Paige FTW: A New Kind Of Escape Room
Chambers Escape Rooms in Kakaʻako boasts that it hosts the only third-generation escape room on the island. Owner Ron Bronstein invited me to come try his masterpiece for myself, so I gathered a team (my Dungeons & Dragons party) and headed over.
Bronstein describes his experience as cinematic, a notable upgrade from the highly code-oriented nature of other escape rooms, where players follow a similar formula of ransacking the room for clues, cracking a variety of codes, and unlocking a series of locks to get to the “final” puzzle.
Instead, his focus is on immersion.
“The Temple,” Chambers’ only live-action escape room (his other offerings are VR based), puts players in the role of tomb raiders a la Lara Croft. You have one hour to get the treasure and get out.
I don’t want to spoil much, but “realism” is definitely a strong suit. You’re in a tomb — and it feels like a tomb, with sand on the floors and lanterns as your primary light source.
The puzzles are definitely more than code breaking. Many of the challenges are distinctly tactile, requiring physical dexterity in addition to mental acuity. You’ll unlock a few locks, sure, but how you acquire the keys are very different than a traditional escape room. My team was particularly impressed with a spatial puzzle that required three people to solve.
If Chambers were to have a weakness, I’d say there was a bit of immersion breaking when your guide pops up in the midst of your treasure hunting to offer clues or trigger doors for you. (Occasionally, she startled us when she materialized in doorways.) It’s a very minor quibble, which speaks to the strength of our experience.
I’ve always been fond of escape rooms — a real-life Zelda dungeon, as it were, without the combat — and Chambers definitely has pushed the envelope as to what is possible. I recommend giving it a try (and I await their next offering).
Chambers Escape Games is located at 550 Halekauwila St. #201. Visit chambershawaii.com to book an experience.