What an interestingly in-depth game The Blackout Club by Question really is. There is so much still to learn about the game, but what is going on directly is an enjoyable experience. The game features a whole new way to find clues, see the path, and present interesting challenges. There is so much to be said about The Blackout Club, yet even more questions left to be answered once we get past the early access. Let me just begin the details.
This is the section that Question lives up to their team name. There is bits of details strewn about the early access that gives hints into what is going on. The story itself isn’t clear, but why The Blackout Club was formed certainly is.
The kids have formed a small group together to go out and adventure at night after waking up in random and strange locations after going to bed. In these nightly adventures they face their neighborhood of parents, who are known as sleepwalkers, along with a few other interesting challengers. While the sleepwalkers can’t see, there is a weird form of vision that is shown to them while their eyes are closed. The leader of what is going on is a creature simply known as “The Shape.” This creature can only be seen with the players eyes closed and it is able to cause players to lose their mind if captured. Whatever secret is going on in this neighborhood, it certainly all has to do with The Shape and the mysterious red doors that have appeared all over the neighborhood.
Players take on the role of one of the kids with the maximum online party group being four. The goal for the team is to complete a series of objectives before exiting the level. The number of objectives needed to be completed before completing a level is purely based on the host players level. You can simply use the icon indicating where the current object item is to find where it is, but if you close your eyes you can see some footsteps that will guide you on the best route possible. There are also some interesting things to see after putting up posters or posting up sign posts with your eyes closed, which are ways for the kids to try and reach out to the sleepwalking adults.
While completing these objectives, players can also earn extra points by finding multiple clues and recording them on their phone. These can be anything from mysterious bags to strange posters, but they are noticeable thanks to a shine that streaks across the item when you look at it. That doesn’t mean they are easy to find, but it is noticeable once spotted.
Here’s what makes the game difficult. There are multiple ways the player can get caught. If you are too loud, the sleepwalkers will hear you and will charge at you which you will have to fend off yourself if no other player comes to help pin them down. There is also a sleepwalker known as a Lucid which also has the ability to see the player, so staying in the dark and keeping your flashlight off is key to not getting caught by them. Both of these enemies can grab a player and fight them to the point that they run out of health, but the player has multiple ways to fight back including simply shoving them off of you after being grabbed - however, you will still take damage from being grabbed.
The one other human enemy to worry about is simply known as The Stalker. This is actually a player character who is pretending to be part of the party, but is really recording the players as they complete objectives. The purpose of recording the players is to directly let The Shape know of the other players locations and summon him even if the other players are doing everything right. The only way to stop The Stalker is for one of the players to notice who it is that is working with the enemy and to literally take them down.
There are also non-human ways to get caught which include various sensors, a drone with a camera, and stationary cameras. There are ways to take out a few of these items, but simply avoiding them altogether is the best route. If you are spotted by the cameras or sensors, you will have the sleepwalkers on you, but worse than that you will have The Shape coming after you!
The Shape will come after you when enough sleepwalkers have spotted you or you have been caught by one of the non-human devices. When they are chasing you there is a light blur on the edge of the screen to indicate it is close and in which direction; gray to indicate it isn’t too close, but not far, and red to indicate it is practically on top of you. You can only see The Shape when you close your eyes, so make sure you know your surroundings so closing your eyes for a moment won’t get you stuck in a wall or anything.
After playing a fairly long, and extremely creepy, prologue to help you understand the game, I would love to see a full single player story mode. A co-op story mode would be even better. The games style is definitely unique and the prologue had me creeped out, so I would thoroughly enjoy a full length game set up like this and to help answer all the questions surrounding the story.
The co-op mode is pretty fun, but it would be great to have a way to decide what objective goals we will face rather than just picking the location and being given a random objective set up. Maybe list some reward possibilities for each objective to entice players to get out of their comfort zone while allowing them the freedom to avoid the type of objectives they don’t care to play.
There is a section in the game where you can “Sacrifice Yourself” which I tried out. I don’t understand what the purpose was to this and my player was reset. I know it says there is no guaranteed reward to doing it, but it also doesn’t really explain what the possible rewards could even be. Also, who are these various gods that we got to choose from and sacrifice ourselves to? This may just be a lack of understanding in the story so far, but it would be nice to have an easier way to understand the correlation, importance, and reason for the gods and sacrifice options.
The Blackout Club is a really fun game and I love the unique, modern take on the co-op horror gameplay aspect. There is still so much to understand about this game, but what is unknown or difficult to understand doesn’t seem to take away from the direct gameplay offered in the Early Access. I highly recommend this to title to horror fans, especially those with a friend or few to play with, and look forward to the final version in the future!