At the beginning of this month (October 2021) Invite Japan released the newest version of our popular outdoor scavenger hunt series– “Nazotabi Yokohama: The Magical Journey of the Wizard’s Apprentice“. Since some of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, an outdoor scavenger hunt is a perfect way to get back outside and lighten the mood after a long period of staying inside.
In order to double-check the puzzles and take some promotional pictures and videos, a bunch of staff members, myself included, traveled down to Yokohama together. It had been a while since I had been down to Yokohama, and so I wanted to impart my impressions and feelings of the game after being there and re-experiencing it first hand.
Completely bilingual experience
Blessed with great weather, five of us–Guillaume, Chloe, Anna, Yurie, and I (Ayaka) met in the morning at Motomachi Chukagai station in Yokohama. The interesting thing about this group is that between the five of us, English was the main common language, even though none of us are native speakers (two are French, one is German, and two are Japanese). But what makes this game so great is that it is completely bilingual.
The puzzle instructions are written in Japanese and English, so everyone can figure out what to do without translating. And the puzzles themselves are based on numbers, colors, shapes, etc. so that you don’t need knowledge of a certain language or culture to solve them. Really, any group of people, including mixed-language groups, can play.
Just the right amount of puzzles and walking
Even though our main goal was to take photos and pictures, we actually went through the game as well. All told, it took us about three hours, including lunch. For just the game, it should take most players around one to two hours to complete. However, I would really recommend blocking a little more time to just enjoy walking around outside. The Yamashita park area is beautiful, especially in the fall, and there are many wonderful little bars and cafes nearby that you can take a break in.
Our team enjoyed ice cream on the “Elephant’s Nose” docks, and had a late lunch at a trendy cafe. It was the perfect way to spend the day. The whole game area isn’t so big, so we think everyone should take it easy and explore, bask in the sun and grab something good to eat.
Discover a different side of Yokohama
The game takes players to Yamashita Park and near Yokohama Stadium, which are both pretty famous areas. However, the players who tested the game during the development process, many of whom live in Yokohama, said that they had never been to some of the puzzle spots in the game and that they discovered new parts of the city.
When our team came to Yokohama to do research, we always avoided the usual tourist spots. We want players to feel like they are taking part in a process of discovery–that is one of the major themes of this series. And we hope that players enjoy different aspects of the city, even if they live there.
A casual “team building” to bond with friends and family
Aside from the Nazobako series which is geared to consumers, we also create similar scavenger hunt activities for corporate teams and organizations. A lot of those same ideas about building relationships, strengthening communication skills, and using teamwork to combine team members’ skills end up being carried over into our consumer-based products.
Actually, when I first started at Invite Japan, I had to try all the puzzles on my own, including the ones in Yokohama. I had always had an interest in puzzle-solving even before coming to this company, so it wasn’t too hard for me, and it felt nice to be able to walk around the city freely.
However, when I went back to check the puzzles with colleagues, it was a completely different experience and I learned and discovered a lot with them. And I was also impressed with how the puzzles actually allowed us to bond together.
Of course, the game can be completed alone, and you’ll probably have a lot of fun. But trust us when we tell you that it might be even more valuable to play it with your family, friends, loved ones or coworkers, so you can feel a little bit of that team building magic.
Support system and side story–decide your own difficulty level and how immersed you want to get
In Nazotabi Yokohama, players use a QR-code hint system that they access online. There are multiple hints that range from indirect to direct and this system lets them choose how hard they want their game experience to be. More experienced players might want to forgo hints altogether, while newer players might want to check every hint. It’s all ok!
Another great feature of this QR-code system is that you can also check your location in case you feel lost. Part of the game surely is to find your way to the puzzle spots, but sometimes it is just a little too frustrating. Also, if there is construction or the location is blocked, you won’t be hindered from completing the game.
In addition, the QR codes can also let you access more of the story. Players that want to get more immersed in the fantastical world we created, and those that just want to know more about why something is happening, can easily access more parts of the story that aren’t in the books, and which go into more depth.
Feel the excitement of the Final Mission
Once you have completed all the puzzles in the booklet, it’s time for the Final Mission, which you can actually do from anywhere–a cafe, your home, or just on a park bench. All you need is a smartphone, and the answers to previous puzzles (we suggest checking the answers using the hint system so that you can complete the Final Mission more smoothly).
Completing the game will give you a sense of accomplishment, and a deep refreshing feeling. It’s not just a mental reaction but a physical one as well. This is the magic of puzzle-solving.
It might be a little premature now, but once restrictions have calmed down a bit more, we suggest you go out and have a well-deserved drink to celebrate your accomplishments and talk over your day. It’s always good to end with a reward for hard work.
Above are the main points about what makes Nazotabi Yokohama so great. What do you think? This is actually the fifth scavenger hunt game that we’ve made, including games that we no longer sell anymore. All of our years of know-how and puzzle-making skills have come together in this latest game, and we hope you be enjoy it soon!
Invite Japan specializes in puzzle-solving activities. Apart from outdoor scavenger hunt we also have indoor and online activities for teams and corporate clients. Contact us today for more information!