Swamp Motel: Panic, The Experience | Review

Popular varsity athlete Noah Kaplan has gone missing from the town of Carp, Texas. You must crack codes and hack websites to figure out where he’s gone, why he’s vanished and why the cops are interested in strange graffiti that’s started to appear all over town. 

Is Noah in danger? Or is the worst yet to come? Work together to follow Noah’s online footsteps before the trail goes cold. Every second counts. Let the game begin. Let the panic set in.

Ratings

Theming: 3/5
Puzzles: 2/5
Online Interface: 5/5
Fun Factor: 4/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Overall:3.5/5

You may have seen Amazon Prime’s new offering, Panic, or at least watched the trailer and been intrigued to find out more. To help promote this new thriller series, Swamp Motel has created an immersive game throwing you into the world of Panic, available for a very limited run and totally FREE!

We love any opportunity to play an escape room so of course we were on this like a moth to a lightbulb- especially after having played the Swamp Motel trilogy in quick succession earlier this spring and loving the unique, atmospheric and creative digital games they had created. So we booked in to play straight away.

The Story

We know from previous offerings from Swamp Motel that storyline is key to their games, making the overall experience one that sticks with you more for the fun of the production than for the puzzles themselves (this is certainly not a bad thing in our opinions- Swamp Motel’s games are MEMORABLE because they’re so different).

So the story starts before you even join the game- the email providing the link to join your game is from Kelly, girlfriend of the missing Noah Kaplan, who is anxious to track down his whereabouts… Our job is to join their High School’s community crisis meeting to help out with trying to find out where Noah is and what has happened to him.

When we join the High School’s online platform, there are rumours flying about that Noah has been involved in the underground viral challenge Panic. Not wishing to tarnish the school’s reputation, the faculty do their best to quash this gossip. However, Panic is definitely the lead we need to take if we want to actually find Noah rather than just…talk about finding him.

This lead sends us off into the online underworld surrounding this challenge competition, finding out that OF COURSE Noah is involved in Panic and actually has been doing pretty well, up until he’s disappeared that is. It’s up to us to find out what’s gone down! Given that this is a competition, you can bet that his ranking and competitors are key clues to narrowing down his whereabouts… Who are Noah’s friends? Foes? Who should we trust?!

The Game

Rather than with some of your more traditional escape room games, think more along the lines of using the internet as your main tool for Swamp Motel’s game. As well as the High School platform, which acts as your means of communication with teammates (and Kelly who is EAGERLY awaiting news of her boyf), the world wide web is your oyster! Lots of the puzzling relies on sourcing out the right information from social media and other websites and using this to decrypt passwords and hack into online databases- virtual ‘trespassing’ is required to reach the information on Noah’s most recent location. Well how do you expect us to track down a missing person without knowing what the police know?! 

We enjoyed the fun of this, and while we generally knew where we needed to look to find the target info, we did sometimes go off on a tangent, enjoying the fun incidental info that makes up a Gen Z high school teen’s social media channels (although it did make us at the sprightly age of 26 feel OLLLDDD!!)

The game culminates with an exciting final sequence and the BIG REVEAL SHOCK TWIST… which we did kind of see coming, but didn’t take away from the excitement. It definitely had the PLL/Gossip Girl/ teen mystery drama vibes which we do always enjoy!

Some high praise indeed for our efforts… to be fair we think being a Panic judge would be more fun than being a participant after seeing what happened to Noah…

Overall

Panic, the experience was a great online experience, much like the previous offerings from Swamp Motel! We had a great time and enjoyed the regular ‘interaction’ with Kelly, which kept the story moving forward and nudged us towards the next stage of our info-gathering mission. As a free game, this had very high production values and had plenty to it, making for a fun evening!

Of course, as a promotional game, a trailer for Amazon Prime’s Panic plays upon completion, and while the series focuses on different characters than who we came to know in the game, it looks like it has the same intensity and excitement we enjoyed from the game. We haven’t yet given the show a go but the trailer did look very much like something that would be up our street, so it has been added to our ever-expanding watchlist for us to binge at some point! 

Not sure how rats were decided as our fear…but look out for us, we’re shady as hell!!! In case you couldn’t tell, we did NOT know a pic was being taken or we would’ve smiled haha!

Panic was available to play for free for a limited time from 2nd-13th June from Swamp Motel

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