“You must eliminate Black Max and rescue the scientist,” says the severe looking agent on the TV screen. You have been invited into the world of espionage at InSPYre, an escape room in the heart of Shinjuku. The subtly named InSPYre is a venue that pits the player against the evil Black Max organization. With nothing but a handy tablet device, the player must solve puzzles in order to thwart a variety of nefarious plans.
The play area is an open space that holds a number of smaller rooms, locks, corridors and tunnels that hide dozens and dozens of puzzles and traps. The time limit is ten minutes, which makes this particular venue more of an action focussed espionage thriller than some of more cerebral offerings.
Tasks are randomized every time you play and a typical run could be anything from breaking into a lab to steal something, then remotely unlocking a door to escape – to freeing a scientist before crawling your way to freedom. One of the challenges is usually physical, which might require dodging lasers or checking security cameras for clues. These can be incredibly difficult, especially if you are over six feet tall, but the relief of completing puzzles under pressure is the allure.
After 11PM you can buy a night pass, which allows you to play as many times as you want before the morning trains. Depending on how your Friday night went this might be a fun alternative to karaoke.