The Blackout Club
Review by Gregory Rodney
“The Blackout Club” and its unique take on tandem gameplay impressed me a lot. It’s a first-person co-op horror game, and they introduce the games’ mechanics is through an interesting prologue.
The prologue is also where they explained the story so that you feel your actions have some sort of purpose. It starts with you taking control of a young girl whose home alone. From the tone, you can tell she's uneasy about something, but you're kept guessing the entire time.
Next, you're instructed to follow an objective trail, which is usually footprints, and you access the ability to see the footprints by holding triangle on the controller. The game shows you how to sneak, which involves you crouching and moving quietly. And at the end introduces you to your worst nightmare The Shape. It's a perfect transition over to the real game.
The story takes place in a semi-open world with the game consisting of multiple missions in the kids' town. There are three areas to explore and two are locked until you get to a higher level. You gain experience by finishing missions and collecting extra evidence while exploring. Leveling also grants you skill points to make exploring the areas a lot easier.
There are four main skill paths and about 6 or more minor skills. The main skills give you the ability to temporarily knock down enemies, or disable traps, control drones, etc. The minor skills give you perks like the ability to run while holding bodies or starting a mission with bandages or increase your base stamina. The developers did a good job of giving you something to unlock as you master the maps.
While playing I didn't see any real performance issues. Occasionally there would be a blinding light from the distance that would fill my screen. It would happen only at certain angles, but it did happen more than a few times. The gameplay is fun but can be a little slow and unresponsive a times, especially when your panicking. There's also a feeling among the player base that the experience gained from missions is low, causing the game to feel very "grindy". Fortunately, the developers are listening and are addressing all concerns quickly.
Produced and published by Question LLC. The company founders, Stephen Alexander and Jordan Thomas, met while collaborating on Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. Jordan led the development team of Bioshock 2 and returned to Boston to help with Infinite. After the latter project shipped, they decided to continue making games together. The Magic Circle was their first release as a brand-new studio. It has a lot of personality and has impressed many critics. Currently, the game is rated 9 out of 10 on steam, which isn't bad for their first try if you ask me.
If you're a fan of horror games this one is interesting and fresh. I'd recommend playing with a friend or using the online features provided. The game allows up to 4-player co-op and the mechanics are highlighted when you have a balance of 4 players with 4 different skills.
The Blackout Club is 29.99 on PS4
Final Rating: 👍 (…just barely)