In the world you live in, humanity lives in fear of the demons. 9 heroes headed to the Demon Fortress in order to defeat the Demon King. The heroes have not been heard from since. The world will be swallowed by darkness if nothing is done. One day, your ‘Communication Crystal’ rings. In the crystal ball, you see… the heroes who were thought to be dead!
Completion Time: 120 minutes
Date Played: 28th February 2021
Party Size: 2
Recommended For: An evening of brilliant entertainment, people who want an exciting, rich story with their puzzles.
POV: You are me and you freakin’ love The Demon Fortress so much and you’re trying to think of a way to make this review really stand out so that people know they need to stop they’re doing and book this game (or tbh, The Strange Village by the same company which was also fantastic).
The thing about the Real Escape Game (SCRAP) is that the games they produce are incredible, theatre-quality stories which draw you in and keep you hooked for a full 120 minutes with twists and turns and surprise endings, and opportunities to incorrectly guess answers and have the game react accordingly. Think of it like watching an interactive Netflix TV show where you have to solve puzzles before you can watch the next part of the story.
This might give you the impression that the puzzles are a ‘second thought’ but not at all, each puzzle builds in difficulty and intrigue making the ending truly quite difficult but rewarding once you solve it. Not only that but every piece of dialogue is important too – just like a real live murder mystery event, you have to listen to what the characters say and when. Blink and you’ll miss it. There’s a lot of layers to it!
So what exactly is The Demon Fortress?
Well, the premise is fairly simple. If you did play The Strange Village, you’ll be somewhat familiar with the format. You are an active participant in an ‘adventure’, alongside 9 other heroes. There’s the Merchant Hero, the Music Hero, the Witch Hero and so on and so on… You’re the “Puzzle Solving Hero”. It’s got a certain ring to it.
The game begins by setting up the premise. In this story, your village has been destroyed by demons and the 9 heroes of the land are locked up without their powers in the demon fortress by the fearsome Demon King. In order to save them you must help them defeat 4 monsters, recover their powers, before taking on the Demon King himself.
The game follows a format of:
- ~10 minutes of dialogue with the 9 heroes
- A series of puzzles which unlock a treasure chest
- A battle with a monster
Like a Movie?
To best enjoy this game, we plugged my laptop into the TV via a HDMI cable and sat back to enjoy the show. Quite literally, we never had to leave the comfort of our sofa to enjoy this experience which honestly was a perfect replacement for our ‘movie night’. Same bottle of wine, same bowl of popcorn, but I got to play an escape room in the 2 hours instead? Genius! But we both enjoyed it, A LOT. In fact, in a first for this blog, my Player 2 enjoyed this so much he wanted to share his thoughts on the game here:
- The world building in The Demon Fortress was the best in any escape room we’ve ever done together.
- I didn’t have to cut anything out, fold anything, or faff around, which made the game genuinely enjoyable.
It’s slightly weird writing this review for an escape room that felt more like watching a film, but that at least gives me a chance to give a huge huge shout out to two aspects of the game that deserve a lot of praise.
Firstly, the acting! I loved the acting and really enjoyed the characters! In particular, throughout the game I couldn’t keep my eyes off the Priest Healio (played by Ryo Morishita) and Martial Artist Bruce (played by Hiroyuki Oda). Whilst the drama was happening elsewhere in the game, those two provided such comic relief out of the corner of my eye we couldn’t stop giggling.
Secondly, the music! The intro and outro music is by a band called FAKE TYPE. and it just came out a couple of weeks back. It’s so happy and upbeat and really encapsulates the slapstick, manic adventure game that The Demon Fortress is.
I’m running out of ways to describe how much I enjoyed this game, so instead I’ll wind this review to a close. The Demon Fortress for me is a standout experience and if you like adventure, fantasy, comedy, and great story writing – you’ll love it. Honestly.
A round of applause for Real Escape Game Japan (SCRAP) 👏
The Demon Fortress can be booked for 3,000 yen per player (about £20) from the Official Event Page here.
Mairi is the editor-in-chief and covers escape rooms/immersive theatre in London, play at home games, and video games.