Review: Swamp Motel
Updated: Aug 20
Tonight, my brothers and nephews played Swamp Motel's online escape room, Plymouth Point. It was a great room! We had a ton of fun. Plymouth Point was the most immersive and engaging online escape room I've ever played. I really felt like a detective on a real life search for a missing person. The story was interesting, exciting, and imaginative. I've never spent so much time surfing the real world internet in an escape room, and that made the story feel real. Teams use Facebook profiles, Google locations, and many other websites to discover clues and interact with characters, and that allows everyone on the team to use their phones and computers to scour the internet to accomplish the mission.
Swamp Motel creates immersive entertainment that blurs the boundaries between theatre, film, and gaming, and experience creation is obviously their focus. The puzzles in Plymouth Point were not the focus of this experience. It was more of an immersive experience than an escape room, but there were definitely puzzles to solve. If you're a big fan of complex logic puzzles, you might be disappointed that most of the puzzles are more about connecting the dots and cracking passwords, but if you like the feeling of fully immersing yourself in a story, you'll love it.
I recommend playing their experiences with people who are good with Google and Facebook because that will remove frustrations that will distract from the excitement of the story. You will login to the adventure simply by joining a Zoom meeting. If you are one of the few people in the world who don't have Zoom on their computer, I recommend downloading the app before your appointment time. It will be helpful if each person in your group has their own computer and headphones, but it is definitely possible to do the room with multiple people at a single computer. When you join the Zoom meeting, you will need to have one person on your team share his or her computer screen and audio on Zoom with the rest of the team. The person who shares his or her computer should be the person on your team who is most comfortable using Zoom and internet browsers.
Swamp Motel offers a USA version and a UK version. Booking the correct version opens up booking options in the correct time zone and location specific communication.
Review: 4 (out of 5)
Mike's Difficulty Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Their Difficulty Rating: Unlisted
This is the highest rating I've ever given an online escape room because they are usually not very immersive. Plymouth Point was creative, intuitive, and immersive. I've not seen all of those qualities combined in any other online escape room.
The story was an intense mix of mystery and thriller. There was also so real-life folklore and history mixed in, and we had a lot of time learning the real and fake histories while solving a fantastic storyline.
The system of communication with the game master was a lot of fun because the game master was a character in the story. They were able to remove the usual technology frustrations by using platforms that almost everyone is used to using, and it was so much fun to find their fictional characters in the real world.
Because I'm a big fan of puzzles, I prefer a room with more logic, number, spacial and visual puzzles, but that is not the design of this room. It is all about breadcrumbs, investigation, and discovery.
My only complaint about Plymouth Point is about the flow of the game. The game master offered us a few hints without us asking for them, and although I am fine with that, all of our hints were used to tell us the next steps we should take. I think the designers could have placed more clues that pointed us to the next steps. The storyline was not clear enough to lead us to the next step, and that would have been ok if their were a few more breadcrumbs that pointed us to the next step without expecting us to guess. When we knew the objective, we were able to easily solve the puzzle, but there were a few times we were supposed to just know the next step. I'm still not sure how we could have discovered them without an hint.