Yesterday, I met up with some friends to play the Real Escape Game v.3. This one was set at the JPOP Summit Festival in Japantown and themed around Neon Genesis Evangelion. If you are familiar with the show, you know it is both tense and very confusing, so it was a great theme for the game.
Last time, we signed up for the last shift of the second day, but this time, we signed up for the first shift of the first day. I showed up a little early to check out the rest of the festival, but mostly to check out the line, since it grew pretty long last time. No worries this time, though. Not a lot of folks interested in solving riddles early on a Saturday, I suppose.
The real reason the line was non-existent was that they were letting people inside early. We checked in, got our NERV staff IDs, and went to the theater in the basement of the New People building, where other people were forming teams (they let us have teams of any size this game) or just sitting and chatting. Right as the last of my friends arrived, they started the briefing video. It was Misato giving us new NERV hires an orientation and training presentation, but we were interrupted by an Angel attack. We were told that EVA-01 was deployed to fight the Angel and we just needed to get to the evacuation location. However, the evac route was not fully computed by the MAGI supercomputers before an error occurred, so we got garbled clues and would have to figure things out for ourselves. Oh, and EVA-01’s power supply would only last for 60 minutes, so we had to solve everything before then or die from the Angel attack. With the close of our briefing, we were allowed to open our evac packets and check them. We were all provided a clue sheet, a map of the area, and three sheets of blank paper. Then we were told to get out of the briefing area because it was about to collapse from the attack.
Without giving too much away since there are still people playing the game today, I will say that there was not as much diversity of puzzles as there were in the Dr. Mad game. Also, since there were fewer puzzles, I felt that each was more difficult than last time. (Although that could be because one of the other teams screwed us and removed a clue before we got to it.) I will tell you that the game comes in two major waves and that our group split up to collect everything possible and then sat down together to figure out each set of clues.
Overall, I like the added chaos of running around Japantown to find clues, but it really sucked that we wasted a good 10-15 minutes looking for something that had been taken because there is not as much control over clues when they are all over the city. I also miss the diversity of puzzles from Dr. Mad, but realize it is not practical for the game staff to leave items around or for us to carry more stuff with us. Looking back, I think our team was actually too large (we had seven people this time) because there just was not enough for everyone to do – yes, we had group sessions where we spitballed off each other to solve puzzles, but last time, there were enough puzzles for each of us to be working on something on our own for most of the game.
Much like last time, our group was the closest to escaping the game, but did not win outright. With less than a minute to spare, we made it to the final location and got our “victory” stamps.
However, after they escorted us to the after-action debrief, we learned that, just like in the last game, there was a last-minute twist that we missed, so we died along with the rest of the groups that played our shift. I had a feeling it was too good to be true when the MC asked the audience to applaud us four times.
Anyway, my team and I have already decided we will play the next one, and specifically keep our eyes open for a twist at the end. One day, I will solve the entire game!
They announced that the next one is coming this winter and will be titled “Escape from the Haunted Ship.” Anyone want to play with me?