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Video Game / The Blackout Club

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No one believes you? Join the club.

"It took your friend. They say it's not real."

The Blackout Club is a 2019 indie stealth-based first person cooperative multiplayer survival horror game developed by Question Games. It entered Steam Early Access on 31 Oct, 2018 and the full game was released on July 30th, 2019, along with the Playstation 4 and Xbox One versions.

Up to four players work together as members of The Blackout Club, a group of kids who have run away from home and teamed up to combat the mysterious supernatural force that has taken root within, and beneath, their homes. The young members of the club roam the town at night, avoiding their sleepwalking parents and the cult's technological sentries, doing what they can to save themselves — and everyone else. Each nightly mission consists of several procedurally-generated objectives, both on the surface and in the ominous facility lurking beneath: Recording video evidence, sabotaging the cult's plans, retrieving stolen items, and even rescuing kidnapped club members. If the cult begins to notice their activities however, the children may attract the attention of their ultimate enforcer — a mysterious and frightening creature known only as "The Shape", a being who can only be seen when you close your eyes.

Alternatively, a player can take the part of a Stalker, a mysterious kid who silently invades other players' missions, stalking the Club Members and recording their wrongdoings to betray them to the cult. Playing as the Stalker is the only PVP element currently in the game.

This game contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The game is ostensibly set in the early 2000s, but much of the technology used by the kids (slim form-factor laptops, small flatscreen displays, "fablet" style smartphones) only became commonly available in The New '10s. A journal entry justifies this by explaining that, as the Radio Quiet Zone by necessity doesn't have access to certain IT stuff schools would normally be teaching on, it frees up some of the school budgets to reinvest in a variety of other gadgets for student use.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Heavily implied to befall those kids who have been caught by the Shape, and as a result lose themselves to it forever if they're not saved.
  • Adults Are Useless: All the adults in Redacre have been taken over by the darker entity and cannot be trusted. Some of the members of the Blackout Club have resorted to running away from home to escape them.
  • Always Night: Missions always take place at night, and the Blackout Club members sleep during the day.
  • And I Must Scream: Implied to be what happens to suppressed people. Players of suppressed kids can no longer control their character and can only resort to silent horror as their kid may get their teammates captured when they try to rescue them.
  • Ankle Drag: If a kid gets grabbed by an enemy and are too wounded to escape with no escape items, they are dragged by their ankles to the nearest red door to get brainwashed.
  • Anyone Can Die: And that someone can be you. Kids can die if they are captured enough times by the Shape. Other TBC kids also may be found dead. Death seems like a regular occurrence for the Blackout Club.
  • Beast in the Maze: The Shape can turn out to be this if you're running around in the aptly named underground Maze.
  • Bedtime Brainwashing: Seems to be the main problem in Redacre. Adults have become brainwashed zombies in their sleep. Some of the kids have even participated in this, with an incident even occurring with a voice taking over a kid causing them to eat a bird alive.
  • The Blank: Lucids have their face garbled up and are basically faceless save for the terrifying random eyes popping all over their face.
  • Bloody Horror: Happens during Hide the Evidence and Missing Persons missions, involving blood being splattered absolutely everywhere. The only difference is that in Hide the Evidence mission, it's a dove's blood, in the Missing Persons mission, it's human blood, likely belonging to your missing comrade.
  • Body Snatcher: Happens to players who are caught by the Shape. They are forced to helplessly watch their now suppressed character wander around, all with the text telling you that "Your mind is not your own".
  • Camp Unsafe Isn't Safe Anymore: Previous safe spots earlier in the game have always been frequently patched out to be less safe, usually more accessible to the Shape if a kid tries to hide there.
  • Character Customization: The player's kids are completely customizable. After you choose the character's gender, eye color, and voice, these elements remained fixed, but you can change your character's clothes, hair and hair color any time by going to the wardrobe in the train car. The Stalker is also just as customizable in the van they live in.
  • The Chosen One: Some of the kids have been specifically chosen by the gods, though no one is sure what this exactly means.
  • Combat Resuscitation: When players are captured, they are put into a trance and begin randomly wandering around the map. With help from a teammate, they can be snapped out of the daze.
  • Comeback Mechanic: When players are grabbed, they can fight back by pushing the enemy off themselves at the cost of being wounded or using an escape item. When a player is finally overwhelmed and are being dragged by their feet, they have a small window to escape by grabbing an escape item hidden in trash bags they are being dragged by, which would allow them to escape.
  • Cower Power: The only real way to avoid most of the enemies in the game is to cower in the shadows and wait for them to lumber slowly past.
  • Creepy Basement: Many of the houses have creepy dark basements that eventually lead to this terrifying underground system of Nightmare Fuel.
  • Creepy Child: The Stalker is a kid who works against The Blackout Club for reasons unknown. They have a habit of invading club missions to stalk them and sabotaging their efforts.
  • Creepy Family: In the prologue, there is something clearly off about Belle's parents. Later revealed that they were brainwashed by the evil entity. In fact, all the adults in the game, including the family members, absolutely cannot be trusted and are generally extremely creepy.
  • Curse: So-called Cursed Ciphers are strewn around the map at later levels. Picking them up unlocks additional content later on, but for now it saddles you with a negative status effect. However, some curses have upsides, which can potentially bring them into Cursed with Awesome territory.
  • Daycare Nightmare: The Old Growth Daycare Center, on the plateau above the neighborhood. It looks like a typical colorful, well-funded daycare, with three wings and an enclosed playground, but hidden in lofts and maintenance closets are strange archaic machines full of sound pipes and recording equipment that keeps close monitor of the little kids who attend there.
  • Dead Animal Warning: In one of the missions, one of the malicious voices took over one of the club kids and caused them to go on a rampage during the night, desecrating and killing doves (and possibly eating them) to teach the club kids a lesson. Made even worse as the victim of these crimes supposedly loves animals.
  • Death of a Child: It's entirely possible for any of the club members to get killed during their nightly excursions if they get caught too many times and are too wounded to escape. Some rescue missions unfortunately end with their rescue victim dead.
  • Demonic Possession: Although is unclear what exactly happens to those who had fallen under control of the Shape, the shape puts them into a deep sleep to which they start sleepwalking and are completely under its control.
  • Disco Tech: The Sleepers are building... something, in the maze beneath the town. It involves rounded tunnels, stuccoed for smoothness, expanding all under the town and carrying discordant melodies played on strange stringed contraptions played by Lucids or choruses of Sleepers. The Sleepers sometimes say something about checking "the acoustics" of certain places, and set up large electrical amps on the streets during the night.
  • Dwindling Party: Completely possible during missions as club members may start getting picked off or even killed.
  • Endless Game: Each mission is randomly generated and can be played through again and again.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Lucids seem to have a ton of eyes that fizzle in and out of existence on their face.
  • First-Person Perspective: Most of the game is played through a kid's point of view.
  • Footprints of Muck: If a player throws a Foam Grenade at the Shape, their feet can be seen temporarily, leaving behind a foamy trail. It's the only way for players to see the Shape with their eyes open. Lucids and Sleepers also leave foamy footprints if a foam grenade is thrown at them or if they step on it.
  • Forced Sleep: If captured by the shape, the player's character is forced into a sleepwalking state, but still awake to some extent, sort of like a Lucid
  • Game Lobby: The Blackout Club HQ, which seems to be an abandoned train car in the middle of the woods.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: String dampeners are said to erase the records of kids' 'sins'. If the Shape is out when the kids finish installing them, it leaves immediately - one of the rare few times it does so on its own.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The gods that the kids seemed intertwined with will asks the kids to keep praying to them.
  • Hell Is That Noise: A strange strumming of some sort of instrument can often be heard as well as strange ringing and extremely odd sounds, especially underground. Sleepers also randomly strum the strings while underground, making an even stranger melody. The entire underground seems specifically built explicitly to carry that noise, though to what end remains a mystery.
  • Hearing Voices: All members of the Blackout Club hear voices in their sleep as well as sometimes awake. It's unknown whose speaking to them and whether or not they're friendly.
  • Hidden Depths: There is another level to the mystery, beyond investigating the underground through individual missions. Some successful outings will reward players with a ritual token, which can be used in the Blackout Club HQ to allow the player to speak to the Voices guiding the kids (not the character, the player can record a prayer to the Voices using their microphone). The developers actually listen to these questions and record voice-acted answers from the Voices, which can be heard along with the prompting question by other players in their dreams.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Shape seems to be pretty much this if we could actually see it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we can only see it with our eyes closed.
  • Infinite Flashlight: The flashlight, and by extension the smartphone that the kids carry around, don't every run out of battery, no matter how long the mission takes. However, the game encourages you to keep your flashlight off unless absolutely necessary.
  • Instant Sedation: Tranq Darts work very quickly, causing Sleepers and Lucids pass out in seconds. Kids even mention "large animal tranquilizers" when picking up a crossbow. Partly justified in that they are already asleep; the sedation isn't so much knocking them out as knocking them out of a sleepwalker state.
  • Intro-Only Point of View: The prologue has you playing as Isabelle, one of the assumed leaders of the Blackout Club. After playing her story and finding out what happens to her, you finally swap to your own kid.
  • The Insomniac: Several actually. Sleepers are technically still awake even if they're sleepwaking. Lucids are the extreme version of this; they often mention how they wish to serve the higher being but their body is breaking down due to lack of sleep.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: After untying captured club members, they will tell you to go on without them, but that they will manage to escape. In-game, players can be left behind by their teammates if they are incapacitated by the Shape, leading to the mission ending without the entire team at the cost of a lower XP bonus.
  • Jump Scare: Thankfully, or not, most of the jump scares in this game are completely situational, usually with the player losing awareness. Players with a good game sense and always alert, can usually avoid being jump scared.
  • Just a Kid: Despite the members of club being extremely savvy with gadgets (especially the Drone), being able to dismantle mines, and even work together to take down a full grown adult, they are all still kids at heart.
    Kid (Male Voice): Can we do the cool slo-mo walk this time please?
  • Kid Hero: Despite being relatively ordinary kids, these kids are the only ones standing in the way of this mysterious evil entity and are doing a bangup job of hampering their progress to whatever they're doing, so much so that they have specific enemies watching out specifically to catch these kids. The kids have also managed to create a relatively organized group of people all dedicated to one goal, which is impressive considering how hard it is to do this even as adults.
  • Kidnapped from Behind: Bells was kidnapped and dragged away, never to be seen again.
  • Le Parkour: One of the many methods to get around. Players are able to climb any climbable object including rafters or even rooftops.
  • Locked Door: Many of the houses doors are locked from the inside. Players can choose to lockpick them or even kick them down at the cost of a lot of noise and the potential of attracting the Shape. Alternatively, you can avoid even interacting with the door if you manage to find an open window to sneak through.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Some sleepers wear some sort of cloth or mask over their head. And they're definitely not friendly.
  • Mundane Horror: Seems to be the central theme of the game. On the surface, especially during the day, Redacre just seems to be a normal little town. The people there are peaceful and happy, even being rated one of the safest places in the world. However, dig deep enough, there is just something not right about the whole thing. With people acting strangely and rumors of a 'boogeyman' in the woods.
  • Neck Lift: Kids who are caught by the Shape are cruelly grabbed by the neck and lifted into the air while it takes over their mind.
  • Never Split the Party: The game highly encourages you to stick close to your teammates, offering a generous stamina regeneration boost when you're together with each person. This is also number one of one of the club rules.
  • Nightmare Face: Lucids have a terrifying warped face.
  • The Night Owl: As a blanket statement, all people in Redacre have become this. Lucids and Sleepers are adults who 'work' at night, though the Blackout Club is more accurate to this trope since Lucids and Sleepers don't sleep at all. TBC kids often sleep during the day so they are able to carry out their missions during the night.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Played straight. Players can't see the shape unless they close their eyes and even then, we can't really see what exactly it is.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Shape has a tendency to randomly warp to players or through Red Doors to scare them. The Stalker can also use the Red Doors to their advantage, which may seem like they're teleporting.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: In one of the available randomized missions, club members may have to retrieve an ominous two headed music box that reveals their location via sound when picked up.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: So called "shadow people" pursue you around on one of the mission, teleporting around and phasing through walls.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The kids have dreams and are often contacted by strange beings called the Daimons, who are essentially the world's gods, to which they can pray to and possibly even be recruited to join the said god's cult. Very little is known about these gods other than some seem marginally more sympathetic and friendly to the kids while some others are outright malicious.
  • Player Headquarters: The Blackout Club has made a hideout out of a couple of abandoned railway boxcars in the forest outside of town. One car is devoted to planning their activities and working on equipment, while the adjacent car has sleeping bags for resting during the day and a shrine.
  • Playful Hacker: Your kid can be one by selecting the "Hacker" track powers from the deck between missions. It focuses on triggering little programs from their phone to do things like distract a Sleeper with a Prank Call to their monitoring device, or cause an RF security camera feed to briefly get overloaded.
  • Precision F-Strike: The kids swear, unsurprisingly considering their situation. Swearing is the least of their problems. Though they don't say the F-word.
  • The Runaway: In fact, many runaways and for good reason. All the kids of the Blackout Club have clearly run away from home and are living in a train car somewhere in the woods, away from the town. A newspaper clipping in the HQ reveals that there is a incident with many teenagers running away from home.
  • Run or Die: The only true way to play the game. While you can knock out Sleepers and Lucids, there is no way to defeat the Shape, you can only slow it down. Keep running, or it'll catch you, and enough times, you'll die.
  • Scare Chord: A sound of that same effect that plays when you are spotted or noticed by enemies.
  • Shout-Out: When we see Isabelle finish her intro recording, her desktop wallpaper is that of "The Magic Circle" by the same studio.
  • Super-Strong Child: Somewhat both supported and averted. The kids are understandably too weak to take an adult straight on, but they can hop on their backs to take them down, even pinning them. With the Takedown Power, kids are able to instantly knock down a full grown adult by throwing themselves on their back and carry a full grown adult on their back (with some difficulty). They are even able to kick down doors and push a full grown adult off them (at the cost of being injured) which are both no easy feat either.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: As players level up, they can invest points into Powers, which are basically skills and perks they can take into missions with them.
  • Sleepwalking: Redacre seems to be riddled with incidents of this, later revealed to be a darker entity putting people into a sleep and controlling them like a hive mind.
  • Sleep Mask: All parent sleepers have eye masks over their eyes with a ominous glowing eye on it.
  • Surreal Horror: A lot of the imagery in the Maze is this, with absolutely bizarre areas like Dream Therapy, which has a 'woods' area, with geometrical trees, and Subliminal Media, which has a looping video of a cow eating some snow.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: One of the main club rules of the Blackout Club, which makes sense considering that some of the sleepers are the kid's parents and whatnot. Unfortunately, the enemy don't follow the same rules, though to be fair, they try to brainwash the kids, not kill them outright. Kids that die are simply ones who repeatedly try to escape, eventually becoming too wounded to and die trying to.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: A town where many incidents of sleepwalking occur as well as a strange underground system that somehow connects all the houses together....hmmm, nothing wrong here.
  • Unbroken Vigil: Apparently some of the kids have become possessed by the voices and a particular member went sleepwalking and apparently ate a live bird, blood and all. Club members have begun to sleep with a buddy watching over them to keep them from doing crazy things.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Many of the kids have woken up with this feeling, having supposedly missing days from their memories and have vivid dreams about doing things at night while they were asleep.