80 DAYS: A REAL WORLD ADVENTURE | London, Underbelly Festival Southbank

Feel like running around Victoria Embankment and the Southbank for eighty minutes, looking for little clues on the walls and typing them into a website on your phone, in order to collect points? Feel like talking to some young actors wearing steampunk goggles? Then Fire Hazard’s latest immersive adventure is for you.

The most impressive thing about this treasure hunt against the clock is the sheer number of choices you can make, all of which shape your experience. There are dozens of little individual challenges, all of which are worth different amounts of points, and there is really only time to do a few of them, so you have to read what’s on your phone carefully, and pick wisely.

The website displays team rankings throughout (one person can play as a team; most people play in pairs). However, this is not the end of the story: on returning to the Southbank, having collected items and points throughout, players then take out their phones again and play a “choose your own adventure” style story on the website, deploying collected items as you go. These final choices can shake up the leaderboard quite a bit, and the winning team gets a little chocolatey reward.

This isn’t a “puzzle” game so much as a scavenger hunt; The Crystal Maze it is not. Despite some attempt at costume and characterisation by the cast, the links to Jules Verne’s 1873 novel are few and far between. But for anyone with a generous data bundle on their smartphone, along with plenty of energy to run around, and confidence to jabber away to the actors, Fire Hazard offer a fun and unusual experience.

Playing until 29 September 2019.

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