Like most games, it takes awhile to figure out the rules, and can be tricky for first-timers not already versed in how such things play out. Here's a few beginner points:
- Click EVERYWHERE to find elusive items, usually in out-of-the-way places, such as behind paintings, between shelf corners or under the bed.
- Some pictures may rock if you click their edges. The trick is to figure out what sequence to click each edge in.
- Looking left & right may not be your only options - some screens may have it possible to look up at the ceiling, or down at the floor.
- The usage of certain items may not be obvious at first glance. You can use a coin to unlock some screws instead of using a screwdriver.
- Some of the items in your inventory might be rotated around, showing items taped behind them. Highlight them, then "examine" or "look up close" to see them in detail, then click around.
- Furthermore, some items can also be combined with others. Highlight the object as explained above, then use another item, such as a match to light it on fire, or combine it, making two halves into a whole.
For me, the worst kind of escape rooms are those that insist you solve one puzzle at a time in order to solve the others. Rather than having multiple paths that all eventually run towards the same goal, these force you to go down a very specific way and don't allow other opportunities to experiment with other puzzles when you get stuck. Not unlike those adventure games where you're required to collect 8 Macguffin items to unlock the boss area. Somewhat similar are escape-themed games where you're required to find multiple similar objects (puzzle pieces, Escape-Men) to get out, which is essentially a series of checkpoints, since these items are never used on their own for anything else.
Some of the more prolific game producers include Tomatea, Yonashi, and Tesshi-e's Mild "Happy Coin!" Escape. Particularly notable are Haretoki (Sometimes Sunny) and Kotorinosu, whose rooms are much bigger than they first seem, and very amusing once you get out of them.
|All of Tesshi-e's puzzles end with this phrase if you find the coin before leaving.|
Open the door, but look around the room for an extra puzzle to be solved.
Other games were particularly tricky, since they were language-extensive, making playing and enjoying them somewhat problematic if you weren't already versed in Japanese. This included a game room, a gameshow room (with limited times for making mistakes) and a punishment room where you'd get slapped in the butt by Ninjas if you happened to come across anything that sounded like OUT! (Strike Out, Throw it Out, Time Out, Cut Out, Rub it Out, Put the Fire Out, etc.) If you found all 12 punishments, you'd get a surprise Bad Ending upon leaving (assuming you'd ever get that far). The proper course of action would be to intentionally trigger all the Ninjas the first time around, then once you know where they are, you can avoid them next time.
Did I mention the Demon game where our hapless victim finds himself in a mansion where a Demon proceeds to strip him of his clothes? This one was surprisingly amusing, but also frustrating to navigate through, because oftentimes the puzzles were rather obtuse. Most escape rooms are content with having somewhere in the realm of 10-20 objects for use, some of which can be reused multiple times in various places. Gatamari has upwards to 30 to 50 items.
|All those empty squares on the right side are to be filled.|
Son / Zone / On / Cent / Oz / Me / Nose / No
The basic assumption is that they'd be part of another password, right? Nope, wrong again. They're actually solutions to a miniature crossword puzzle on the back of a hand-held object in your inventory, the answer of which would be:
The actual solution is pushing the particular buttons that spell out a certain word in front. Another annoying feature is that you'll be carrying around some items for a long time without being able to combine them with others, or knowing their intended use. One such instance is the Venus Fly Trap, which has to be placed between singing pillars in a hidden compartment.
|I've just saved you the trouble of having to take screen captures of each dance.|
You still have to insert the correct password though.
The first several rooms are simple enough, and there are online videos showing you how to bypass them, but the real joy comes out of figuring out the puzzles yourself. There were some real stumpers involved, since the answers were as far from obvious as possible, and I ran into serious trouble around the fifth (Archer) room, because I couldn't find any helpful information online. But I preserved, trying multiple combinations not yet figured out yet, and was surprised at how obvious the solution turned out to be.
Some helpful hints if you happen to get stuck:
- Don't worry about getting the ball up the pipes - find another place where you can use the pipe pieces near the steam vents in the basement.
- The light switches in the basement won't be of use until you open another door near the end.
- The clay slab will be useful later.
- Pay attention to the heights of the Egyptian Kings on the walls.
|This isn't the answer - figure it out yourself.|
If going through all these games to see their special moves is too intimidating, a much more reasonable task would be to play the Christmas Special where all your special summons are kidnapped by a possessed Rudolph, and you have to go through various puzzles in nine rooms to get them back. For the most part, you shouldn't have too much trouble, though chances are you'll be stuck at the "Rubik's Cube" Snowman puzzle early on. The Christmas special also has the bonus feature of multiple endings, depending on which gift you happen to take with you when you get out, or no gift at all. Be sure to save beforehand so you'll see them all!
I will tell you that the clock answer is 259 though. (I still don't understand how either)