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  • Sam De Roeck
Lisa Wallin
Sam De Roeck

Articles by Sam

“You must eliminate Black Max and rescue the scientist,” says the severe looking agent on the TV screen. I have been invited into the world of espionage at InSPYre, an escape room…

The escape room Nazobako in Asakusa embodies a measured style of game. With a generous time limit and all the clues within arms reach it is a test of pure deductive reasoning. There are three different types of room, each with a unique theme. The Samurai room is a small space filled to the brim with puzzles. It is based around an assassination attempt against your lord and in contrast to other venues, the Samurai room leads to a conclusion that relies on the player having kept up with the story. It may sound vague, but saying any more would spoil the ending. These rooms are best played in groups as there is a surprising breadth of puzzles crammed into the space, making the room difficult to complete by yourself. Luckily there are envelopes containing clues placed next to the puzzles and you can ask staff for some extra pointers if you really have no idea what to do next. Hours: 10:00-20:30 How Much: ¥8,280~¥17,100 Address: 6F KN Asakusa Bldg., 1-10-5 Asakusa, Taito-ku Website: nazobako.jp Tel: 03-6231-6621

“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. Hours: 11am–5am How Much: ¥980~¥3,980 Address: 6F Humax Pavilion, 1-20-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku Website: inspyre.jp    Tel: 03-5155-1481

Tokyo Mystery Circus is a venue that offers a wide range of games. The focus is on the puzzles, with only a few being escape rooms in the traditional sense. Their newest attraction is a projection mapping game called The Magic Library’s Bizarre Encyclopedia, where up to five players sit around a table and solve puzzles to seal away escaped magical creatures. The premise is simple, but the integration of technology and funky visuals make it somewhat unique in the genre. The English language version of The Magic Library opens on December the 4th. A far more orthodox game involves escaping from a prison cell with nothing but the handful of objects given to you. ‘Escape from the Prison’ is self-explanatory, with the entire escape game philosophy boiled down into a single ten-minute game. If you have never tried an escape game before, this is a great place to start. The other English language game is based on Metal Gear Solid, replete with characters and technology from the series. Much like the video game, the objective is to sneak around and avert global catastrophe by finding keys and codes. Players are encouraged to interact with actors in order to complete their goals, adding a fun twist to the genre. If you can speak Japanese there are many more games you can play, just make sure your Japanese is really good. Tokyo Mystery Circus is always updating their games so be sure to check online for availability. Hours: Weekdays: 11:30-22:00 | Weekends & holidays: 9:30-22:00 How Much: ¥1,400~¥7,200 Address: 1-27-5 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku Website: mysterycircus.jp

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