As with all the previous Biohazard attractions at USJ, I made my way to Osaka one fine weekend, and this time it was seriously worth the trip. What makes Escape different from the previous 2 installments is that it is an escape game, where you have a time limit to solve the puzzles through a series of clues and escape Raccoon TV Station. That time limit is 1 hour, but with the intro and the finale, the total time spent in the attraction is about an hour and a half. It’s definitely the best value for money for someone who travels half way across the country just to go to this.
Because of the length of the attraction, the number of visitors is even more limited than before, and you need to purchase an extra ticket in order to participate. The cost is 2500 yen in advance and 3000 on the day. Advance tickets can be bought here, but you’ll need to be able to read Japanese in order to buy them. If you’re planning on buying them on the day in the park, I’d recommend getting there before opening time as they sell out pretty quickly.
At the beginning, you are given the studio map, a locked box with a number combination lock, and an iPad that you can take photos with and through which you receive the clues.
After a dramatic intro that includes lickers dropping from the ceiling (it’s a really high ceiling!), you are free to go into the facility in order to solve the puzzles, which there are several of. What I wasn’t expecting is that you can change the language on the iPad to English as well as a variety of others, so it’s a lot more tourist friendly than the website information would let on. Having a literate best friend, we decided to continue in Japanese to save us time on the iffy translations. Most of the puzzles require you to visit 2 rooms, on different floors – the studio is huge, and there are 4 floors in total. This along with the fact that there are hundreds of people trying to do the same thing as you make completing this under the time limit pretty difficult. Still, we managed to do better than some others. Out of the 5 or so total puzzles, we solved 3 – we got access to the director’s office and claimed the sticker that supposedly grants you immunity, got the code for the laser room and disabled the lasers.
We didn’t manage to open the case, get the gun or solve the final puzzle about what was going on. All in all though, we did much better than I was expecting, and considering that only 1 group solved everything, I’d say it was a solid effort. It was definitely a lot of fun, and I would recommend anyone to do it. You can enjoy it until May 10th this year!
As well as the attraction itself, USJ gets in on the hype with some themed food and drinks. They were actually pretty good, and somewhat made up for the lack of good souvenirs this time around.
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
For those of you that want to attempt to get further than we did, here are the solutions to the puzzles. The first one is where you have to enter a series of symbols into your iPad. The symbols, from top to bottom, are: moon crescent, spade, star, star in hexagon. This will grant you access to the director’s office, where you will be able to receive your patch. After you get the patch, you can go to the sub-control room where you’ll need to solve the puzzle by looking at the map. The answer is RAIN. This will disable the lasers. 7369 will unlock your case, which contains a key card and a locker key. You can use the key card to access the stairwell from the 1st floor and the key to unlock the locker at the top and get a gun. Finally, proceed to the 4th floor and look at the zombie guard for the code to the laser corridor. It’s 9152. After you go through the lasers, you will have a chance to go into an area we didn’t get into and shoot something exciting. I’m guessing it might be Nemesis because he’s the only one we didn’t see from the previous times. I’m not sure exactly what happens after as we didn’t get that far, but I believe you will be given an envelope containing the final puzzle. The solution is basically that you need the immunity patch with zombie blood on it in order to survive. Good luck!