Online thriller ‘Isklander’ is part interactive movie, part puzzle game and part scavenger hunt immersive escape room

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Online thriller ‘Isklander’ is part interactive movie, part puzzle game and part scavenger hunt immersive escape room

Photo by Matt Hass

Blurring the lines between theatre, film and gaming, this is something you and your mates can play along together from your respective homes.

Praised by The Guardian and New York Times, this site-specific online thriller from the multi-award-winning entertainment company, Swamp Motel, boldly reimagines the at-home-adventure experience for those who have grown tired of Netflix and badly-run Tuesday night trivia, and with Geelong currently in its eighth lockdown, who hasn’t?!

Inspired by the way people are consuming entertainment in their homes, Swamp Motel developed a new three-part online project that turns a night at home — or three — into a sleuthing experience. Named Isklander, the series features Plymouth Point, The Mermaid’s Tongue and The Kindling Hour – intuitively blending theatre, film, and gaming to create a very real (and very rare) shared live experience, no matter where you are.

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This is home entertainment like you’ve never experienced. Interactive and episodic, Isklander seamlessly blurs fiction and reality, harnessing the internet as a platform for site-specific sleuthing, whilst combining the artistry of live immersive theatre with the thrill of an escape room. It’s a new form and frontier for gaming interactivity.

Designed to be played in groups (which can be done from players respective homes), this series takes participation to the next level, where audiences are turned into live protagonists, who must hack into emails, scrutinise social media posts, make phone calls, and inspect websites on a quest to unravel conspiracies lurking just under our noses.

Part puzzle game, part interactive movie, and part scavenger hunt, teams of up to six are 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 an organic, real-time event with a ticking clock.

This series has proven such a hit in the UK and US that it has been optioned by Gaumont UK, the studio behind Lupin and Narcos, to be turned into a TV show.

“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,” says Swamp Motel co-founder Ollie Jones.

“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. Fact and fiction become eerily intertwined in this one-of-a-kind experience and we can’t wait for Australian and New Zealand audiences to experience it.”

Check out the trailer below:

Isklander is available in its playable digital format in Australia and New Zealand now.