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Plymouth Point – Electric Dreams Online Festival

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Creators: Swamp Motel

First it was the monologue: now the online escape room is the genre of lockdown. A few of these interactive shows are playing as part of Electric Dreams Online, a three-week festival that employs all kinds of technology to ensure that audience members feel part of the shows. Jury Duty started earlier in the week, while Escape Zoom runs from next week, but opening this week is Plymouth Point, an immersive game where you are tasked in finding a missing woman. With the clock ticking down, it proves to be an exciting 60 minutes.

Joining a Residents Committee Zoom meeting, Katherine tells you that Ivy, one of your neighbours in Plymouth Point, has gone missing. Could you possibly help in tracking her down? With only a Facebook profile to help, you are meant to trace her most recent movements, hacking into her email account on the way. Your search will take into dark places where big corporations hold gruesome secrets and where ancient myths turn out to be true.

Creator Swamp Motel has built an impressive narrative contained in websites and YouTube videos, all of which guide you towards the conclusion. And if you get stuck, Katherine is there to offer a few hints, which she provides in the Zoom messages tab. With her help, the story rattles along quickly, so quickly at times that the story is hard to follow.

Billed as experience best played by 3 or 4 people, Plymouth Point seems more suited to a single player when played over Zoom. As one player has to share their screen, the other players are in danger of becoming passive participants, watching the ‘host’ player pull up the clues to the mystery. Of course, if you are good friends there is great pleasure in shouting over each other and telling each other what to do. However, with the story being such a linear one, tasks cannot be divided among the players.

But if you’re not employed by the Russian state, this may be the only chance you ever have to break into someone’s emails or unearth someone’s work details. It’s an intriguing hour – or 75 minutes if you need it – and the end, when it comes, is a chilling one. The technology that Swamp Motel present is impressive, and every step in the journey has been meticulously designed; however, too often, if you’re not the one sharing the screen, there is little to do but watch.

Runs until 16 August 2020

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