Adventure Escape Room: Ukiyo

Ukiyo – bringing gameplay to life in a narrative escape room adventure

Ukiyo is a new, narrative-style escape room set in a detailed and whimsical Japanese setting, which can’t help but be compared to the delightful, child-like worlds of Miyazaki.

Only half can be trustedLead through a half-empty warehouse to a little dark waiting room, you wait for the game’s team to instruct you in the gameplay. A picture book describes the set-up, starting with the story of The Crumbling Prince, who waits for his missing friends, the Children of the Grove. Notes are scribbled on the walls, only some of which can be trusted.

You play in masks that either have headphones or lights built-in, as one of the four following characters:

  • Mask of the Moon – for the team’s leader and puzzle master, seeing what is hidden
  • Mask of the Sun – for the team’s cohesive and helpful player, a light in dark places
  • Mask of the Wild – for the caring team member, a rescuer
  • Mask of the Lost – for a communicative team member, hearing the voices of the unseen (pictured)

Ukiyo Mask of the LostYour task is simple: enter the garden and meet with the crumbling prince, Kuebiko.

You move into a garden with a wooden ramp leading to a Japanese-style rock garden with a blossoming cherry tree and a small water course running through the middle. The game involves moving about in this space, crossing the waterway. Some of the gameplay is accessible but not all activities would be suitable for someone with limited physical mobility.

Ukiyo is like being physically placed directly into a puzzle game, where combined quests and some side-quests all link back together into the main story arc. The players with Masks of the Lost and the Wild can talk to the voices they hear, and Kuebiko seems to be fully responsive. The players are encouraged to speak to the prince, and he can often supply hints.

Mask of the wild tree hugger

Uncovering the secret of the room took our experienced team about an hour but 1.5 hours is allotted for each team. The Crumbling Prince is the first episode, with the next instalment currently undergoing final testing before likely availability in a month. Costs for this episode currently vary from $59 to $79 per person, with lower costs for 4 players.

Whether the name and styling of the room live up to the art movement or the original inversion of the Buddhist meaning, Ukiyo’s name is a clever word play, and absorbing, fun activity for a small group. Each of our team agreed, the room was well worth the visit and we look forward to returning for the next adventure soon.

Ukiyo is offered by the same Brunswick escape room team who brought us Deep Space and more information about their offerings can be found at their website

Intrepid adventurers with their unreliable host

Book review: Brothers of the Knife, Dan Rabarts

Review of Dan Rabarts’ Brothers of the Knife, a rollicking fantasy with an unlikely hero.

Akmenos is the disappointment of his hatching, with no sorcery or battle skills to make his parents proud. The son of Bane, head of the Emperor’s sorcerous Hornung Coven, is a cook in the castle kitchens, a role suiting his aptitudes and interests.

Dropped suddenly into deep political machinations and named as a Prince’s murderer, Akmenos flees, with only the tools of his trade, and few supplies. What follows in Dan Rabarts’ Brothers of the Knife is unstoppable adventure for this unlikely hero, who really just wants a good cup of tea and for life to return to normal.

While the novel on the whole is light-hearted, there’s a few pointed looks at privilege, and the unseen benefits of being part of a ruling class. Akmenos is always quipping, but gets on with trying to do good on his journey. It has the punny heart of a Pratchett book, and misses no steps in a rollicking good adventure.

There is some detailed world building, which is the hardest part of writing novels in a fantasy world. Dan has kept this to a minimum but the narrative calls for multiple explorations of the realm. The pace kept the reader from exploring too deeply, and I wonder if those parts of the world will feature more heavily in later books.

It’s a refreshing change in fantasy to have a character who just is, not black and white, not a soldier or a savant, and not predestined for greatness. Akmenos is an any man, with a nose for the finer flavours of life.

Brothers of the Knife is Dan Rabart’s first solo novel in the Children of Bane series, and recommended for adult to mature young adult readers. Dan also has an impressive back catalogue of fiction if you’re intrigued, which you can find out more about at