Date completed: Jan 2016 (2 players). Succeded escaping!
Creativity: 7; Difficulty: 6.5; Atmosphere: 5; Fun: 7
- Fluent English, Cantonese or Mandarin
- 2-8 players
- 45 minute room
- Full mobility
Aokigahara is a creepy forest near Mt Fuji Japan with the dark reputation of being a ‘suicide forest’. Tales say that mobile phones, GPS and all electromagnetic devices malfunction around the area and the local police often find deceased people over there. So when the plot of Lost HK’s Aokigahara revolves around recovering a friend lost in the forest, we took notice and decided to give it a go after playing Castiglione.
Before our briefing started, a girl from another group asked if this room was scary. To our surprise, the gamemaster said “none of our rooms are scary”. Huh? How could it? What would we see inside?
The truth is that, although the promotional material for Aokigahara have all the trappings of a horror game, the setting for the escape room is actually quite tame. The tale of the missing friend was quickly forgotten to become a simpler ‘find your way out these woods’. The place was quite well illuminated and the forest was very green and felt more like an untidy garden, to the point we would say it was family friendly. There was no reference to the place’s notorious reputation.
Also, the room was not silent. There was (non-scary) music and you could hear the very excited group that was playing the next room near us. Our descripton may sound it was a bit of a ‘meh’ room, but it was actually quite enjoyable.
The puzzles for Aokigahara were fewer and significantly easier than Castiglione, the other room we played at Lost HK. The list includes riddles, demanding tests on memory, logical puzzles and some creative use of technology. At the same time, some puzzles were linked to old ways of navigation, which suited the theme very well. And if you always wondered why do they teach trigonometry at school, you may find some tasks easier if you remember the basics!
The range of difficulty of puzzles in this room were quite broad. Some were extremely easy (‘square piece in square hole’ level), while others required dealing with codes of more than 10 numbers spreaded all over. Props included elements of Japanese folklore and some parts of puzzles require thorough search.
To complete Aokigahara, players must have full mobility. First, to tackle five levels of stairs to reach the room (Lost HK is situated in an old apartment block in Causeway Bay). Second, the scenario involves mild climbing and crawling. While it can be fun and suited to the story, it can unfortunately make the game unviable for people with reduced movement.
According to Lost HK’s website, this room can be played with 2-8 people. However, we believe that any more than 5 would be extremely cramped and some people would have nothing to do. We were able to get out in time with seconds to spare in a team of two using a few hints. It was not easy, but doable!
Out of the room
Service: Our Gamemaster continued to juggle three different rooms by herself simultaneously without losing track of where we were. How she does this I don’t know. She offered specific hints only when we asked and was very quick to respond to questions.
Communication: Communication with the Gamemaster was through an intercom on the wall. She talked to us both in English and in Cantonese.
Surroundings: Lost HK is located in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong island. It’s a fashion shopping paradise if you are into that sort of thing. Prada, Uniqlo, Chanel, Burberry, Zara, Forever 21, you name it. It is also located near Times Square and it’s ‘Food Forum’, which has some of the best restaurants. Every floor has a different type of cuisine! Conveniently, Times Square also has its own subway station exit.