88 Thoughts We Had While Trying Honolulu’s Newest Escape Room

We attempted to make it out of Chambers Escape Games’ Temple in Kaka‘ako in less than an hour. Check out every little thought we had during the experience.


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Photo: Courtesy of Chambers Escape Games



Chambers Escape Games opened in Kaka‘ako in early 2019, offering two experiences: a live-action escape from The Temple, and virtual reality escape games.


Most of our team had never attempted an escape room before so we went in October 2019, we started with The Temple, which the staff calls a third-generation escape game because it includes layers that go beyond the typical combination locks. Escaping The Temple involves more puzzle-solving, more rooms, more tasks and more surprises that add to the fun.


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We were invited to check it out for free, so we sent treasure hunters Robbie Dingeman, Katie Kenny, Christine Labrador, Stacey Makiya, Jayna Omaye, Shelley Shiroma and Katrina Valcourt into The Temple (we went as a group of seven but with the current health and safety precautions, only five people are allowed per group). We had 60 minutes to find the pharaoh’s idol and make it out with our lives. Here are 88 thoughts we had while trying to escape:


Tomb Raiders

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Jayna Omaye: First escape room ever. LET’S. DO. THIS.


Katrina Valcourt: I’ve tried and failed two other escape rooms—third time is gonna be the charm.


Shelley Shiroma: I’m not great at putting clues together … Why am I here?!?


Robbie Dingeman: Hey, we’re all women, this will be like a Nancy Drew adventure, the scrappy versions, not the lame preppy ones.


Katie Kenny: Everyone is nervously smiling at the people who work here and all I can think about is how I wish I was dressed like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider (Angelina Jolie’s outfits but with Alicia Vikander’s arms).


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Stacey Makiya: I’m hearing screams coming from the next room and I. AM. NOT. OK.


KV: Why are the people inside screaming? Is this supposed to be scary? Even better.


KK: I didn’t sign up for fright night. What are those screams? I barely made it out of the Haunted Plantation without wetting myself (that’s a lie: I’m pretty sure I wet myself). I thought this was going to be Indiana Jones-esque not Evil Dead.


JO: Owner says he hopes we’re not afraid of the dark … This better not be like an episode of Andy goes to the haunted house on the Ellen Show.


KK: I love being scared but I hate being scared … When was the last time I went to the restroom?


SM: Our guide is so sweet, but I’m keeping an eye on her. She’s a little too nice.


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The Temple of Doom

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Christine Labrador: Who’s walking in first? Thanks, Katie!


KK: Where them puzzles at? Lemme at ’em! I’ve got Lara Croft Energy today. Remember my ax throwing energy? That. Was. Nothing.


JO: Katrina asks me if I’m competitive. Well, what’s the prize??


SM: Here we goooooo! What the (beep!)?! It’s a dark confined space with sand. Oh, that’s a relief, they gave us a shitty lantern that only young eyeballs can see with.


SS: Why are these rooms so dark? I can barely see on a day-to-day basis.


RD: We’re walking into complete darkness. And there’s sand and something spooky in the corner. Maybe I should have stayed at the office to finish writing that web story.


KK: Random thought: Does Robbie owe me a web story?


CL: There’s sand! In my slippahs! I’ll shuffle in the sand toward the dim light and huddle together.


KV: These puzzles are pretty elaborate but at the same time they’re not too difficult. I think we’ll actually escape this time.


SM: Maps. And clues. And riddles. What does this all mean? And why did we come at the end of a work day? My brain is as dead as that skeleton in the corner.


RD: Wait, there’s math and chess! I was thinking more Da Vinci Code/Law and Order/Game of Clue.


KV: I KNOW HOW TO GET THE CODE! Everybody move, I’m pretty sure I can crack this and get into the case.


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KK: [Taking a minute to reflect while Katrina managing-editors us] Oh my word everything is Ancient Egyptian. When I was 7 years old I wanted to be an archaeologist because we studied Ancient Egyptians at school. I dreamed of spending my days digging up cool artifacts from that time period. Now I’m in a dusty room with Katrina speed reading clues, Christine and Shelley moving figurines around a table, Robbie standing ready by a chess board, Jayna clearly plotting who will be sacrificed first if the time comes, and Stacey simply scream-laughing by a life-size standing creepy coffin.


CL: Yay! First clue solved and an unlocked box! Thanks, Robbie, Katrina and Katie?! I didn’t see.


SM: Robbie and Christine are so calm. I keep screaming. Katie and Katrina have their tomb raider faces on. If there are cameras in here, they’re in for a good show.


RD: I should have tried harder to learn chess from my brother.


KK: I’m with Robbie: There’s something more to this chess set …


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SS: I’m just gonna chill in the back with Jayna. Katrina, Katie and Robbie got this.


KV: Wait … these symbols don’t match the code. I figured it out, but it must be for something else. I’m sorry I yelled at Stacey to back off. I get competitive.


JO: These puzzles are very confusing. I wish I had paid more attention in high school geometry class.


SS: Oooh, look, a gem!


CL: What’s in each pouch? Uncooked rice? Dried beans? In this case, it’s not what’s on the inside that counts.


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KK: For some reason I feel like I must now gather everything found so I can pull out the necessary clue or key when Katrina shouts a direction at us. They gave us a cute leather satchel, which I OF COURSE grabbed. I want the adventure accessories!


RD: I’m going to stick by Stacey because she’ll make me laugh and drown out any other screams.


KV: I have no idea what this puzzle means. I’m just gonna look for something else to solve and hope someone else gets this one.


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CL: That font looks pretty hard to read in this light.


SS: Hmmm … it’s taking my team a while to unlock these boxes. I’m gonna pretend we’re trapped in the temple and say funny stuff into Katie’s phone recording.


SM: I don’t think I helped with the first clue at all. I was busy laughing at Shelley and Jayna pretending to leave an audio log for the search party that finds us. They had a lot of faith that we would get out.


KK: Where’s my phone?


CL: The clue matches! There’s gotta be more. What’s it spell? Where does it go?




CL: Let’s put these in order, but what order? Small to big fish? There are no fish! Dun dun dun.


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KK: Check out Shelley “Dark Horse” Shiroma!


CL: Shelley was so right about the food chain! Nice, girl, nice!


SM: Whack! Another clue drops and scares the shit out of me. I may need to check my pants.


CL: A secret hatch?! I like that.


RD: When that first lock opened, that felt so good.


CL: Woah! Katie’s foot just escaped the secret hatch that hit the floor!


KK: Blast my big feet! This room is TOO tight for tall-ies with this many people. No one’s claustrophobic, right? Probably should have asked that earlier. Is that why Stacey keeps screaming? Where is she?


SM: Another dark room. My favorite. Crap! What is that?!! Oh, it’s our guide wearing a white dress creepin’ in the corner. I want to slap her, but she apologizes and is being sweet again.



What’s Behind Door No. 2?

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RD: They said this was an escape room. Room, singular, but now: plural. There are rooms, dark scary places with lots of mysterious things to figure out. OK, maybe they did hint at some of this.


CL: Another clue, same font. Shouldn’t read it in this light.


KK: This room is definitely more mysterious. Bad vibes.


SM: Christine and I are onto something. Oh wait, Katrina is yelling. Maybe we’re wrong; the lock isn’t opening. Nope. We were right. We just couldn’t see the numbers correctly with our trusty lamp.


CL: Stacey and I are onto something for this next clue, or not (temporarily). With a nudge from our guide in the dark corner plus the perfect angle of light from the faux candlelight lantern, our numbers unlock the next box!


KV: Being the timekeeper is stressing me out. I know we’re halfway through timewise, but how close are we to the end? I don’t want to waste our clues!


KK: Symbols on the walls or cobwebs? Am I helping?


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RD: Last time we did an escape room was both fun and frustrating. This has a much more Zen feeling, nobody’s freaking out or shouting. We got this! [Editor’s note: everyone was shouting.]


KV: This is good team building. There needs to be three people working together for just this one puzzle. I hope I’m giving Shelley the right instructions.


CL: Cool, we get to build something! A smaller group on each side and we got it done quick! Only after Stacey and Jayna change out the two pieces I picked that made a side … the wrong side. Oops!


KK: YAY! We’re all in on this task together! This is a powerful moment of women supporting women.



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SM: We used our brains and brawns and built a pyramid! We’re 100% those bitches that get it done!! Best moment for me. True teamwork.



The Final Boss

Photo: Courtesy of Chambers Escape Games urn

Photo: Courtesy of Chambers Escape Games



JO: I don’t want to stick my hand in the weird dark box thing. But if I did, I’d totally pull a Nicolas Cage/Ben Gates move from National Treasure 3. (Seriously, is anyone getting my show and game references??)


KV: Everyone needs to stop being so chicken and stick their arm in the hole. I’d do it but I don’t want all the glory. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


KK: Ewww, no. What if there’s something slimy in there? I have a thing with weird textures.


SS: Let me just stick my whole arm into this hole. Nothing bad should happen … right?


CL: Shelley is fearless sticking her arm in there!


SS: AAAHHHHH!!! MY ARM!! Just kidding, I’m OK (:


SM: Sorry Shelley! I pushed your hand in the hole of death. Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?


CL: Gems in, WE OUT!



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JO: Lady tells us to run for our lives. Cue “Temple Run” flashbacks. (It’s a video game where this guy is literally sprinting through a temple. You’re welcome.)


KV: Is that it? Did we get it? RUN!



The Great Escape

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KK: Forget that women supporting women crap: SAVE YOURSELVES! Stacey is leaving every woman behind with that sprint and Katrina is … oh, she gone.




SM: We’re done? What?! The temple is crumbling down. Runnnnnnn. Sorry to anyone I pushed out of the way. My team spirit ends when death is on our asses.


JO: Stacey is screaming so loud in my right ear to RUN AWAY. But, like, are we even going the right way? Katrina’s too fast with her long legs.


RD: Will the door slam and a boulder come rolling at us?


SS: I just felt like all the doors were going to close on us if we didn’t run out fast enough.


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Fools Gold

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Photo: Courtesy of Chambers Escape Games



RD: Hey, how did everybody get out of that room so fast?


KK: Sweetheart Robbie clearly didn’t get the memo that we’re all selfish people who trampled one another to get out of a FAKE tomb.


JO: Oh, we’re done already?! I almost thought we weren’t gonna make it.


SS: LOL friendship and holding hands got us out of this place.


RD: We did it!! And with minutes to spare!


CL: SOOO MUCH FUN with these awesome ladies!


KK: Stacey keeps trying to hug me but I’m worried I wet myself when I was worried if we wouldn’t get out in time. BACK AWAY, STACEY.


SM: Hugs and high-fives to my all-women team, including our guide who might’ve given us little hints so that our doomed adventure was actually a fun escape—from work.



Chambers Escape Rooms, 550 Halekauwila St., Unit #201, $25–$42 per person, (808) 215-9170, chambershawaii.com. Check the website for the current opening hours.