These days, it’s really rare for us to get a game that is “original”. We have come to a time in the industry when it is difficult to do something that hasn’t been done or something that is really interesting no matter the resources one has at their disposal. Just look at what the big companies are doing - rebooting old games, remasters and remakes of the best and most popular games from 20 years ago. It seems that creativity isn’t a priority anymore.
That's why there are these small developers that make up that "indie" part of the industry, which most people don’t like because they create games that simply aren't good. Without any meaning, good story or a lot of spent effort, they usually make games solely for the sake of monetizing an already existing idea in a short period of time. However, there are a couple of them who are trying to do something different and new. One such studio is Question, whose team is behind the new game The Blackout Club.
Pretty weird things are happening in a small town. All parents and elderly citizens are sleepwalking at night. It seems like they are keeping watch for an evil entity to make it possible for it to wreak havoc around the town. While parents are entranced and possessed, occultists are summoning evil forces to abduct their children.
The kids are not only abducted, but their memory is erased so they have no idea what happened during that period of time. Kind of like the stuff that happens in the X-Files series. When a group of kids starts to realize what's going on, that they simply faint without a reason and wake up with strange memories, they decide to form The Blackout Club.
The kids from the neighborhood are the only ones who can save their friend who has been abducted, and who, unlike everyone else, has not been returned. It's up to you to find him, through randomly generated levels and missions with your friends, or maybe by yourself. The Blackout Club is primarily a co-op game that is by far the best when played with friends.
In addition, keep in mind that this is primarily a stealth game, since the parents, although they see absolutely nothing while they are sleepwalking, hear very well. Occultists also keep their eyes shut and wander about exclusively in the tunnels beneath the small town where they hide their secrets and the reasons why they do this to this small community.
The Blackout Club was formed with the sole purpose of telling the world what was really going on in this small town, to disclose something that looks like an epidemic or invasion, and to alert other parts of the country. However, not only do you not have a telephone connection to the rest of the world, but you also do not have the Internet.
Everything you see, and everything you find as evidence while going through the missions, you have to record with your phone, the content of which is stored in the base that you visit before each mission.
This game is quite similar to the other horror co-op games that have been released so far, such as Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th. It is similar to them in terms of performance, and stealth approach but it is still an original title. It's trying to be a story for itself, mostly because of the gameplay mechanics that are done much better than in the other two games mentioned.
Since absolutely everything is based on stealth gameplay and planning, it's up to you to be creative when going through levels, infiltrating houses, picking locks, or jumping from one roof to another to get into a house which has its doors locked. Also, you have to plan how to distract the sleepwalkers so that you have plenty of time to pick the lock and enter someone's house. There are many things that make this game unique, and perhaps the most important things are the voice communication and the Enhanced Horror System the game possesses.
The Enhanced Horror System certainly sounds creepy, and it is. If you have a headset and a microphone, the game monitors your breathing, reactions that are often unplanned, your communication with other players, and uses that to tailor the horror elements to your overall reaction to the game. Likewise, at certain places in the town marked by the occultists, you can get their Gods to talk to you, often sharing with you a spooky or creepy message.
That occultists and sleepwalkers are not the only "enemies" in this game, you will realize when you meet Shade, that is, Shadow, a demon you can only see with your eyes closed, who can’t hear but has excellent eyesight. That’s a little twist when it comes to the variety of enemies. Shade is an absolutely creepy occurrence in the game because you can only see it when you close your eyes, and you can also see some clues at the levels, goals, and objects that are essential to realizing your club's mission.
Generally speaking, no matter how much the game tends to be straight-forward, it is nevertheless tricky and complicated for players who want instant fun. It takes a while to adjust to the game, learn the tricks, find the items that work best for you, learn how to communicate with friends in the most efficient way, and pick up the tricks for quickly crossing the backyards of the abandoned houses guarded by the sleepwalkers. It will take time, but believe me, it is absolutely worth it because the game is unique in what it has to offer.
Its stealth approach combined with great horror elements, mixed with panic that can easily ensue within your team, is perfectly fun for not only you but absolutely everyone playing with you.
In your base, you are able to choose the mission you want to play, and one of the three main items. It is very interesting to note that there is no killing in the game, so the taser is the best tool for every occasion. You have a wardrobe where you can find items to customize your character and make it look exactly the way you want, as well as upgrade your skills.
After each mission, you will receive certain points that you can use to get some of these things. From the base, you will also be able to choose whether to go on missions by yourself, with your friends or random players. Playing the game in the co-op mode makes it more intense, and some of the situations that happen are a mix of horror and comedy, which is great.
In addition to the classic mode, there is The Stalker, PVP mode. This mode makes the game look a lot like Friday the 13th or Dead by Daylight, only without you massacring your opponents. One of the players will be the Stalker, who will sneak around at the levels the kids are trying to pass and record them. The Stalker will share this information with all dormant parents so that they will know where to look and pay their attention to in order to catch the kids.
As time passes, the Stalker may also be tasked with summoning The Shape Demon, and that’s when he or she is close to defeating the kids and winning. Once you play as The Stalker, you are unlocking the possibility that absolutely everyone else can "attack" your game, whether you are playing solo or with friends.
When you get the notification that you have a Spy on your mission, the game becomes a lot more stressful, because then you have to watch every corner, pay attention to every movement in the bushes or in front of the house. It’s an absolutely creepy experience.
This is a game with a focus on multiplayer, and the people at Question Studio have given themselves the task to continue working on the game, bring more content into it and make the game more interesting as time passes by.
The Blackout Club brings a lot of fear, tension and great horror in, if I may say so, a small package. The idea is excellent, the interaction between players is great, the enemies are almost perfectly designed - these are just a few things that make this game amazing. The Blackout Club will give you hours and hours of fun whether you choose to play solo or with your friends in the co-op. I played this game on Xbox One X and I give it 8/10.