Online Escape Room Experience Isklander Launches in Australia

Mysterious lady in dramatic lightingHands up if you have also grown tired of Netflix and badly-run Tuesday night Zoom trivia during lockdown? We have just the group activity for you!

Reimagining the escape room and choose your own adventure stories of your childhood, Isklander is a digital at-home-adventure experience featuring high production value videos, actors and a mystery that will have you scouring the Internet for clues with a team of friends.

screenshot of the islander online experience

Ivy Isklander has gone missing! As new members of the Plymouth Point Resident’s watch, it’s up to you to find this young woman. Enter a world of corporate deceit, occult horrors, and shadowy cabals as you put your sleuthing skills to the test. Search the internet for clues, solve puzzles, and crack codes to unravel the mystery of Ivy’s disappearance. Can you find Ivy Isklander?

Arriving at a moment when Australia’s two largest cities are in hard-lockdowns, the three-part series – which features Plymouth Point, The Mermaid’s Tongue and The Kindling Hour – blend theatre, film, and gaming to create a shared live experience harnessing the internet, no matter where you are.

The game can include up to six players, so five of my fellow Plus Ones writers from across Australia turned into the game on a cold Wednesday night to see if we could solve the case. During the 90 minute game we were encouraged by an actor to hack into emails, scrutinise social media posts, make phone calls, and inspect websites on a quest to unravel a deep conspiracy.

Part puzzle game, part interactive movie, and part scavenger hunt, my team were tasked with solving a cryptic mystery – navigating a mix of live-action performances, newsreel footage, and fourth-wall breaking research – to investigate missing persons, murders, and clandestine conspiracies. Directed live by an in-character aid, each episode is a real-time event with a ticking clock that makes it all the more exciting.

Created in only six weeks as a response to the closures of entertainment and theatre spaces across the world (because of you know what), the series has since evolved to be quite cinematic in scope, with impressive production values and high-profile actors such as Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, Lost), leading to the film and TV rights being optioned by Gaumont UK – the studio behind cult shows Lupin and Narcos.

Swamp Motel co-founder Ollie Jones said: “Swamp Motel’s background came from immersive theatre, and what we really love is putting audiences at the centre of the story, plus we’re all gamers at heart, so we wanted to make something that combined these two passions. With Isklander we created something that not only blurs the line between gaming and theatre, but also fantasy and reality. Isklander is a living, breathing video game, full of live operators, pre-recorded content, and plenty of player interaction.”

CCTV footage in game

The producers of Isklander, Swamp Motel, have created entertainment that blurs boundaries between theatre, film and gaming. By giving our team a pivotal role within story, we were kept hooked to the puzzle right up to the end. While we were given 90 minutes to solve the first episode of this mystery, our team managed to beat the clock with 20 minutes spare.

The puzzles and challengers were all difficult enough to feel satisfying when we solved them, yet not so obscure that we felt lost in the (digital) woods. Our live assistance kept us on the right path whenever it looked like we were going too far off target. We particularly enjoyed being able to see and hear our team mates throughout the experience, and how many ways we had to go about solving these puzzles, such as making phone calls, uncovering email passwords and scouring social media for clues.

Isklander episodes 1-3 are available online now. Gather your favourite plus ones and get ready for a truly unique experience.

– The Plus Ones

Isklander is available in Australia now. Book your team in here.
The game is accessible with closed captions, audio and team webcam features.

Photo Credit: Supplied.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Common State.