Imagine waking up one morning with a trail of dirt leading up to your bed and no recollection of what happened the previous night. Were you sleepwalking? Were you at a crazy party? Or were you possessed by a sinister entity along with most of the people in your town? For the protagonists of The Blackout Club, the answer is the third option.
The game takes place in Redacre, a small town suburb plagued by all sorts of strange occurrences. Many of the town’s residents wander around at night as if guided by a supernatural force. Most of Redacre’s adults don’t seem too bothered by these episodes or maybe they’re just trying to hide something. But what? Well, that’s exactly what you’re trying to find out.Video Source: YouTube/Question
Off to a Promising Start
The game starts you off as a teenager trying to investigate the disappearance of one of your friends. You are part of the titular Blackout Club, a group of teenagers who seem less affected by the recent happenings and intent on getting to the bottom of whatever is happening in Redacre.
Your character claims to have evidence that can help solve the mystery. But, of course, getting it to the right people is not that simple. Although you have a smartphone, you can’t communicate with the outside world from within Redacre as the town sits inside an area known as the National Radion Quiet Zone. To make matters worse, you’re home alone grounded and someone or something just entered the house.
The prologue offers a nice introduction to what this game is all about, but isn’t quite representative of the product as a whole. The first mission is pretty intense as all you have to rely on are your wits, a smartphone, and a voice in your head that seems to be there to help you, but you can’t really be sure. However, once you’re done with the prologue you’ll quickly learn that The Blackout Club is very much a multiplayer-focused experience.
The Blackout Club Features Some Pretty Interesting Enemies
The core gameplay revolves around teaming up with up to three other people in order to investigate the town. Missions only take place at night when Redacre’s adults, possessed by supernatural entities, are forced to wander the streets while technically still asleep. These ‘Sleepers’ are blind but hear very well and are the opposite of ‘Lucids’, another type of enemies that can see but are deaf.
Avoiding Sleepers and Lucids is crucial while investigating as players can’t permanently eliminate enemies in this game under normal circumstances. You can disable them, however, any hostile action towards Redacre’s residents will incur a sin. Sins are also committed when trespassing, kicking in doors or simply being seen/heard by enemies. Accumulating enough sins will eventually cause a new type of enemy to spawn called The Shape.
The Shape is a very interesting opponent that gets dispatched only when Sleepers and Lucids seem unable to suppress The Blackout Club by themselves. Unlike other enemies, this one can’t really be fought so the only option is to run away and try to hide from it. That’s a bit harder than it sounds, though, because The Shape is invisible and can turn you into a sleepwalker if it catches you. The only way to see The Shape is by closing your eyes, though it’s not a good idea to run around blind for too long because you can easily bump into one of the other enemies by doing so.
A Mixed Bag of Toys and Gadgets
You’ll mostly want to rely on stealth during missions but if push comes to shove, you do have some combat options at your disposal. One of them is literally just shoving enemies away if they grab you and making a run for it. You can also sneak behind enemies to grab them yourself and pin them down, which will temporarily incapacitate them.
Each player starts off with one of three different tools. Namely, a stun gun, a grappling hook or a crossbow that shoots tranquilizing darts. In addition, you can acquire a few other useful items in the filed like flashbangs, foam grenades, lockpicks, and more. There’s a bit of a strange disconnect between these items as some seem more suitable to a military shooter than a game where teenagers are forced to improvise makeshift weaponry out of mundane objects.
Members of The Blackout Club can also gain access to special powers that come in two forms – major and minor. Major powers allow you to specialize in one of four different playstyles. Meanwhile, minor powers are essentially passive buffs that remain active throughout missions. Some of the powers are pretty useful and can be further upgraded by spending ability points upon leveling up.
Things can Get Repetitive so Bring Some Friends Along
Although you can play by yourself and have a good amount of fun while doing so, The Blackout Club is one of those games that are best enjoyed with friends. Not just because communicating with your teammates if very important but also because there are plenty of ways of pranking people in this game. Sure, you could always prank random strangers but pranking your buddies is always more fun.
A common criticism of The Blackout Club is the mission variety. Or lack thereof. The environments and mission objectives are pretty much identical each time you play, with slight variations every now and again. This can make things feel repetitive pretty fast, which is another reason why you’ll want to bring your friends along. This lack of variety of pretty strange given that the game was initially launched via Early Access back in 2018. Hopefully, more content will be added further down the road because the game does have potential.
The Blackout Club is a fun experience that’s best enjoyed in short bursts. The lack of variety makes the game feel tedious after a while. However, you can definitely get at least 10-15 hours of play out of it. The horror elements only shine in the prologue mission so a single-player story mode would have helped the game tremendously. At the end of the day, what you’re getting here is a multiplayer-focused indie game with some interesting concepts and a Stranger Things vibe that will set you back $25. Not too bad all things considered, especially if you manage to get it while it’s on sale.
The Blackout Club
The Blackout Club is a fun experience that’s best enjoyed in short bursts. The lack of variety makes the game feel tedious after a while. However, you can definitely get at least 10-15 hours of play out of it. The horror elements only shine in the prologue mission so a single-player story mode would have helped the game tremendously.
- Great atmosphere, especially in the Prologue.
- Interesting enemy design.
- Fun co-op mode.
- Not a lot of mission variety.
- The horror elements fall flat in the multiplayer.
- Lacks a proper single-player mode.
- Score 0