Music City Escape – Japanese Thriller [Review]

Unfulfilled potential.

Location: Nashville, TN

Date Played: February 11, 2018

Team size: up to 9; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

REA Reaction

Music City Escape drew inspiration from obscure (to Americans) and interesting events. From this, they landed at one inventive game mechanic. Unfortunately, Japanese Thriller couldn’t capitalize on any of this. The set was too haphazardly constructed and worn out; the puzzles weren’t constructed cleanly. There’s a great concept here, but Japanese Thriller needs more attention before we can recommend it.

Who is this for?

  • Hopeful Japanese gameshow contestants

Why play?

  • The introduction
  • Experimental game mechanics


We were contestants on an edgy Japanese gameshow themed on a mixture of horror movies, the Aum Shinrikyo death cult responsible for the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway (and the near total disappearance of public trash cans in Tokyo), and the apartment of serial killer Futoshi Matsunaga.

We had to escape the place where countless people had been tortured and murdered.

Music City Escape Room Logo, a cube with a door and a maze.


Japanese Thriller was set in a bland apartment with puzzle components and Japanese props. It was a visually unimpressive escape room.


The core of the game was rooted in searching and puzzling, as we typically expect from an escape room. There were also hidden gems that we could uncover through detailed searching to earn additional points.

More interestingly, at any point in the game, a haunting could occur. The lights would start flickering and we would have to stop what we were working on, find the only room without flickering lights, and close the door with ourselves in that room. Failure to do this would result a in a points penalty.


The introductory sequence was captivating. The video was intriguing. Our gamemaster played off this, lightening the intense theme with humor. It worked.

The puzzles generally resolved cleanly. Puzzles were clearly delineated. We could easily follow the parallel threads of gameplay.

Music City Escape’s addition of the haunting was a conceptually fun addition to the escape room format.

This might be the first time a Sudoku was thematically appropriate.


Despite its thematic relevance, there was a Sudoku. We’d prefer to see puzzles that utilize the physical space inherent in escape rooms.

The set was bland, haphazardly constructed, and worn. It felt cheap and lazy especially when compared with the overwhelming majority of escape rooms we visited in the region.

While we liked the idea of the haunting mechanic, Music City Escape never realized the full potential of this concept. It felt more like an annoyance than an exciting challenge.

The introduction captivated our attention and posed an intriguing mystery. Solving the escape room didn’t deliver any resolution or even make much use of the elaborate setup.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is a large parking lot.
  • Food: There are a few dining options in and around this plaza.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

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