By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

As many times as I have visited Waikīkī, there are still many places that I have yet to discover and explore in the heavily tourist populated area. However, I got the opportunity on May 26 to look into a particular place that many people rave about: Breakout Waikīkī. Located in Kings Village Shopping Center on Ka‘iulani Ave., its doors open to several rooms that visitors can choose to enter which all result in the same objective of needing to escape the room within one hour.

As easy as it may sound to break out of a room, it is actually not as simple as it seems. After following several clues to attempt escaping from two rooms with my boyfriend, here are some of my thoughts from my experience.

The Escape Rooms:
Open from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily, Breakout Waikīkī offers visitors six rooms to choose from, three of which allow 2 to 8 players (Room 13, Mission Manoa, and Y2K) while the other three rooms allow 4 to 8 players (The Hatch, Ala Moana Stock Exchange, and Oceanside Casino). Each room has a theme and story behind it, leaving players only one hour to find clues and solve puzzles to determine the overall code that will open the locked door of their room. Without going into too much detail to prevent spoilers, each clue gives players a code that is used to crack more codes as the game progresses. Some clues can be quite simple, while other clues may need some time and thinking in order to understand them.

Rooms such as The Hatch and Ala Moana Stock Exchange have whiteboards next to their doors indicating the best break out times of the week and of all time. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

Each room has a success rate of less than 30%, the highest being 27% and the lowest being 15%, which makes it seem almost impossible to escape in time. After attempting to escape from Room 13 — the first room that we chose to escape out of — I realize now that there were many moments that my boyfriend and I had that could have been done differently to speed up the process of finding all the clues in a timely manner.

Austin, a Breakout Waikīkī employee, who also served as our room moderator, escorted us to our room and gave us a run through of how the room works. This was followed by a video tutorial that played on a television screen in the room, which went into more depth of the rules and details to be aware of. During this time, we could have easily taken a few seconds to slowly observe the room and come up with a plan of action; failing to do so can lead to lost time since players will have to assess their situation after the briefing, which is exactly what happened to us.

Regardless of what room(s) players choose to escape out of, all require being observant and having to think critically. It pays off to split up the work when it comes to decoding puzzles, depending on their difficulty. From the two rooms that we chose to play, there were some surprises that occurred after solving a handful of puzzles, but players should not overreact to these surprises since they will lose out on time. Time is everything for these rooms, and with each passing second, it only becomes more crucial to find and solve each clue fast.

Booking a Room:
If there is a specific room that players are looking to reserve for a certain day and time, I highly suggest that players book their room(s) about a week or two in advance to have more leeway. Some rooms and specific times can get requested quickly, leaving only a handful of slots left. We reserved Room 13 the day of, and luckily, were able to book it at a convenient time, but I would not suggest this course of action to anyone. If players found their first room to be an amazing experience and have enough time to play another room, they can check with the employees if any other rooms are available for the day, and if so, can get logged into the system as requested.

All players have their picture taken by a Breakout Waikīkī employee once they have either successfully escaped or failed to breakout their room. (Photo by Austin)

After deciding a room to escape from, players can only pay online or in person at the time of booking by card. According to Breakout Waikiki’s website, the rates vary for each person based on the group size and are as follows:

2 people = $40 per person/$80 Total
3 people = $38 per person/$114 Total
4 people = $36 per person/$144 Total
5 people = $34 per person/$170 Total
6 people = $32 per person/$192 Total
7 people = $30 per person/$210 Total
8 people = $28 per person/$224 Total

Based on these rates, it is best to have more people in the group to lower the cost per individual. Not only would this help to save money, but it will also help in the process of solving the puzzles; the more minds that are put together, the better.

The Workers:
Upon arrival and until we departed from Breakout Waikiki, we got the best experience and money’s worth from the most hospitable workers. The girl working behind the counter made check-in easy for us, and walked us through an electronic waiver that we needed to sign before entering our booked room. It was our room moderator, Austin, who made our experience enjoyable, building a connection with us within just the two hours we had stayed there. In the midst of working to escape our room, Austin was interactive with my boyfriend and I and kept us entertained through hilarious messages and clues to help us in finding codes.

Overall, our time spent at Breakout Waikīkī was worth it. After successfully escaping from Y2K with only 49 seconds left, we were given the option of purchasing Breakout Waikīkī t-shirts as winners. Whether players are able to escape their room(s) or not, it is the amount of fun that matters most in the end. Escaping rooms made me realize not only how much teamwork is required and critical thinking it involves, but so will all the face-palming moments that can occur after discovering that certain clues do not require overthinking and that the answers are point-blank and simple.

To book a room at Breakout Waikiki, click here.