Published April 26th, 2017 @ 1:38 am EDT by Paul

REVIEW: 6 Rooms by Escape Cafe (Osaka, Japan)

4/5 Claws

Challenge: 6
Awe: 5
Care: 10
Theme: 7
Team: 8
Signature Color: Sky Blue


“6 Rooms was the first escape room experience I had in Osaka, and the first I had in Japan that didn’t feel like it was made for tourists by people who didn’t care [Editor: see Samurai Espionage]. The wonderful staff of the Escape Cafe (none of whom spoke more than a few words of English) pleaded with me using gestures and translation apps to reconsider booking two escape rooms in a row, because, they explained, everything was in Japanese, and there would be no one to translate for me. I kept smiling and thanking them and saying I understood, and that yes, I actually did want to play there. I was a little worried I might interfere with the enjoyment of the group I was placed with, but it worked out terrifically. I had the time of my life.

The game master herself was brilliant. It was obvious that they had no set protocol for dealing with a player who can’t understand Japanese, but she waited until I looked directly at some Japanese writing, and she said or showed me what it meant _only when she saw that I had looked at it._ It wasn’t spoon-fed to me at all, though that would have been much less stressful for them. Additionally, none of these people knew I would be writing a review. We went into the room, which I immediately loved. It was color-coded, and the puzzles are actually intuitive enough that you can solve many of them without knowing any Japanese at all. The necessary vocabulary will be, “excuse me, but…” (su-mi-ma-sen, de-mo) and of course “aha!” always gets the point across. I learned that “oh” doesn’t really mean “oh,” since there are other expressions for that—I often gave the false impression that the letter “O” had something to do with things, which was awkward when there really were things marked with an “O”.

The room’s puzzles are not high-tech, but I hadn’t seen most of them before, and in my escape room experiences in Japan since, I have seen only some of them repeated. Because the absolutely terrific 6 Rooms is so basic in its construction (plywood, bedsheets, paint) there’s nothing I could say that wouldn’t spoil a puzzle. I can’t even tell you who the “antagonists” turn out to be. A deceptive maze of color-coded rooms, which looks much simpler than it turns out to be, stands between you and escape. For this and any other room in Japan, I would recommend the (you may find) enjoyable practice of learning the katakana syllable set, but most of all, just don’t be daunted by the fact that it’s in Japanese. I managed to cooperate with my team and didn’t hinder them from victory, but I can understand Japanese far better than I can speak it.

If you’ve ever watched a kid’s animated show from Japan, you’ve noticed the epilogs: they come right where 80s cartoon shows in the US used to have a moral. The escape room wrap-up is similar to that. Different music plays, and the game master went through each puzzle, even if we’d solved it, explained how it worked, and even reminded us which member of our team had solved it. I love this addition. In the US, the game master will generally only talk about puzzles that were unsolved, even if there’s a more casual conversation about the experience as a whole. In this case, it felt very formal. There was a notebook or a screen projection of each phase, and the gamemaster described the puzzle again, what the solution was, and then singled out the team member who had made it possible. This felt really great.”

KN Asakusa Bldg, 6th Floor
1-10-5 Asakusa, Taito-ku
Tokyo, 111-0032

Read more posts tagged:
/ / /

Read more posts in the category:

More posts from:
April 2017 / All of 2017