What's New at Bandai Namco Amusement's Mazaria VR Center
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Bandai Namco Amusement opened a new VR center named "Mazaria" on the third floor of Ikebukuro's Sunshine City complex in Tokyo in July. The center includes the attractions at Bandai Namco Entertainment's VR Zone, which was open in the Kabukicho district in Shinjuku from July 2017 to March 2019, plus new attractions and areas.
The Athletic VR Pac-Man Challenge turns you and a friend into Pac-Man. The premise is the same as the classic game: you navigate a maze and collect fruits and Pac-dots while avoiding the ghosts. It's definitely the most physical of the activities you can do at Mazaria, because instead of being seated or standing still, you'll constantly be moving around and grabbing things. It's exhausting to actually be Pac-Man instead of just manipulating his movements on a screen, but it's also pretty fun.
The Taiko no Tatsujin: VR Festival puts you inside the world of the drum arcade game, and it's the most adorable world you'll ever visit. Just seeing all the cute creatures wave at you and cheer when they see you on stage is enough to justify a ticket to Mazaria. Other than that, the game plays similarly to the arcade game, although you'll have virtual drum sticks instead of real ones, so it's not quite as satisfying to hit the beats. Also, the beats come towards you instead of scrolling sideways across a screen, so the rhythm part of the game takes some getting used to, although ultimately it feels a bit more intuitive.
A Godzilla VR experience first opened in VR Zone Osaka, but it has been brought to Mazaria as well with some extra new touches. For example, the staff members who guide you through the experience are dressed in military uniform and are role-playing the part of fellow JSDF members who are really freaked out about Godzilla storming through Tokyo. Although there's some interactivity involved in shooting at Godzilla in the penultimate scene, this one is less of a game and more of a VR movie, but it still offers plenty of thrills.
Some other new additions to Mazaria include the Rapid River VR adventure, where up to four people can paddle their way through virtual rapids and choose the route you take to the bottom, and the zombie survival game Hard Call. You shoot the zombies with a laser gun and ram into them with a car, so the experience isn't as viscerally frightening as other horror VR games can be, so that one's worth checking out if you're more into action games than pure horror.
It costs 800 yen (US$7) for an adult entry ticket, with the attractions purchased separately, or 4,500 yen (US$41) for a passport ticket that lets you play as many games as you want in the center, excepting the Dragon Quest VR and the Athletic VR Pac-Man Challenge. A pass for the Dragon Quest VR cost 3,200 yen (US$29), and 2,000 yen (US$18) for the Athletic VR Pac-Man Challenge (500 yen if you purchased the passport ticket). English guides are available on the website and at the venue, and some attractions have English subtitles.