Porto Exit Games: Lost Memories [Review]

exit_whiteLocation: Porto Exit Games, near the Old City, Porto, Portugal 

Date completed:  April 2017 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 8; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 8.5

Requirements:

  • 2-5 players
  • Acute senses
  • Full mobility

The year is 2147. In the (hopefully) fictional scenario created by Exit Games, any physical contact between humans is prohibited and life is more virtual than real. Leisure, tourism and cultural activities are also prohibited. But there is no online relief either: the internet is controlled by the governments and all information dating before 2028 is unknown by present generations.

You and your friends are trying to find out about secret organizations that still maintain ancient knowledge from times when people could enjoy themselves – and maybe join them. One of their hubs is said to be located in the city of Porto. Can you enter their hideout and not have your brain fried by all the colourful, blinking information about the past?

Lost Memories begins with an audio introduction and players must lock their belongings in the little safe inside the room. From there, players will first engage in sensory challenges and although we are usually good with these types of puzzles, one specific item generated a lot of laughs and funny dialogue between us and our gamemaster Cezar (i.e. “I don’t think koalas smell like dead fish.”).

lost-memoriesThe main areas of Lost Memories were somewhat surreal and it was very much a puzzle room in which many of the puzzle elements were obviously a part of the game. However, their relationships were not that evident and required a bit of investigation. The sensory aspect of puzzle design continued to be a strong point throughout the game and interaction with the in-game props and elements frequently yielded very visible results.

There were plenty of white structures, furniture, objects and shapes that eventually turned into something colourful or a different prop. Some of the puzzles  required observation combined with physical interaction of unexpected items. Porto Exit Games was very successful in giving many traditional escape room puzzles a completely different look, making them surprisingly satisfying to solve. Although mostly Lost Memories was mostly linear, there were moments when we could split up to tackle different tasks at the same time.

People who never leave their mobile phones behind (maybe only to play escape rooms) might also have fun in this room, which mixes digital and analogue technology well. There were interesting uses for gadgets and apps, which were used in conjunction with situational awareness and sensory skills – man and machine working together, which suits the game’s story. Being so heavy in sensory stimulus, we do recommend that teams have at least one player with good eyesight (not colour blind) and hearing, and that all players be aware that they may be required to handle, look and experiment with props in different ways.

Lost Memories contained a lot of puzzles: we counted more than 18. It required lots of walking back and forth between the explorable areas and full mobility will be necessary. There were moments that we had to help each other and work together in different parts of the same puzzle to advance in the game, so prepare for teamwork. Due to the huge amount of puzzles, mostly located in the same space, players will have to be very organized to not mix or lose pieces.

Although we believed the atmosphere of the room was not its strongest point, Lost Memories was very fun, very creative and very challenging. It was one of the hardest rooms we came across during our trip to Porto. Individually, the puzzles were not so complicated, but the futuristic look of the room plus the amount of things to solve made the game slightly on the difficult side.

We escaped Lost Memories with 4 minutes left on the clock and had a very nice chat about with our gamemaster, Cezar, who gave us a full debrief and also told us how some neighboring shops helped develop this game. We had a very good time both with Lost Memories and Porto Exit Games’ entry level game, Port Wine Sabotage. We didn’t get to try their third room The Sacrifice, but we heard plenty of (desperate) screams coming from another team going through it while we were chatting away with Cezar between games in the waiting area. It sure sounded horrifying for whoever was going through it at the time. Maybe we’ll get to play it if we are lucky enough to visit Porto again in the future.

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 also places to visit and eat.

Exit Games has toilets for players inside the room, and they were very clean – and no, none of its items is part of the game.

Communication: You can contact the GM via walkie-talkie or you can also receive images (photos) as hints.

Surroundings: Exit Games is close to the night club galleries in Porto, and to the bar Ancora de Ouro, also known as ‘Piolho’, famous for its Francesinha – the Portuguese version of a croque madam. It is a signature dish of Porto, with seven different cuts of meat wrapped in cheese and sauce.

Porto Exit Games is very close to Lello Bookshop, opened in 1881, famous for its striking architecture mixing art nouveau and art deco. More recently, it is also said the place inspired J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter. The lines to visit the place can be huge and the shop is quite small, but it if you have the time and enjoy books, it is an interesting place.

For another point of view for Lost Memories, check out the review at Escapemadness.

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