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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SCRAP – Escape from the Two Base Stations [Review]

2 Locations, 1 Tabletop Escape Game

Location:  at home

Date Played: April 27, 2021

Team size: exactly 2; we recommend 2 or 4

Duration: 1-2 hours

Price: about $37.13

REA Reaction

SCRAP’s English language team has been killing it this past year. They have released some of our favorite online escape games, and now they put out a unique and compelling tabletop escape: one designed to be played by people in different locations.

Two mission files a blue one labeled "North Pole" and a red one labeled "South Pole."

Upon receiving the North Pole & South Pole envelopes from Escape from the Two Base Stations, we promptly mailed one to a friend. A few days later we hopped onto our video chat service of choice, and got to puzzling.

Each segment within Escape from the Two Base Stations consisted of two parts:

  • Shared dialog, where both sides had half of a script to read (The banter was funny!)
  • A puzzle that required some form of clever communication

The main conceit of the game was that our communication systems were malfunctioning. Thus on any given puzzle we might have to mute and mime, turn off video, text chat… or communicate with only a single keystroke. The puzzles were tailor-made for these challenges and they were great.

And for those who are wondering, yes, this was a SCRAP game… and yes the final puzzle sequence was challenging. I can tell you that it was also satisfying.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players who embrace some silliness
  • Best for remote teammates separated by distance
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A tabletop escape game designed for remote play
  • Enjoyable puzzles

Story

We had each infiltrated an enemy base station – one at the North Pole and one at the South Pole – where we needed to stop development of a weapon. When an alarm started going off in both stations, we had to work together to decrypt the security manual and escape.

Continue reading “SCRAP – Escape from the Two Base Stations [Review]”

SCRAP – Escape from the Science Lab of Shifting Rules [Hivemind Review]

Update: If you want to hear more about Escape from the Science Lab of Shifting Rules back us on Patreon at the “Search Win!” level to get access to a Spoiler’s Club Episode about this game. Reality Escape Pod co-hosts David and Peih-Gee talk all about it, spoilers and all.

Escape from the Science Lab of Shifting Rules is an avatar-led game, played in Zoom, and created specifically for digital play by SCRAP in Japan.

Promo art shows a chaotic lab with a shark and the words, "Alter the rules and save the world!"Alter

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Avatar controlled by the players

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-6

Play Time: 60 minutes

Price: about $192 per team of up to 6 players

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Escape from the Science Lab of Shifting Rules is an avatar-led game that uses wordplay and critical thinking to move the story along.

Standard avatar interaction. Non-standard physics interaction. Players control a machine that changes reality and – as a fortuitous side effect – helps them solve puzzles.

This game is played entirely in Zoom with no additional interface. It was specifically designed as a remote game and can not be played in real life.

Escape from the Science Lab of Shifting Rules is also available in Japanese, but we played the English version of this game. You need a strong grasp of English to succeed.

Hivemind Review Scale

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

Escape from the Lockdown: The Demon Fortress is included in our recommendation guide for Play On-Demand Online Escape Games. For more of the best online escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.

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

Real Escape Games by SCRAP – Escape from the Lockdown: The Strange Village [Hivemind Review]

Escape from the Lockdown: The Strange Village is a digital puzzle game created specifically for online play by Real Escape Games by SCRAP, based in Japan.

To learn more about SCRAP, the first escape room company, check out our interview with them from earlier this week.

A 3x3 video call tile with 9 different characters and a narrator off to the side. The image is captioned, "the village has a few measures in place."

Format

Style of Play: audio-visual experience with puzzle hunt-style puzzles

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, a pen and paper is also recommended

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: unlimited playtime; our reviewers took 1.5 – 3 hours

Price: $27 per ticket

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The game consists of “daily” briefing videos where players learn about the game’s characters and their actions. Keeping track of who did what is part of the game play. In between the video segments are short rounds of puzzle book-style puzzles. Everything adds to the information needed to solve the narrative metapuzzle.

Note that the game takes some time because it includes about 45+ minutes of video footage.

Hivemind Review Scale