“I escaped from a viciously clever puzzle room, and helped to solve a paranormal mystery” was probably not the answer my co-worker was expecting when asking about my weekend. The look of surprise on his face was priceless, but that’s exactly what happened this past weekend, and he was certainly intrigued by the story behind such astonishing claims. Substituting an ordinary Sunday night for an extraordinary experience, some friends and I headed to Tokyo’s Asakusa area to try our luck at escaping from the Escape Room Experience – a new form of immersive entertainment in Tokyo.
Already popular in the US, Singapore, and other countries, the Escape Room games are still somewhat rare in Japan, and just now gaining a foothold in the eclectic entertainment landscape of Tokyo – at least the English and Chinese versions of these games.
The company behind the escape games, SCRAP, has created over 130 game titles, and has held over 250 game events including reruns of certain titles, since 2007 in Japan! Yet, these games weren’t available in English and Chinese until recently.
The idea behind them is quite simple…but the execution is deliciously clever: You and a team of up to 5 other people are locked in a room (or house) with various clues strewn about, and you have to use all your wit, intuition, and ingenuity to solve clues that will lead to other clues, which will ultimately lead to being able to unlock a safe with the key to the front door – all while racing against the clock. Sounds simple enough, we thought.
Full of confidence, we entered the first of two experiences – the Red Room. “Click”… The door was now locked, and for the next 30min or so we were all trapped together in a small red room with two padlocked doors (labeled A and B) and only a strange drawing on Door A as the sole clue. The time was ticking …
While I can’t give away any hints, I will say that it requires some out of the box thinking and teamwork to decipher all the clues made up of words, numbers, puzzles, and pictures to find your way out. Anything and everything could be a clue.
I was in a group with 4 good friends – all of whom quite smart on their own, but it took our collective abstract and logical thinking abilities to solve the puzzles and escape the room(s). At the end of the 30 minutes, you are given the chance to extend another 10 minutes for an additional ¥800/person. If, at the end of that time slot, you still could not decipher the clues, the staff will walk you through the solution step by step, if, and only if, you promise that you won’t divulge the answer to anybody who hasn’t played the game yet.
The 2nd Experience we did was the Haunted Manor. Compared to the first Escape Room (the Red Room), this involved more “Physical” puzzles, and more moving around, as it was set up in a “Haunted House” spreading out over several floors of interconnected rooms. Due to the “horror” theme, the tone of the 2nd experience is quite different. There were two young women in my group, and both weren’t quite sure if they wanted to participate, as they’re easily scared, but at the end, we were able convince them to come along, and everybody had a fantastic time. Even though there are some scary elements, they’re not off-putting or traumatizing, so the experience is suitable for anyone over the age of 15, I would say.
Unfortunately, that’s all I can say about the Haunted Mansion, since going into more detail would undoubtedly give away clues, and that would just take the fun out of the whole experience of having to tackle the situation by yourselves. Trust me, it’s absolutely worth it! We had so much fun working together to solve the puzzles and work our way ever closer to get that final key for the front door.
Not a bad way to spend a few hours, right? It was quite interesting to do something different and completely unpredictable for a change – something that requires you putting away your electronic appendages, aka smart phones for a bit, and work together with people in the real world, solving ingenious puzzles, and having to rely only on your wit and intuition.
With the weekend just around the corner, how do you want to spend it? Do you want to do what you usually do, or try something completely different? Something that will truly challenge you, and experience a great way to work together with a team? If the answer to any of those questions is “yes”, start calling your smartest friends, and point your browser to Real Escape Game to sign up for the Escape Room Experience. Trust me When I say you won’t regret it!
The games are available in three languages: English Traditional Chinese or Japanese, and cost ¥1,800/person. They are produced by a company called SCRAP, who are the creators of the one and only original live-action Escape Game. What does that mean for you? It means often been imitated, but never duplicated, you won’t find a better escape room game in all of Tokyo, and it shows, as the available time slots usually sell out rather quickly.
Ok, enough “talking”! Ready to try it out for yourselves? You can get more information, and/or sign up for your own experience by clicking the link below