DarkPark Zoetermeer: Witchery Spell

By | May 29, 2020

by DarkParkGames (website)

1-4 players

£45.00 $54.40

📦play at home
150-180 mins
While playing Witchery Spell you will meet 5 young witches. One of them recently turned 23 and mysteriously disappeared from the face of the earth. What happened to her and does the same horrific fate await the others? As young girls, they performed a ritual from an ancient book they found. Now it turns out that this seemingly innocent child’s play may be their downfall. The problem: only someone who is not a witch himself can lift the spell, but what are the consequences? Are you brave enough to unleash the powerful ancient magic once again?
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Overall rating

Rated between 40 and 50 out of 5

based on ratings from 18 users
combined with 3 pro reviews

Your review

Player reviews

artful dodger rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Played: 5 Feb 2022 Team size: 2 Time taken: 120 Outcome: Successful escape!
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
stairs expert rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Played: 25/06/2020 Team size: 2 Time taken: 02:00:00 Outcome: Successful escape!

Witchery Spell is probably the best example of "mixed media" I've seen in any at-home escape room game so far. The box bursts open with content - yes, there's the obligatory welcome letter, newspaper cuttings, and journal entries (printed on appropriately different sorts of paper stock), but there's also a wide variety of interesting witchery components - glass vials containing mysterious powders and magic liquids, cloth bags of mystical stones, metal tools, various fabrics, photographs, tarot cards.... And they're not just souvenir trinkets - every single item is beautfully integrated into both the story and the puzzles. Alongside this array of physical artefacts, there are also various online resources that you'll need to visit throughout the course of the game, and you'll find yourself going back and forth between the physical and digital witchcraft worlds throughout. So there is a lot of content, and it's all really high-quality.

A lot of other at-home games we've played have prevented access to certain materials in order to artificially control progression of the game (e.g. "DON'T OPEN THIS ENVELOPE UNLESS INSTRUCTED") - however, in Witchery Spell you have access to everything in the box right from the start. This might seem overwhelming, and there are many components that you simply won't initially understand or know how to use. However, as the game progresses, you gradually gain the knowledge required to make use of these arcane items. Coupled with some superbly-executed "magic tricks" the game provides along the way, you really can convince yourself that you are developing enchanted powers of witchcraft too. This is a masterclass in interactive storytelling from DarkPark.

The puzzles themselves are all on-theme and well-integrated - you won't find any arbitrary 4-digit codes, ciphers or Morse code messages here - and although you'll want to have a paper and pen handy, many of them have surprisingly physical elements that make good use of that array of components.

We only experienced one problematic puzzle, which was caused by an environmental factor that the designers could not have controlled. Unfortunately, getting stuck at this point did lead us to discover perhaps the only disappointing part of this game - the hint system. There are no in-game hints at all - instead, players are invited to join a Facebook group to request hints. When we joined the group, we noticed all the existing posts and replies were in Dutch. This made searching the group to find whether a hint had already been given to our puzzle impossible, and we ended up accidentally translating some posts that related to sections of the game we hadn't got to yet.

Given the high production values throughout the rest of the game, the lack of a self-service hint system seems like a massive oversight. Fortunately, we were able to overcome our problem by ourselves but, had we not been able to, we would have been completely stuck at this point. I really hope that DarkPark consider adding a hint system in future games because, as it stands, Witchery Spell is a sublime experience from start to end, *so long as* you play through exactly as the designers intended. If you get tripped up at any point along the way, you might be on your own though.

Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
🌵Juliette B expert rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Played: 31/07/2020 Team size: 2 Time taken: 148:00 Outcome: Successful escape!

This was so enjoyable - beautifully presented, well thought out with good interaction between virtual and physical media, and incredibly immersive. All the info is available to you from the outset and gradually you make sense of it. Probably not the hardest box game we have done in lockdown, but (to date) the one I have enjoyed the most. Absolutely recommend. 

Anonymous rated this:Rated between 50 and 50 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Anonymous rated this:Rated between 45 and 45 out of 5
Simon (The Overthinkers) expert rated this:Rated between 40 and 40 out of 5
value for moneyimmersivestory-driven
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Reviews by escape room review sites

This is probably one of the most immersive play at home games we have played so far. It carries a premium price, but I doubt you will find anything else like it out there. We felt like it promised a bit more magic than it actually delivered, but it was still a delight to play.
Witchery Spell stood out from the crowd of play-at-home escape games by combining story, puzzles, and design into a polished, cohesive experience. DarkPark Games didn’t just assemble a box full of themed puzzles that could be found in a magazine. They conjured a self-contained experience that felt magical from start to finish.

What makes Witchery Spell such a special game is the sheer high quality of it’s components. However I’ll caveat that by saying it does come in a very ordinary, and very degradable cardboard box. The box was pretty scuffed up when it arrived in the post *shakes fist at the postal system*, but thankfully the material inside was in tact, packed up tightly with straw.

Witchery Spell is one of the most immersive puzzle games I’ve played. The narrative is solid and grips you from the moment you open up the box.

The puzzles are solid, but it’s the storyline and the sense that you’re an active participant in the narrative that will stay with you.

A delightfully immersive narrative weighed down by a few unfortunate mechanical issues. Witchery Spell is an ambitious near-miss.

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