fun. We won’t say how the clues are delivered, but it’s done humorously and adds to the experience.
Success? Yes, we got out in around 56 minutes.


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  1. Well what a surprise! We were left really underwhelmed by Escape the Meth Lab, so much so that we didn’t return to Moviescape for the Christmas room that was open at err Christmas despite the venue really being quite local to us. Escape the Meth Lab had a couple of good touches but it was too easy and too sparsely decorated (yes it’s a meth lab, I know, but it’s still too bare), outside knowledge was required on one puzzle and most of all the immersion was completely ruined by a kids party that was happening right outside and next to the room with no music in the lab to drown the noise out.

    We rushed to get to Moviescape on time on this occasion so were a bit put out to then have to wait 15 minutes (we timed it) for the room to be ready as the host (no name offered in the quick hello) had to deal with the kids party first (not the host’s fault). So was it worth the wait? Yes, as Jamie says, it actually was even though….
    the room was themed really well but it was quite dark and I struggled to see in quite a lot of places. The light source I had been given was totally inadequate and after a lot of moaning by me Jamie swapped his slighter brighter version for mine. I think there should be a different light source available, either that or turn the room lights up ever so slightly (the room does become brighter later in the game when it’s necessary). One puzzle involved placing items on the wall, a couple of which kept falling off although the puzzle can still be solved and once again, despite music in the room, the noise from the kids party could still be heard, but at least it’s more expected to hear kids in a magic academy than it is a meth lab 😀 It really wasn’t gearing up to be a good room…

    But…despite the above, it actually was a really good room with potential to be even better if things worked as they should! The theming and puzzles were done very well and we enjoyed working our way through the padlocks. The clue system is very good and in theme (always a bonus) and does bring a touch of humour to the room and when we requested help it came quickly. There was one point when searching for a certain ingredient for a potion that it was written incorrectly on your list but again, the “clue system” pointed this out immediately and when all ingredients had been collected they didn’t really fit in the pot, but that’s something that can be easily solved. The other issue was the magic wand that despite doing as instructed just would not do as it should and held us up for a couple of minutes. We had to have someone enter the room to try themselves and it still wouldn’t work and the action it should create was done by a remote control. A bit of a shame as it would be a great touch seeing this work. So even more issues pointed out, but it is still a very good room! The puzzles, theming and the ending are what makes this a great room, forget the rest, I even eventually forgot about the kids party noise! The ending has a fantastic prop that was a complete surprise and completed the room very well. Well done Moviescape on upping the quality on this room which is much more on the level of their Haunted House room!

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