Ukiyo, a mystical story experience.

Last night Super Sake Boy and I had the most mystical experience in a Japanese garden, in another realm. It was an exciting and interactive experience which felt like we had been transported into a real-life RPG (role play game) or a Studio Ghibli movie. Imagine playing a video game, where you have missions, on different levels, but where you can actually touch everything, immerse yourself in the beautiful environment, interact with interesting and otherworldly characters, and become part of a magical tale about a Crumbling Prince.

We arrived for our booking at Ukiyo, in Moreland Road, Brunswick, not really knowing what to expect. It had come up in a search I was doing about the Japanese art form ukiyo-e. Of course the tag line on the Google search, which read “Escape Room” named Ukiyo, and then the click through which revealed a Japanese themed escape room, captured my attention instantly. How did such a thing exist in Melbourne without my knowledge. I was very quickly lured into the mystery and the intrigue, watching the animations which outline the story of the Crumbling Prince in the garden that hides a terrible secret. After a long lockdown and no birthday celebrations last year, we decided to book in.

Entering the experience I knew we were going to have fun. The game, which actually feels a lot more like an immersive story, and not so much an escape room as an adventure, can be played with up to 4 players. Each player has a mask (made COVID safe for current restrictions) which endows specific skills and so each player offers different capabilities to the group. We were only two, but I imagine it would also be fun with 3 or 4 players.

The game starts with some reasonably simple missions and it would seem interacting, asking questions and really becoming a character in the story are paramount to this being an amazing and enjoyable experience. The puzzles do become more challenging and you have to move your thinking laterally. We absolutely loved this aspect. It was a great feeling of accomplishment and teamwork. I do not want to talk to much about the actual story, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else, and every experience is unique, as your interactions with the characters build the story and map the direction of the game play.

We enjoyed this first chapter of The Crumbling Prince so much, that we booked our second chapter before we left. I have revisited the webpage today and discovered there are going to be continuing seasons, five in all, with two chapters per season, in the future. This made me really happy. A continuing adventure that we can enjoy at periodic intervals. I could not recommend this game more highly as a unique, captivating and incredibly enjoyable encounter. It was incredible. I think it would be a great idea for teenagers birthdays, for any age adult that enjoys a good tale, and you certainly do not need a passion for Japan to enjoy it. The room is quite beautiful, though, and you may find yourself longing to be on a riverbank in Kyoto, under a cherry blossom tree, eating a peach. I know I did…

You can find a link to Ukiyo beautiful site here. They are situated at 54 Moreland Road, Brunswick.

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