Tokyo is one of those rare cities that you can never get tired of. It truly offers something for everyone, and no matter how many times you visit, you’ll always find new and exciting places to discover and things to do. Sure, there are museums, parks, interesting sights and interesting people, but what about the person who’s already seen the major attractions?
What can Tokyo possibly offer them?
That’s where the wonderful people behind SCRAP have once again outdone themselves with their latest creation – The Underground Mysteries. Running now (actually from October 1st) to January 31st, this is an exciting tour of the city, taking you to quite a few well known destinations in Japan’s international Megalopolis. Even if you’ve been to any or all of these places before, the game will get you to see them in a completely new light.
While I obviously can’t give away any spoilers, I can tell you that finishing the game will require teamwork, critical thinking, ingenuity, and that you’ll use all your mental creativity to solve the clever puzzles along the way.
You’ll (most likely) start your journey at Ueno station, which is the only place (as of this writing) that sells the English game packs (the Japanese version is available in various stations throughout Tokyo), consisting of the booklet with all puzzles inside, the 24hr subway pass, a pen, a map which serves both as a guide to the subway system and also as a way to solve certain puzzles, and a handy carry “bag”. That’s it!!!! From there, you’ll have to solve each puzzle carefully to get clues to lead you to your next destination, which will reveal more clues to lead you to the next station, which will…. you get the point.
As you can already tell by now, and by the clever name, the clues and puzzles will take you over a large part of Japan’s premier Megacity (with a large portion of the game taking place underground) and will take a minimum of 4 hrs to complete.
Our experience started on a regular Monday morning, but the only thing regular about this particular Monday was our breakfast that morning. From there, we headed to the aforementioned Ueno Station to pick up the game packs and start the journey. The rest of the day was quite extraordinary, as we were challenged mentally and physically to complete the game. There really is no set sequence, and it’s quite open to you and your group how you’d like to proceed from the first clue. We were able to solve the first clue rather quickly (yes, we can be somewhat smart at times, hehe) and with our special metro cards in hand, we headed off to unravel the mysteries of the underground.
That’s really all I can say about the game for now. Giving away any more would be spoiling the fun for all you out there; so instead of that, I’d like to comment on the actual experience some more.
Granting that it was an absolutely fantastic way to spend a few hours, solve puzzles as a team, and get a tour of the megacity at the same time, I must also mention that due to the travel involved, this is quite a physical game for people not used to climbing so many stairs (like yours truly, heheheh). You’ll get a good workout throughout the day – up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs….. but the promise of solving the next puzzle, which is always just around the next corner (at least in your mind), or at the next station is always in the back of your mind, and you soldier on towards the promising destination.
While the game will take you over quite a large portion of the city, a big part of the game is underground (as the name suggests), so be aware that you’ll spend a long time in the bowels of the city, and thus prepared for breathing a lot of stale “subway air”. As a nature lover, who spends a lot of time in the outdoors, this was quite noticeable after half a day.
That is really nitpicking, however, as the game is extremely fun, interesting, even informative overall. Through playing it, you will definitely see the city in a new light – even if you think you know Tokyo quite well already.
So, to sum it up: Two very enthusiastic thumbs up – fun for the whole family! It’s a great way to spend a day exploring, and it’s heaps of fun for groups, families, co-workers, friends, and teammates…. maybe even dates? Whoever you choose to go with, one thing I can guarantee you is that you won’t forget this truly unique experience so quickly; proving yet again that Tokyo really does offer something for everyone. So, get out there and solve the Mysteries of the Underground.
That’s it for today, so have a good one, have lots of fun with the game(s) and see you next time on this page. Ciao!