Porto, Nov 2017
Lost Memories was the second game we played at Porto Escape Game, and we were surprised to be ushered into the game without any briefing and without even depositing our belongings anywhere. That was because the briefing happened by video after we’d entered, complete with a requirement to place our phones in a safe and close it before receiving a code that would allow us to begin the game. It even has a bathroom within the game area for anyone caught short by the sudden start, though marked as off limits to exclude it from the actual game content.
The backstory is that we’re in the year 2147, in a dystopia where physical contact between humans is forbidden. However, this has precisely zero to do with the actual game except in the very loosest sense. Don’t expect a sci-fi set except for some funky lighting; it’s better described as an abstract themed game based around the concepts of sense and perception.
What it lacks in narrative though it makes up for in interesting, creative puzzles. They certainly cover all the senses (except taste, for which I’m grateful), and pack in an excellent selection of varied ideas, including quite a few that in another game would each rate as an interesting highlight.
I’d nitpick a couple of small details. One puzzle type that’s notorious among enthusiasts for its ambiguity was paired with a safe that had a lock-out mechanism, which is a poor choice when players may understand what to do but need multiple guesses through no fault of their own. There was an unexpected second use of an item, though it wasn’t particularly unreasonable so maybe that just grated since it caught me out. And a couple of times electronic items flickered out in their functioning, though in neither case were we much affected.
None of that really detracted from what was a creative game of distinctive puzzles. I particularly enjoyed the clever use of physical space for a mid-game section; and the whole showed the same reliably good puzzle design we’d seen in the previous game at the venue. I’d booked in hoping for a dystopian sci-fi story with a futuristic story, but while that’s not what I got, I liked what we found instead.