Real Escape Game Japan / SCRAP: JUJUTSU KAISEN Online Puzzle Game “Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School” | Review
Jujutsu Kaisen Online Puzzle Game Review | You are a student of the Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School. Your skill as a jujutsu sorcerer is the ability to use cursed techniques over long distances. But in exchange for that power, you are unable to leave your home – a student who has been registered in name only. One day, news of ordinary people going missing one after another at an abandoned school reaches your high school.
Completion Time: 2 hours
Date Played: 29th January 2022
Party Size: 2
If you had to ask us (or rather me specifically) for a list of my favourite escape room companies in the world, based on any metric, SCRAP / Real Escape Game Japan would come up on top almost every time. No matter what the escape room industry looks like here in the UK, or in the USA, or anywhere else in the world… SCRAP is doing something totally different and it’s brilliant.
In their latest at-home ‘escape game’, we found ourselves escaping from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School. A very wordy headline, but no more than the previous two titles you may recognise from earlier reviews:
The game is similar in that there’s this fantastically high production value featuring live voice actors, high quality artwork, and exceptional storytelling. But Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School (which I’ll refer to as Cursed Spirit from herein) had a couple of key differences from the earlier games in SCRAP’s at-home series. Firstly, it’s a partnership with the hugely popular manga and anime series Jujutsu Kaisen. Secondly, you need a physical pack to play the game.
With both of those things in mind, we waited until a Saturday evening when we had ample time, plugged in our laptop via HDMI cable, grabbed our pack, and got puzzling!
About Jujutsu Kaisen Online Puzzle Game
Jujutsu Kaisen is an anime and manga series about a group of students named Yuji, Megumi and Nobora who are students at the Tokyo Jujutsu school and learn to become sorcerers. Their goal is to rid the world of evil energy and exorcise curses.
Which is pretty much where the game comes in. There’s a cursed spirit lurking at an abandoned school, and after a streamer goes missing, you and our three heroes are called in to perform another exorcism. I’ll let the trailer do the talking:
The game features the original cast of voice actors from the show as well as recognisable artwork and environments, which is pretty cool! Especially if you’re a fan of the anime.
Your journey as the player begins when you receive a mysterious letter from a fourth character named Gojo. He is a senior sorcerer and reaches out to you since you have a very special ability: Long Range Techniques. Meaning, you can cast spells from afar and help a team along from a careful distance via a web connection. The catch however is that you are essentially a hikikomori (so cool that I learned a new Japanese word from this game!), a shut in who is unable to leave and help physically.
So whilst you cannot be there in person, you see and hear everything that our three heroes see. Told through a series of video connections which are pre-recorded video sequences in Japanese with English subtitles, you take part in subtle ways. Each video lasts between 5 – 15 minutes, and at the end you have puzzles to solve which allow you to cast spells to further our heroes efforts. Cast a spell, sit back and relax, cast a spell, sit back and relax. And so on, and so on.
For Saturday night entertainment, we loved this format! You can plug your device in onto a big screen, have a keyboard near you to type in your spells, and keep the whole pack on your lap. It felt just like watching an animated film, but a film that we were a character in!
Solving Puzzles and Casting Spells!
In terms of puzzles, we felt that The Cursed Spirit did one thing but it did it really, really well. When we first received the pack we were surprised that it was a little light – just a few curious letters, books and sheets of paper. But when we got into solving puzzles, the game was unexpectedly delightful.
The premise of the puzzle game aspect of the experience is that you are able to cast a particular type of spell and you do so by folding your paper doll to conjure the image of what you’re casting the spell on. That then outputs a code, which advances the game. Essentially almost every puzzle centres around this idea (though we won’t go into more detail on this as to avoid spoilers), but somehow over two hours this familiar mechanic doesn’t feel repetitive!
Some spells we spotted and were able to cast quickly, and others took quite a good deal of thinking outside of the box. It wasn’t too difficult of a game, but we were certainly scratching our heads and trying to figure out the best way of solving each dilemma.
But overall, well balanced and fun to solve. I have a real soft spot for tactile games that involve physical manipulation of materials. The Cursed Spirit did this really well! But just one note – we did have to destroy some of the components so this game is not replayable (or re-giftable).
The Cursed Spirit is another fantastic play at home escape game from SCRAP and Real Escape Game Japan and we’re thrilled to have played it. As ‘Saturday evening entertainment‘ goes, it’s a hundred times more fun than watching a film or playing a traditional boxed escape game because it’s like both things combined together.
Overall, I probably still prefer SCRAP’s previous two games more: The Strange Village and The Demon Fortress. Both experiences we played early in lockdown and they absolutely blew me away. The Cursed Spirit was just as accomplished a game – if not better in parts – but we were not familiar with Jujutsu Kaisen and that probably didn’t help! I imagine if you’re a super fan of the series then getting to work with your favourite characters to exorcise demons would be thrilling.
In The Strange Village and The Demon Fortress you meet the characters for the first time, but in The Cursed Spirit there is an implicit assumption that you are familiar with the characters already, and the game jumps straight into the action.
That said, we are once again very impressed!
We would recommend The Cursed Spirit for smaller teams of no more than 3 players as many of the puzzles are quite tactile and can only be done by one or two players at a time. We would also recommend playing in the same location, as it is very video-heavy. With those two conditions met, you’re in for a treat if you play The Cursed Spirit and I kinda wish I could go back and play it for the first time again!
JUJUTSU KAISEN Online Puzzle Game “Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School” can be purchased in the UK from Amazon for a limited time only. Head to this page to find all the international links to purchase.
Please Note: We received this experience for free in exchange for an honest review.