SCRAP – Escape from the Lockdown: The Demon Fortress [Hivemind Review]

Escape from the Lockdown: The Demon Fortress is a digital puzzle game created specifically for online play by SCRAP in Japan.

Promo Image of a tower with 9 heroes trapped within.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Video-based experience
  • Light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

There were a few puzzles where it was especially helpful to digitally draw on the images.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: about 3 hours

Price: $29 per player

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

We encountered 9 characters, a party of heroes, displayed in a Brady Bunch 3×3 video call grid. They delivered story and clues to a larger mystery in these scenes. After they resolved, we solved a series of well designed yet generic puzzles and gained access to a boss battle.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Cindi S’ Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

If the average online escape room is a 60-minute TV show, The Demon Fortress was like a full-length feature film, filled with twists and turns, and a satisfying ending that left us shocked when we looked at the clock and realized how much time had passed. This is a long game, but the hours just flew by! We played the English version, which included Japanese dialogue throughout with English subtitles. Characters in the game were funny, with quirky personalities that filled out the story. The overall experience reminded me of an old-school, text-based video game. There were different word-based puzzles, but the stars of the show were the logic challenges, which generated intense conversation as we reasoned out the solutions. The only negative was the lengthy intro video, but this is a minor point. The Demon Fortress is one of my top at-home game experiences.

9 Heroes in a video call one is saying, "No worries! We have the Puzzle Solving Hero, Stein!"

Matthew “Puzzle Solving Hero” Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Taken for what it is, The Demon Fortress was honestly pretty awesome. Don’t play it for the SCRAP-style mini puzzles; they’re as random as always in SCRAP games, and a few suffered from unfortunate (but not game-breaking) translation issues. Where this game really excelled was in its over-the-top acting and meta narrative/ puzzle structures. The mode of storytelling and sense of humor are so different from anything we’d expect to see in a US/ European game, and I am so here for it. It was witty, charming, and information-dense, and each video – even when somewhat lengthy – effortlessly held my interest. The metapuzzle sequence, though unassuming in presentation, was actually very impressively constructed, and the ultimate “very challenging” “SCRAP twist” was insidious, but logically deducible (and I managed to fully figure it out without hints – perhaps a first for me in a SCRAP game!). Even the bonus puzzle tagged on at the end proved to have some fascinating elements from a puzzle-narrative perspective, though I wish the English translation of the flavor text had been a bit clearer. For 2+ hours of gameplay, this game provides a ton of value and quality content very much worth checking out.

The king over, caption reads, "We're relying on you, Hero Stein!"

Theresa W’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

From a pure experience and enjoyment standpoint: I absolutely loved The Demon Fortress. The story that SCRAP has designed for this game was absolutely joyful, with characters that really shined with their unique personalities. This is much more of a performance shown through a series of videos and not so great of a puzzle game. If you’re looking for good and original puzzles, SCRAP is not the company for you. The puzzles were somewhat bland, leaning more towards homework than actual puzzle. Some clever sequences had you battling through mad libs-style gameplay combined with critical thinking and light puzzle solving; these sequences were a highlight for us, and a nice change from the other worksheets. Taken as a whole experience, I loved every minute of the videography and story that made up for some bland puzzles, making this game worth playing.

David Spira’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

SCRAP’s latest self-service online game, Escape from the Lockdown: The Demon Fortress, was an amusing romp through JRPG tropes. It took about 3 hours, and I truly enjoyed it.

Structurally, this game was nearly identical to Escape from the Lockdown: The Strange Village where characters in pre-recorded videos delivered story and clues to a larger mystery. In between, we solved a series of well designed yet generic puzzles and gained access to a boss battle. A few of these puzzles were legitimately phenomenal.

The boss battles were deeply rooted in JRPGs. We used what we learned about our heroes, as well as the bosses, to input a battle plan. This was clunky, but generally worked… and I loved the boss characters.

I genuinely enjoyed my time playing The Demon Fortress and preferred it to the previous Strange Village (which I also liked)… but had the same general issue as I did last time. It’s kind of rough when you have the right answer, for the right reasons, but get the puzzle wrong because of syntax parsing. I like the core idea of what SCRAP is doing with these puzzles, but there must be a better way of executing them.

Disclosure: SCRAP provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

2 thoughts on “SCRAP – Escape from the Lockdown: The Demon Fortress [Hivemind Review]

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