While the Blackout Club is relatively early access and there is only a single map to play on, one can clearly see the intentions of the developers. The game takes place in a sleepy little town where everybody but your friends is enslaved by a unscrupulous albeit invisible bad guy known as “the Shape” that you can only see when you have your eyes closed. Your mission, as a member of the Blackout Club, is to save your friends and fight back against the evil cult. Create your teenager from a SUPER tiny amount of customization options, and grab your utility tool before going out and completing missions for the Blackout Club.
When a mission starts, you’re sent out with your team of friends to capture an item, save another kid, or another equally impossible task with parents skulking around, most of which have sleeping masks on, rendering them completely blind. You’re sent into the field with a choice of items, a climbing tool, a taser, or a crossbow. The taser’s okay, the crossbow is ranged but has less use than the taser, and the climbing tool is absolutely hands down invaluable. (You probably need at least one on a team to be super effective.) Others are awake, working consciously for this evil force that for some reason is taking over the town. But hey, that’s why you have teammates, and the ability to jump on people’s backs, and tasers and stuff!
The game looks and sounds great. There’s nothing really out of place, and the enemies are creepy enough that it’s fun to run away from them. A lot of the enemies are blind, so your main thing to worry about is sound, which is indicated on the screen for those who want to listen to something else/are hard of hearing.
The enemies being blind creates an interesting situation, where once an enemy “knows” where you are, you have the opportunity to slink away provided you aren’t making a lot of noise, or… running, which will alert them to your location. Putting players into this position of risking alerting more than the one guy to avoid being caught makes players feel like they are in control, which is something most games like this sorely need. The enemies that can see are great also, because when you get used to one type of enemy, the other is so vastly different that you must change your gameplay style immediately. No more can you hide in plain sight and just not move, you’re in a much more difficult position. Every time someone is alerted to you, even if they don’t catch you, they add a sin to your list. These add up until you hit a threshold, (which, while I haven’t found the exact point, it seems to be more than 3) after which the Shape comes hunting the person with the most sin.
Whether you’re caught by the Shape, or by a regular Joe enemy, the goal is to turn you into a brainwashed NPC just like the adults. The regular adults have to drag you back to the special red doors for the Shape to grab you, but if the Shape catches you in the wild, you’re immediately under his control.
This game is great. I would like to see an expansion of the weapons you start with, and the abilities you can get when you level up. Customization of course needs improvement, but hey, early access! Playing this game by yourself isn’t exactly the best, the game’s internal communication isn’t awesome – everyone who joined my game was completely silent, except my buddy who I gave my second key to. Mr. Plague was definitely easier to deal with than randoms, but, I assume that’s because we communicate. The game is designed around working together, so, if you get a copy, make sure you get a friend to play with! It’ll make it much more entertaining. For $20.00, you can find some incredible titles, and, while I think that the blackout club is definitely a game that is showing potential, I would say that it’s still fairly early in the process. If you’re squeamish, go ahead and wait a little while, but, if you’re an adventurous sort, such as I am, go ahead and spend that 20 now, it’s got at least a couple good hours of content now.
Disclosure: We received this game for free.
Developed by: Question Games