As we move into the second season of the horror boxset that is Covid-19, the long-awaited full return to live events seems an ever more distant prospect. Thank God then for the countless creatives who are ignoring the Government’s exhortation to “rethink, reskill, reboot” and, instead, are developing innovative and imaginative ways to while away the hours at home.
With The Mermaid’s Tongue, the immersive entertainment company Swamp Motel successfully transfer the puzzle-solving team dynamics of an escape room to an online environment.
Cyberstitious players may baulk at the requirement to enable remote control of their laptop / pc camera and to provide a phone number, but others will be glad they did. In teams of up to six, you log on – to find yourselves in a life-drawing class where things begin to get strange very quickly as a mission is entrusted to you from beyond the grave.
Suffice to say that there are clues to discover, red herrings to avoid and messages to decode, only one of which falls below the expectations of complexity traditionally associated with this kind of thing. But, with that one exception, Swamp Motel get the balance just about right: an 80-minute journey in and out of multiple websites until eventually, if you’ve worked everything out, you reach a place – a very precise place – where, well, where something is located. It would be foolish to reveal exactly what that something is and why it matters or even to say too much about any of the twists and turns by which you get there.
Help is available should you need it – as we did to get going – but within a few clicks you’re starting to think like the developer and the duel of wits feels fair. You’ll need to pay attention – especially in the videoed sections where the sound is sometimes not all it should be – but the 80 minutes fly by and you can be pretty sure that you will get to the end in one piece unlike… but that would be telling…
A highly recommended and at times thrilling ride through the internet.
Review by Louis Mazzini
Your help is needed to track down an ancient lost artefact.
Thrown into a murky underworld, you’ll have to hack into CCTV, outbid a high-end art dealer, and decipher messages from beyond the grave.
Join your family and friends online as you take on the hour-long challenge to solve the mystery.
But what is the Mermaid’s Tongue? And who are the dark forces who will stop at nothing to beat you to it?
Let the hunt begin…