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Have you ever thought you’d make a great ace attorney on par with the legendary Phoenix Wright? Well, SCRAP (makers of real world escape games galore) is currently allowing players to prove it in the real world puzzle game The Spirit Medium Village Murder Case, a tie-in to the currently airing Ace Attorney anime.

As a huge fan of the game series (I’ve played every one except the most recent), I rounded up Sarah and Toshi and off we went, eager to apply our collective detective skills to the solving of the case. Long story short, it was a blast–the closest thing I can imagine to a real world Ace Attorney experience as possible.

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To begin, we entered a large room filled with tables. At each one was a team of six players (except for our table, where the three of us sought to face the challenge alone). In hindsight, we might have been a tad overconfident.

The game began with an original anime introduction with Phoenix and Maya, setting the stage for the event. Simply put, a spirit medium has been murdered and the sole suspect is Phoenix’s client–a man who suddenly changes his plea to guilty just as the trial begins. Begging for a single hour to prove his client innocent, the trial begins and the clock starts ticking.

The game works like this: On top of the table is laid out a big box full of evidence. You are also given a sheet of testimony broken up into several statements. After examining both evidence and testimony, you shout “objection” (complete with provided word-bubble card), choose one statement and the one piece of evidence that contradicts it, and then take it to the judge to be checked. If you are correct, you receive new testimony and new evidence. In other words, if you’ve played any of the games, you’ll be right at home.

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The puzzles range from the simple–finding a glaring lie by examining documentation–to the complex, recreating the murdered spirit medium’s rituals. You also need to think outside the box from time to time and remember that, despite being played in the real world, this game works just like the video games. To put it another way, your arsenal of tools is greater than it may first appear.

To our credit, we actually did rather well. As time ran out we were on the second to last step, the motive, though we had already figured out the true killer and murder weapon (which is actually the last step).

The game closes out with a walkthrough of each puzzle and its solution followed by the showing of an animated ending. In our room full of people, six teams solved the entire mystery–and one did it with nearly ten minutes to spare.

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All in all, the game was incredibly fun–if difficult, being that it is Japanese-only with no English support. It was actually even more fun than the video games, as you are able to handle the evidence yourself and can’t just guess your way to victory in a brute force strategy. If you’re in Japan and have a high enough level of Japanese ability–i.e., you can play the video games in the original Japanese with no issues–don’t miss out on this event. Prove to the world that you too are an ace attorney!

The Spirit Medium Village Murder Case is currently running in various cities throughout Japan until October 2, 2016. The Tokyo location will close up shop on September 20, 2016. For more information, check out the official website (Japanese only).

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