Hamburg, Nov 2017
Skurrilum’s reputation precedes them, and we added on a side trip to Hamburg purely to try out their games. Frustratingly, only two of their five games are currently available in English, with the rest requiring fluent German, but we eagerly booked into the two we could play.
Malvini’s Legacy tells the story of a magician who discovered a book in which one could write one’s name to gain immortality, and then vanished. On a dark and stormy night you have the opportunity to search his study to discover the legendary book.
This game’s first task is to find a way to bring the lights on. Stumbling around in the darkness with rather more players than light sources is rarely a good start to a game, and it’s perhaps one of the weaker moments of a superb game, but it’s handled well: not only is the solution much better than simply locating a light switch, it also introduces a mechanism that is used elsewhere at Skurrilum, and when we were slow to find the solution the operator was quick to step in instead of leaving us to fumble about.
‘Search someone’s study’ may not sound like a particularly exciting premise for a game, but this is a lovely environment full of convincingly authentic conjuring props that was a joy to explore. It also feels dynamic, with the sound of a storm outside and wobbly lighting that expertly builds tension and atmosphere.
I played it with a team of five in a flurry of activity, and wished we’d split the group so that everyone could enjoy all parts of the game as much as possible. It’s a mark of high quality when I don’t want to miss a single puzzle, and this room met that standard. Even the simpler puzzles were lifted by beautiful components that replaced simple combination locks with much more interesting and attractive alternatives, and there was no shortage of cool original ideas.
Skurrilum aren’t afraid to use manual triggers in addition to hidden electronics, and the game’s two best moments use that to great effect, for added charm and drama. The dedication to quality and atmosphere is uninterrupted from start to finish, and results in an elegant game that’s a delight to play through, where I actually wish we’d taken more time to escape so I could have enjoyed it for longer.