Date completed: April 2017 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 5.5; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 8
- Basic English or Portuguese
- 2-8 players
- Acute senses
How can we talk about the city of Porto without mentioning Port wine (‘vinho do Porto’)? Although produced and exported for longer than history remembers, Port wines started being labeled like that in the 1700s, in recognition and protection of Porto, and the Douro River region, as one of the main exporters of wine in the world at the time. We had the pleasure to try some of the local products, and they were simply fabulous.
It’s no wonder a escape venue would devise a plot involving the city’s most famous export. In Port Wine Sabotage, at Exit Games, the Douro River region was affected by a plague of insects and one fourth of all the wine stock was lost. There is a risk that all the production of the wineries will be damaged, ruining the lives of thousands of people. Your team plays private investigators entering the office of a suspect winery investor who may be linked to the disaster, and you have one hour to find out evidence against him.
The first room we explored was basically a small wine deposit. Bottles and barrels were the main items in the setting, and from the start we noticed some of those items would be important along the entire investigation.
The initial area also had a small corridor that lead to a bathroom. Yup, Exit Games has a bathroom inside the escape room, spacious and clean. We were informed that there would not be any clues inside the toilet – apparently many teams spent a lot of time searching there. In the early game, search and dexterity were the most important skills to allow us to venture into the investor’s office.
The office itself was a very large area, with lots of furniture pieces to be explored. Again, search was key so we had to find all necessary props to go on. There was creative use of space in this room, and sometimes important clues would be hidden in simple places, but those you never remember to look! The story developed as we advanced through the game, until we got a very good idea of what happened to the wine production. Nothing was especially complicated – it was an analogue room consisting of puzzles with locks, keys and safes which mostly fit the setting well. There was also basic assembly of devices. Trapspringer and I had to work together in the same puzzle many times, as a good amount of them would require different points of view to work. Be advised to play it in with a team that works well together!
Although set in large spaces, Port Wine Sabotage was a very linear game. We would recommend for 3-4 people groups for optimal flow. Our GM Cezar informed us that when groups larger than 5 book the room, they add extra puzzles into it, so they can keep every team member occupied.
According to Exit Games website, Port Wine Sabotage is the game they recommend for first-time escapees, and we agree with it. This is an overall well done game, without anything too fancy, but does escape room fundamentals well. We exited the room with 10 minutes to spare, and as the experience was quite nice, we went straight to Porto Exit Game’s hardest room, Lost Memories.
Out of the room
Service: Our gamemaster Cezar, who was fluent in English, welcomed us and gave a very clear briefing. He also made very good observations about games in Porto and gave recommendations of places to visit and eat.
Exit Games has toilets for players inside the room, and it was very clean – and no, none of its items are part of the game.
Communication: You can contact the gamemaster via walkie-talkie or you can also receive images (photos) as hints.
From there, it is also not hard to reach Vila Nova de Gaia, where all the famous wineries are located. Make sure to reserve time to visit at least one of them, as the wine tastings are excellent. The most popular are Calem and Sandeman, but they are also the busiest and you may have to book in advance. We made a relaxed wine tasting at Kopke, established in 1638, and loved it.
For another point of view for Port Wine Sabotage, check out the review at Escapemadness.