The residents of Redacre are plagued by strange things in the night. When darkness falls, everyone experiences mysterious blackouts, with some kids waking up in strange parts of the town, unsure of how they got there. When parents refuse to believe the teenagers who tell them about their blackouts and sleepwalking, the teens form The Blackout Club in an attempt to reveal some of Redacre’s secrets and solve its mysteries.
The Blackout Club is a first-person horror game that can be played alone or with friends in co-op mode. It revolves around procedurally generated missions inside the twisted town of Redarce, where your group of up to four players uncover evidence and record data to help The Blackout Club better understand the secrets of the town.
Right from its first scene, The Blackout Club excels in delivering atmospheric horror and consistent tension. The great sound design is paired with creepy paranormal events and there’s some great horror genre twists to the dangers you face as the adults of the town transform into a range of enemies and become intent on catching any lurking members of the club.
There’s a good variety to enemy types in the game, each demonstrating different advantages and weaknesses, which means you’ll have to constantly adapt your gameplay tactics depending on which enemies you come across. Sleepers and Lucids are the most common that you’ll find, with Sleepers aimlessly sleepwalking around the town, unable to see you but sensitive to any noise. Lucids, on the other hand, can see you, but have slightly worse hearing than regular Sleepers.
They’re nothing compared to the Shape, though. Find yourself attacking one too many enemies or catching the attention of a scouting drone and the Shape will be summoned to your location. It’s an unstoppable force that’s almost impossible to avoid and easily the biggest enemy in the game. It’s also practically invisible and can only be seen by putting yourself into a position of weakness and closing your eyes to reveal its eerie silhouette. It’s absolutely terrifying you know it’s following you.
If you are grabbed by enemies, you have a few options to try and avoiding capture. At the start of every mission, you’ll be able to choose from three items: the stun gun, the grappling hook and the cross bolt. If an enemy does happen to catch you, these items offer you a lifeline to escape the struggle. Unfortunately, item use is also limited, with the mission starting you off with only one dart for your crossbow and limited charge on your stun gun, meaning that you’ll have to break into houses to scavenge more supplies. The stun gun does recharge, which makes it the most effective item to use and it feels almost overpowered when compared to the others.
Thankfully you still have the chance to escape if you’re caught without an item. While being dragged along the ground by an enemy your character can grab items on the floor such as rubbish and trash bags, allowing you one final chance at freedom. However, The Blackout Club is at its most enjoyable when playing with a stealth approach rather than a confrontational one, which is good because this is where the game design works best.
Exit the safety of The Blackout Club meeting place and you’ll be tasked with completing missions and sending data back to the club. Missions in the town vary from collecting posters to setting up audio recorders, all while avoiding the Sleepers and other traps set around the town. Sadly, these missions often feel like busywork rather than activities that progress the story. The Blackout Club has an excellent premise, yet what you actually do barely scratches the surface of the intriguing narrative that’s laid out at the opening of the game.
The multiplayer is enjoyable and playing the game as part of a co-op team brings a new level of excitement. Playing alongside other gamers means that you can be more strategic with completing missions; you can pin enemies to the ground to buy your friends time, split tasks and even save your teammates from the Shape if it happens to catch one of them. It’s easily the best way to play.
The Blackout Club is a strong addition to the co-op horror genre. Enemies and gameplay are really well handled, and playing with friends is a brilliant experience. If the story was a little more in-depth and better paced, this might be considered unmissable. As it is, The Blackout Club is a worthwhile game if not an essential one.