Magiquest makes a day at the mall, well, magical

‘C’mon boys. We’re going to Yorktown Shopping Center.” “Hooray! Let me get my wand.” Yes, it’s true. With the opening of MagiQuest, an interactive live-action game center in a medieval setting, kids will love a trip to the mall.

Facing more than 20 possible challenges, kids can revel in medieval magic at Magiquest.

Denise Weston, one of the company’s original founders, was looking for a way to combine physical and computer play when the idea for MagiQuest struck. Surrounded by medieval dungeons and enchanted forests, players use verbal and written clues to run through the 19,000-square-foot space as they face more than 20 possible quests, battles and challenges.

Best of all, they face these quests with their own magic wands. At your first visit, you can choose and register your wand ($16.95, one-time purchase) with a character name and choice of “clan.” These choices are basically embedded in your wand, which is recognized at each subsequent visit. Small children, who might not have the patience to follow through on a quest, can use their wands to open treasure chests, light lanterns and unlock secrets.

But for kids interested in progressing through the game, the wands are key to reaching the next level. Once my sons listened to the tutorial and visited the game’s Quest Stones, they were off and running. In fact, they understood the progression of the game far sooner than I did. Game time can be purchased in 30-minute blocks ($4.95 per child). Our first visit, we spent an hour, each boy achieving 3 runes, becoming Junior Magi. They are already looking forward to earning Master Magi status at their next visit.

Beyond the pure fun and excitement of the wands and setting, I was impressed at the degree of reading and problem-solving skills required for success. This is not thoughtless, repetitive play. Costumed characters serve as the helpful staff in case you get really stuck on a clue, which was great for my older sons, 8 and 9, who basically played independently the entire time. They were also thrilled that the fun continues at home where they can use their identity codes from the “Ancient Book of Wisdom” to play portions of the game online.

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