How I Outwitted The Promised Neverland Kids in the Sky Circus Puzzle Game
posted on by Kim Morrissy
I'm not as smart as Emma, Norman, and Ray. I'll probably never be as smart as them, no matter how old I get. That's why I didn't fancy my chances of finding them during hide-and-seek.
From January 5 to February 11, the Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observation Deck in Tokyo held a collaboration with The Promised Neverland, which brought an exhibit, limited-time goods, and original drink menu items to the observation deck. The biggest draw, however, was a puzzle game challenge that was devised by SCRAP, the same folks behind the upcoming The Promised Neverland-themed escape room that will open in March. The setup behind the puzzle game was simple: I had to solve puzzles to find out where The Promised Neverland kids were hiding in a game of hide-and-seek.
Puzzle games, escape rooms... All of this fits the setting of The Promised Neverland to a T. The story of Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu's manga series is about a group of plucky pre-teen kids trying to outwit the adults in order to escape the orphanage in which they were raised. I felt a little bad that I was tasked with finding the children. I don't want to be the jerk who drags them back to the orphanage halfway through their big escape. To make it easier to swallow, I told myself: "This is for their training. I'm helping them for when they do the real thing."
Anyway, when I first walked into the Sky Circus, I was given a map of the observation floor and a set of puzzles that would tell me the locations of Don, Gilda, and Phil. Various possible hiding locations were indicated with symbols like a tree, a sun, a moon, a fire, etc. At each of those spots, there was a panel that you could lift up and check to see if your target was there... but most of them were red herrings.
Technically, I could have just gone around to every hiding spot and assembled the kids that way, but that's no fun! I decided to try my hand at the puzzles.
The organizers have asked fans not to spoil the answers, and so even though the event is now done, I still feel that I shouldn't state the answers. However, I will at least give some impressions. Don, Gilda, and Phil's puzzles were straightforward and don't involve anything beyond basic Japanese knowledge. You follow the simple instructions and you get your answer.
Finding Don, Gilda, and Phil gave me clues to find Norman and Ray. It was, again, pretty straightforward once I matched all three clues up. However, when I arrived at the area where Norman and Ray were supposed to be, I was greeted with a dark corridor. Down the walls were around 20 or so panels with numbers written on them. I started at the first one, which directed me to a different numbered panel. When I had to make a choice about which panel to go to next, I realized quickly that this was like one of those "choose your own adventure" books.
It was really hard to figure out what the right choices were. Every other option either led you on a wild goose chase or back to the start. I eventually found Norman and Ray through a process of trial and error. They gave the clue to find the last child: Emma.
Finding Emma was by the far the hardest puzzle. At first, I thought I had the trick all worked out, but when I went around testing my theory, I realized it was a red herring. I went around to every single spot on the map after that and still didn't find Emma. I saw some other people doing the puzzle ask a staff member for help, so I did that too, but she also gave me a false lead. At last, I went back to the staff member and asked for help one more time... and she told me that my original theory was correct, but I just had to apply it to a different context. The final answer blew my mind.
In the end, I managed to find Emma in the last place I expected to find her. Yes, I needed some help for that last stretch, but I was pretty proud of myself for understanding and solving every puzzle in my second language. I rewarded myself with the tasty lemonade in Emma's image they were selling at the cafe. (Even though they called it "lemonade," I suppose it was more like a float.)
I want to point out that the intent behind the puzzle game is to get you to explore every inch of the observation deck. Besides offering impressive views of the Tokyo metropolis, it has interactive areas for kids and adults and virtual reality experiences. It was my first time at the Sky Circus, and I ended up having a great time there.
The mini exhibit was nice, too, showing off various design materials and character art. All of this came free with a regular admission ticket, so I didn't have to pay anything extra just to participate in all The Promised Neverland stuff.
As a prize for winning the puzzle game, I got a postcard promoting the escape room. Even though I managed to solve the puzzles this time, I'm not sure about my chances with the escape room. I got the impression that the Sky Circus puzzle game was aimed primarily at children. Also, there was no time limit to solve the puzzles while the escape room only gives you one hour. I may have outwitted The Promised Neverland kids this time, but only because I had all the advantages on my side. I'd be a definite liability to Emma and her friends if I participated in their escape!