Review: The Kindling Hour, Swamp Motel
5.0Overall Score

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Over the past year, Swamp Motel has been able to make a name for itself as an acclaimed immersive theatre and escape game company. Following their success with their previous games, Plymouth Point and The Mermaid’s Tongue, they once more invite us along on a thrilling and exciting adventure in The Kindling Hour.

The Kindling Hour, Swamp Motel’s third online immersive experience, picks up where The Mermaid’s Tongue left off. A thorough but quite fast summary of everything that has happened so far in the previous games brings the players up to date. The Mermaid’s Tongue was an ancient, powerful relict that we managed to find with the help of Katherine Stewart and Ivy Isklander (Bathsheba Piepe). Just as we were close to retrieving it, it was stolen.

In The Kindling Hour we set out on a mission to recover the Mermaid’s Tongue and finally use it for what it was intended for: stop the world from falling into total chaos at the kindling hour. It is us and our undercover allies against the Stone Consortium (Dino Fetscher) who are also on the hunt for the Mermaid’s Tongue but with an entirely different ambition.

Swamp Motel’s escape games are brilliantly thought through, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that their latest one once again sends you on a thrilling multi-level mission to save the world. The immersive experience engages a wide range of medias – from telephone conversations, picture hunts on Instagram and old-fashioned deciphering of code. It takes a lot of clever and quick thinking to solve, and a clear head to manoeuvre from one task to the next. Whether it is hacking a database or establishing contact with your allies in hiding, The Kindling Hour asks for proactive problem-solving.

However, it appears very easy to get lost in the mind and matter of Swamp Motel’s latest game. Offering access to countless pages of detailed material such as police reports or websites, one can easily lose track of the overarching mission. In those moments, our friend Ivy Isklander (who is able to see and hear you while you play the game), does not hesitate to help the players out and bring them back on the right track.

And once you are back on track and getting closer and closer to the Mermaid’s Tongue in order the prevent the kindling hour, the immersive experience draws you in like no other. Blurring the lines between escape game, immersive theatre, cinema and an Arthur Conan Doyle adventure, The Kindling Hour is nothing less than an innovative quest that offers you the opportunity to feel like a real detective saving the lives of your friends and possibly even the whole world (or at least London).

The Kindling Hour can be played with up to six players. The video-chat option is conveniently built into the system of the game. It is wonderfully challenging and engaging entertainment and the perfect multi-platform escape game to play with family and friends. However, it should be recommended to play Plymouth Point and The Mermaid’s Tongue before diving into the last game of the trilogy.

The Kindling Hours is playing online until 30 May 2021. For more information and tickets visit The Kindling Hour online.