SCRAP – Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School [Hivemind Review]

Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School is a tabletop escape game created by SCRAP in Japan.

Anime cover art for, Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School depicts 4 characters wearing black uniforms.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Includes video segments
  • Tabletop escape game

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Anime fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper, scissors

While this game is mobile compatible, playing on a computer is a much smoother experience. Note that if you close out of the online portal and return you have to re-enter all of your answers.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 2-3 hours

Price: about $30

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School is based on the award-winning anime Jujutsu Kaisen (“Anime of the Year” at the 2021 5th Crunchyroll Anime Awards).

Order the game kit, which gives you the background of the characters and some important definitions and instructions. Start the game, listen to the introductory videos, and solve puzzles/ interact with the characters as directed. You can pause gameplay at any time. Use the materials in the game kit to solve puzzles.

An assortment of paper components, the top one is labeled, "To Secret Documents from Jujutsu High."

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

I’ve always wanted to use origami to battle evil forces.

With Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School, SCRAP delivered an impressive amount of densely clever gameplay in a small package. This game’s core mechanic, which involved repeatedly folding and aligning a paper doll to extract keywords and remotely cast spells, would fit right in at a puzzle hunt. This mechanic was novel, cleanly implemented, and perfectly thematic. While things started off simple and directly clued, the puzzles layered on themselves in highly satisfying ways. Even a few classic “SCRAP twists” toward the end of the game proved to be insidious but fair, with proportional payoffs.

As with many SCRAP games, there were some elements that didn’t fully translate. There was too much dialogue for my taste, and Japanese-audio-with-English-subtitles videos contained little visual action. The English was occasionally clunky, but decently translated overall. As I skipped most of the video content, I found it frustrating that sidebar video transcriptions always jumped to the end, requiring repeatedly scrolling back up to find where the last chunk of dialogue began.

For the price, Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School may not have provided much in terms of physical production value, but the paper components provided got used very efficiently and cleverly. And with at least a couple of hours of creative gameplay, I’d strongly recommend this game to avid puzzlers and fans of Jujutsu Kaisen.

Theresa W’s Reaction

As someone who has watched (and loves!) Jujutsu Kaisen, Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School did an amazing job encapsulating the essence of the show. Using very few paper elements and an online portal, SCRAP was able to design unique gameplay where the player truly felt like part of the story. The voice acting by the original voice actors from the show added another level of immersion, although the interactions with the characters could have benefited from more animation instead of the still images used.

This game did a fantastic job at being accessible, with added details to assist the colorblind and subtitles for each video, which could be viewed during or after the video. While the gameplay could have been repetitive, the designers spiced it up as the game progressed by adding new levels of difficulty and multiple aha moments in elements we had thought we were finished using. Whether you’ve seen the show or not, this is an awesome game for both fans of the show and puzzlers looking for a challenge! Note that the game is 2+ hours long, and all answers have to be reinserted if the game is closed and reopened.

Cindi S’ Reaction

If you are a fan of Jujutsu Kaisen, then you’ll want to play this game, which is based on the popular Japanese manga series. And if you are like me, completely unfamiliar with manga, you’ll still want to play this game! Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School combined an intense story and a unique puzzle mechanic that kept us actively involved throughout the game. In fact, we played a pivotal role in the exorcism of the evil spirit haunting the high school, all while using an interface that made it feel like we were interacting in real time. The game kit available from Amazon looked simplistic at first, but it turned out to be more than meets the eye. There are quite a few video segments, all in Japanese with English subtitles, and with numerous pauses for puzzling, it took my group more than 3 hours to complete the game. But by the end, you really want to take down this cursed spirit! This was another entertaining game from SCRAP, and I’ve already recommended it to several friends.

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