Writers: Clem Garritty, Ollie Jones and Sadie Spencer
Directors: Clem Garritty and Ollie Jones
Swamp Motel’s exciting Escape Zoom trilogy concludes with The Kindling Hour, your final chance to overthrow the sinister London Consortium responsible for a series of grisly murders in its effort to control the capital. With a narrative that incorporates Arthurian legend, your job is to return the sword to the stone.
Most online escape rooms use Zoom, but Swamp Motel have built their own platform, which also allows participants to use cams, share screens and use a chat function. In a nice touch, the platform belongs to a high-class jockey club, and the show begins when you crash into a meeting being held on the server. However, the people chatting are not jockeys but members of a strange cult determined to keep their power.
Over the next 90 minutes, your team needs to crack codes, hack online accounts, solve a case of mistaken identity and help Ivy find the missing London Stone. Some of the puzzles are quite tricky, and not all can be solved within the game’s infrastructure. Other tasks will you have scouring Google and Instagram to find passwords and hidden messages. Only if you get really stuck will help appear in the chat box.
Even featuring cutscenes like video games, almost every aspect of The Kindling Hour allows for a smooth experience. Only one website proves difficult to navigate and you may find yourself inadvertently exiting the website when you only want to go back a step. Having all your tabs open may help with this.
The Kindling Hour also features a familiar face in that of Dominic Monaghan from The Lord of the Rings and Lost. Bathsheba Piepe returns as the duplicitous Ivy, with Dino Fetscher completing the cast and all three of them create a sense of urgency that is intensified by the timer on the platform counting down the minutes.
With a summary of the two previous episodes provided at the start of this final chapter, you could play this without experiencing Plymouth Point and The Mermaid’s Tongue, but with these shows available alongside The Kindling Hour, it makes sense to play them in order. With London’s future dependent on your success, practice makes perfect.
Runs here until 30 May 2021