Bucharest, May 2018
First of three games we played at 60 Minutes, Black Magic was an enjoyable escape room that layers an effective occult theme over a fairly classic set of puzzles. The delightfully over-the-top game description on the website talks about The Queen of Black Magic, but in practice it boils down to searching a witch’s hut to find a particular magic potion.
Black Magic is an intensely search-heavy game. That’s something we’re usually remarkably bad at, and we coped here mainly because some of the puzzles for which we needed to find clue items were solvable from only a partial set of the clues. There was also the farcical moment when I was telling my teammates we needed to find one more of a particular small thing in the spacious and busy room, only to realise that my hand was literally resting on it as I spoke.
I rather like the quest style of game that involves locating some macguffin object rather than simply a way to open the exit door. Whatever the target item is, it needs to look properly impressive so that finding it isn’t a let-down, and Black Magic does that well: by the time we finished the game I’d lost track of what we were searching for, but it was still instantly obvious when we found it.
My teammates were a little less keen on Black Magic than I was due to the quantity of items to search for, a feeling that it was a little too centred on padlocks and locked drawers, and because they were disappointed that it wasn’t a larger game. That’s fair enough, but I enjoyed it a lot, finding the use of leather and wooden props and chains effectively atmospheric; and the fact that we only had to find enough search targets not all of them kept the searching from putting me off it. While it pales in comparison to 60 Minutes’ star attraction, their Lord of the Rings game, it’s well worth doing including while you’re visiting the venue anyhow.