“Whoever you want to be, whatever you want to do – and whatever you want to find out, that’s up to you” – Phantom Peak
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the “World’s First Fully-Immersive Open World Adventure,” and let me tell you – It is like nothing you have ever experienced. You are visiting the town of Phantom Peak as a tourist, being welcomed by the townspeople as they celebrate the founder of the town, Jonas, a mysterious man who is mentioned throughout the experience. From what I have learned in researching the venue, Phantom Peak goes through seasons, with the current season being a major overhaul. Past seasons have included Hallowed Peak and Wintermas, but this season features one of my favourite animals in the world – Platypuses! The town is playing host to the Platypus Parade and you are invited to help ensure that everything runs smoothly. Each character has a role within the town along with a rank and they all mingle with one another, being involved in a range of adventures throughout the town while still having a “home base” location they can typically be found in.
The way Phantom Peak’s adventures work is quite simple – You use your phone to operate Jonassist, a website that will ask you questions in order to determine which quest is the right fit for you. Using prompts from Jonassist, you travel around the town, interacting with characters, set pieces, and even secret locations in order to solve mysteries! I was only able to complete three of the missions, but to be quite honest, you can still have a great time at Phantom Peak without running around trying to complete as many tasks as possible.
As a self-proclaimed nerd who absolutely adores both immersive experiences and puzzles, I was having the time of my life interacting with the town and townspeople, asking them questions about their lives and trying to understand JONACO and its founder, Jonas. But, as one might expect knowing me, my curiosity ended up leading to a bit of chaos on my journey. There was a moment I had with Littlefield, the Postal Officer, in which I put too much thought into what turned out to be a simple clue, which led to a solid few minutes of the two of us cracking up at how I was overlooking an answer that was quite literally stamped on the paper. And, at one point, by accidentally saying some specific words to one character, I was put on a mission without Jonassist guiding me, leading to me trying to decipher a coded letter with zero context. I ended up befriending one of the townspeople who ended up joining me on my quest to figure out what was going on in what was probably the highlight of my night (it turns out I had accidentally been involved in three separate missions at once, which was quite amusing to explain to the different characters!). Truly anything can happen in Phantom Peak!
Even after the buildings had been closed and the closing ceremony had been completed, the actors remained in character, joining in the dance party or engaging in conversation. I ended up having a hilarious yet incredibly passionate conversation (actually, more of a debate) with Spectre, a Paranormal Detective Agent, and Cogwright, the Jonagraph Operator, about the existence of ghosts, which ended up drawing over more of the performers and led to a stand-off!
Not as interested in running around the town solving puzzles and mysteries? Don’t worry, there are plenty of places in Phantom Peak to take some time to sit and relax. The Thirsty Frontier Saloon has a large array of drinks and there are several different bars and food stalls spread out across both the old and new parts of the town.
Of all aspects of Phantom Peak, there is only one thing that I wish could be included more – Platypuses! There is a Platypus World, but some strange things are afoot there . . . Luckily, there are plenty of platypuses to choose from in the Platypus Adption Centre so you can take one home. I ended up getting an dorable little orange one named Gerald and was given an official adoption certificate from Pax, who worked at the centre (and also played an interesting role on one of my quests).
Ultimately, Phantom Peak is a fantastic and truly immersive experience that will leave you wanting to go back day after day to learn more about the strange little town and its inhabitants. Whether you want to challenge yourself to solve as many mysteries as possible or simply want to wander around with friends, there is something for everyone within this experience. I quite honestly could have spent an entire day (or even more!) exploring Phantom Peak and seeing all of the different things the strange town has to offer. The actors make you feel like you are a part of their world, not just an observer, but an active participant in the town’s unusual activities. I already have my tickets to return and cannot wait for my second Platypus Parade!
Phantom Peak is located at Canada Street on Surrey Quays Road (the nearest Tube Station is Canada Water). Each performance has a duration between 4 and 4 ½ hours. The experience currently has tickets available through June. Tickets start at £34.99 for adults and £24.99 for juniors and can be purchased here.