The Blackout Club – Loner’s Guide

So you still want to play the game despite the lack of other players? Don’t be afraid, this guide is here to help.

Before We Begin…

There’s a lot to cover here, and the information can vary wildly depending on the situation. One thing I need to get out of the way right off the bat:

This guide is intended for solo players!

Obviously most of this information will be relevant to multiplayer groups too, but given the extremely low population of the game as of the time of this guide, everything will be presented as if you are a solo player.

What Tools Should I use?

The game offers you a selection of three hero items (of which you can use one at a time), four major power decks (of which you can use one at a time), and six minor powers (of which you can use up to four at a time). Choosing the right power and tool can make all the difference in a mission. Let’s go over them one by one;

Major Powers

Brawling

Probably the most broadly useful power. Allows you to effectively deal with enemies, gives you the ability to permanently pin one enemy at a time, and has practically no cooldown to boot. Also only has four tiers, meaning you have more power points to spare. If you’re fast, you can grab enemies that are chasing you before they grab you, which can greatly increase your survive-ability.

Hacker

This has a fair amount of practical use for those who really like being quiet. You can temporarily disable most hazards in the game with this power, although it has a hefty cooldown.

Unstoppable

Don’t use this power. Seriously, it’s bad. It has a tier that will have no effect, and apart from the damage reduction (which is helpful but not incredibly so), the main power requires you to take damage to charge, and only has a use if you’re barreling through areas loudly, which you want to avoid.

Drone

A very Meh power. It can be useful if utilized properly, but apart from giving you access to the taser and stun gun hero items at all times the main use is skipping bonus evidence detours. Mostly useless until level 6, when you can get the recording upgrade.

Minor Powers

Atlas

What sounds like a niche effect is actually a very good minor power for convenience. This allows you to hide bodies better and complete canceller missions much faster.

Locksmith

Starting with a lockpick allows you to more easily complete phone recovery missions, get into the glass case in the maze without relying on luck, and removes the luck aspect from finding a lockpick, which can be very useful for shortcuts.

Improved Stamina

More stamina is always good, but one thing to note is that incoming damage does not scale based on max stamina – this means you’ve effectively also increased your max health, and can take more damage at a time. Bandages do scale based on max stamina, so those are more effective (relatively speaking).

Lucky Loot

This one costs two power points for a good reason. You have a roughly 10% chance to double any standard item you pick up. This means if you pick up a tranq dart, you have a 10% chance to get two. More stuff is always better, and while this is a little unreliable it definitely makes a difference. It’s also worth noting that this power can allow you to carry one more than the normal maximum, if you double the last one you pick up.

Medic

A free bandage is good insurance if the mission goes bad, or if you just want to take some fall damage to use a shortcut. You’ll likely be capped on these by the end of most missions though, unless things go very bad.

Nutritionist

Meh. A free energy bar is a free energy bar, but you’ll likely be capped on those by the end of the mission anyway and they have niche use besides.

Hero Items

Stun Gun

Infinite escape item, can stun enemies, but has a cooldown. Useful if you find yourself getting grabbed a lot.

Grapple Hook

Useful for shortcuts, but there’s nowhere you can’t reach without it. Most detours aren’t even that long. Despite this, it’s very convenient to have and can make missions go faster and easier just from the sheer amount of new paths you can take. Usefulness tapers off at low levels.

Crossbow

Allows you to utilize your tranq darts from range and gives you an extra tranq dart. Free tranq darts are good, and the convenience of the crossbow makes this one of the best hero items to take.

So What Should I use?

  • That depends. If this is your first time playing, I would recommend the hacker power with the stun gun and the Medic, Locksmith, Lucky Loot, and Improved Stamina minor powers. It’s a good catch-all build that won’t leave you hanging very much while you familiarize yourself with the game mechanics.
  • If you’re looking for the optimal stuff, I enjoy running Brawler with the crossbow and Improved Stamina, Atlas, Lucky Loot, and Locksmith powers.
  • If you like the drone power, you might find success with the grapple hook, Locksmith, Lucky Loot, Atlas, and Improved Stamina powers.
  • If you really want to run Unstoppable for whatever reason, take Medic, Improved Stamina, Nutritionist, and Lucky Loot, and use the stun gun or crossbow.

A Very Important Thing To Note

You will NOT be able to get all the powers.

You can only get one full major power set and four minor powers (including Lucky Loot). There aren’t enough available power points to get everything. You can respec at any time at the altar, but this also resets your level.

What Missions Should I Look Out For?

You won’t get to choose your missions, nor does the region you start in affect what missions and objectives you get.

Most missions are fairly simple. There are a couple that are worth special consideration though; Stealing Fire, To Carry a Tune, and Collect Cancellers. Those are all the first steps of their respective objectives.

Stealing Fire

This objective requires you to grab a special item from in the maze and carry it to a drop-off point. While holding this special item, you can’t use any other equipment and you are always lit up. This objective appears during Steal missions.

If you’re below level 3…

Keep calm and carry on. Nothing’s different, just remember that if you have to use something, you’ll need to drop the item first by holding F.

If you’re level 3 and above…

Keep an extra eye out for Lucids. You’re always lit up so they can always see you. If you notice a lot of Lucids out on the mission, find the drop-off point (a trashcan with a glowing blue boxcar painted on it) and tranq any Lucids patrolling the area, and any maze areas nearby.

To Carry A Tune

Another particularly tough one. This one is in many ways the exact opposite of Stealing Fire; you grab something from the surface and move it to a drop-off in the maze, it makes loud noise while you move, and you can’t use any other items while holding it. This also appears during Steal missions.

The best tactic here is to drop the item, follow the path a little ways ahead, pin or tranq any nearby enemies, then grab the item and sprint. The Brawler major power is especially useful here, to sustained takedown enemies as you encounter them. There’s no reason not to sprint while holding the item, since you already make loud noise while in motion.

You can also throw the item if necessary, and enemies will react to it like a noisemaker. It bounces and rolls a bit, so be careful not to throw it off any edges or you’ll have to go back to the start and grab it again.

If you just tap the movement keys, you can still move without making noise. It’s absurdly slow and this is only practical to use in emergencies (I.E. moving out of the path of a patrolling Sleeper.)

Collect Cancellers

Also known as just ‘Canceller’ objectives, this one can be tough but is also infamous for the ability to earn massive amounts of exp. If you don’t have the Atlas power equipped, you’re better off just completing the objective and moving on, but if you do have Atlas equipped then you can milk the mission dry for everything it’s worth. This appears during Search missions.

Here’s how it works: the goal of the mission is to get the three target sleepers into the destination room after they’ve been neutralized by the cancellers. Every extra enemy moved into the destination room counts as bonus evidence, which awards a fixed amount of exp.

Tranquilize all the enemies patrolling the target house, then move outwards from there, making sure you can run back from pretty much anywhere and not be heard. Take out any and all lucids in the area ASAP and you might even want to leave a sleep trap outside the door to the room to prevent the bodies from being found. This is where you want to buy as many tranq darts as possible from the shops around the area, loot as many darts and sleep traps as you can find, and clear off the entire surface of enemies.

Make sure you carry the targets back and complete the objective before piling on the bonus evidence. If the Shape shows up you want to be able to scram right away.

If you don’t have the Atlas power it’s not worth doing this at all, and it’s also generally not worth getting bodies from the maze due to the distances required to travel.

How Do I Deal With Threats?

Sleepers and Lucids

Be careful around them. Don’t run into areas you’ve never been before without checking for patrolling enemies. Don’t be reckless. Walk before you run – literally; when you don’t think you need to sneak any more, walk for a second or two before you start to run. Enemies will be attracted to the sound of running much faster than the sound of walking, so if you misjudged the distance and got detected you won’t be in as much trouble.

Remember that creeping (ctrl) is quieter than crouching (C) on hard floors (like concrete, rock, wood, etc.).

Keep an eye on your eye. Make sure you’re not lit up when possible. Don’t use your flashlight except when necessary, as it constantly lights you up. Keep watch for lucids and consider tranquilizing as many as possible, but always save a tranq dart and/or sleep trap for emergencies.

Make sure you stash bodies in an unlit area, so that Lucids don’t spot them from far away.

Speed Traps

Don’t sprint near them, it sets them off nearly instantly. Whenever you hear the charge, stop moving. You can get about halfway across the area while creeping before getting zapped, but if you’re crouching they won’t detect you at all.

You can disable them by moving up to them and holding F. If that’s not an option, throwing a foam canister at them shuts them off permanently. If you triggered the trap, you’ll need to wait about three seconds before you can disarm it again.

Acoustic Mines

Very problematic threats. You can’t disable them by hand so don’t try. Remember that you have about three seconds before the mine makes any noise. You foam them, just like the speed traps. In lieu of foam canisters, you can flashbang them to temporarily shut them off, or blow them up permanently by hitting them with a tranq dart or humble rock (one of the only uses for a humble rock).

If absolutely necessary, you can cross the area without setting them off if you just walk right through them. It’s important that you walk, because creeping and crouching are too slow, and running sets them off immediately. If you’re slowed for any reason this won’t work.

Cameras

Avoid the green light. If it turns yellow, try and break line of sight. If you can’t, get as far away from it as fast as possible. The camera will follow you if it detects you so breaking line of sight or moving out of range is very important. If you can hit them with a foam canister, that will temporarily disable them.

Being in shadow does not matter to cameras. Their cone of vision emits light.

All cameras have a fixed rotation pattern. Observe it and identify safe zones before trying to get past.

How Does The Shape Work?

The Shape is the most dangerous threat in the game for you.

If you commit enough sinful activities the Shape will enter play and start hunting you.

The following actions increase your sin;

  • Being heard by enemies (low)
  • Prank calling an enemy (Hacker power) (high)
  • Remote disarming cameras (Hacker power) (medium)
  • Being seen by a Lucid (medium)
  • Breaking out of an enemy’s grab (low)
  • Fully detected by security cameras (low)
  • Using the Takedown ability (brawler power) (medium)
  • An enemy affected by Sustained Takedown (brawler power) is found by another enemy (medium)
  • A kicked in door is found by an enemy (low)
  • A tranquilized enemy is found by another enemy (high)

Once your sin gets high enough, the Shape will show up. The Shape will not be present in the map before this point, and will never leave after bar one specific objective.

Note: “high” is relative. It takes roughly 8 prank calls to summon the shape

The shape can see and hear on his own, but also sees and hears through all other enemies (where applicable). That means that even if the Shape is on the other side of the map, if a sleeper detects you the Shape will come running. The Shape can’t see through the eyes of Sleepers, so don’t worry about that.

The Shape uses the red doors to move around the map quickly. Because of this the Shape is always only a few seconds away from showing up and ruining your day. It can also see in the dark a little, and is very persistent. It is possible to get away from the shape, but that is always temporary.

The Shape also has the ability to “beckon” to you, which it does if it can’t reach your position. You have to move (horizontally) to prevent being suppressed, so be wary of climbing long ladders while the Shape is pursuing you.

Most items will work on the Shape, with the exception of tranq darts/sleep traps. Any effect that would tranquilize the Shape stuns it instead. It can still be helpful, but it’s only temporary.

You can only see the Shape if you close your eyes. While your eyes are open, you can get a decent idea of the Shape’s position by listening for the loud sound and paying attention to the screen warping effect it causes.

If the Shape catches you, it’s game over. No tricks, no escapes, no second chances, you lose. Because of this, it’s vital to avoid summoning the Shape as much as possible, and to make a hasty exit whenever it does show up.

When Should I Use My Items?

Foam Canisters

Remember that foam canisters negate fall damage if you fall onto the foam. This can be useful for negating minor injuries, but you’ll want to keep one or two on hand for troublesome acoustic mines. Never waste them on sleepers, the stun just isn’t worth it.

Flashbangs

Useful for escaping from groups of enemies. Use only when they are already alerted. Keep a few on hand in case you get grabbed, and try not to waste them on acoustic mines unless absolutely necessary.

Energy Bars

Use whenever. You can only carry two and you find them a lot, just be careful you don’t alert enemies by sprinting. You might want to keep one handy just in case you need to escape the Shape and don’t have enough stamina.

Sleep Traps

If you have the crossbow, prioritize using these over shooting enemies if you can reach them. If multiple enemies are grouped up, you can tranq all of them with one trap. Place in areas you think a patrolling enemy might give you a lot of trouble (like say outside the destination room for Canceller missions, or near a sloppily hidden body.

You can also try and place one outside of a locked door, so that if anyone comes through from the other side they will be tranquilized before they can close the door. This won’t work if an enemy comes from the other direction.

Noisemakers

Use to pull enemies away from objective areas (or towards if you need to). Use to distract enemies that are cornering you. Use whenever, just try not to throw them at your feet.

Tranq darts

Use sparingly, on Lucids preferably. Try not to use these on normal sleepers unless absolutely necessary.

Lockpicks

Use to get into places you can’t get into without. If you have extra, use them to get into the school (otherwise you should go through the maze). Try not to waste them on front/back doors unless absolutely necessary.

Should I Worry About Bonus Evidence And How Do I Find It?

Bonus evidence spawns in a lot of places around the map, so it’s not really practical to try and find it all, especially at higher levels.

It can be worth taking a detour to search some of the most common bonus evidence spawn points around the map though. Which are;

  • Under the benches near Hoadly’s leap (a red briefcase).
  • On the tree near 921 Hoadly (the house with the scaffold) (missing poster)
  • In the back area behind the three upper Hoadly houses (1001, 1003, 1005), near the fire pit (red duffel bag on a chair)

These places tend to spawn bonus evidence more often than not. Apart from that, it’s not worth combing the map for bonus evidence except at very low levels.

Bonus evidence typically is red, and always has a filter applied over it. You just have to get close enough and hold right click to snap a picture.

What About Cursed Ciphers?

You should only worry about collecting cursed ciphers if you care about any of the special cosmetics earned through The Place Between. If you don’t care about your own appearance (and you’ll almost never see anything other than your shadow) then ignore them unless you want the challenge.

Curse of Paper Angels

This is the easiest curse. It has no discernible effect on gameplay unless the Shape is active, which you should be avoiding. There’s no strategy for dealing with this one because it’s so easy to deal with.

Curse of Hunger

This one is tougher. You’ll be constantly damaged over time, but heal to full when you jump on an enemy’s back, and get infinite stamina for a few seconds. The damage over time won’t kill you, but it will leave you with about 20% of your max stamina remaining.

This cipher can be a double-edged sword. It effectively makes bandages obsolete since you can heal to full just by jumping on enemies. Be careful though, if you do this too much the Shape will show up.

Curse of the Call

Every 10-30 seconds, your phone will start buzzing. After about five seconds you will emit a very loud noise. You can stop the noise by holding right click to ‘reset your phone’.

The faster you start the reset the faster the reset is, so you might want to just hold right click if your reaction time is poor. You can’t reset while doing virtually anything else, so be ready to drop what you’re doing and reset at a moments notice. By far the most annoying curse.

Curse of the Gorgon

Looking at enemies creates a bright light (this does not make you visible) and slowly damages you. Enemies in your extreme peripheral vision or far enough away don’t cause this effect. Tranquilized, grabbed, and pinned enemies also don’t cause this effect.

This is probably the hardest cipher. Try to avoid looking at enemies and keep a bandage on hand to offset the damage.

Curse of No More Shadows

A double edged sword, even moreso than Curse of Hunger. You take damage over time and are slowed significantly in darkness, but heal over time and move significantly faster while in light.

Just turn on your flashlight. Seriously. Press T, turn on your flashlight, and be prepared to deal with Lucids. In exchange, you get substantial regen and a hefty speed boost. Probably one of the easiest curses to exploit.

What do Ciphers Do?

Collecting any ciphers at all gives you 5% more exp and 10% more snacks, regardless of the amount of ciphers collected. You’ll also receive two special gestures and get the amount of ciphers you collected added to your total, which you can use to enter The Place Between and use the special gestures to claim cosmetic items. For a list of combinations, you’ll have to check the wiki.

What Am I Seeing / Hearing?

A weird square of static-y white with silhouettes of hands on it. Ominous musical wailing that fades in and out as I move around

  • That’s a Cursed Cipher.

A circle of orange on the ground

  • That’s a placed sleep trap.

Distinct Music

  • Some areas of the maze (the white room in Subliminal Media and Dream Therapy) have unique background music.

Weird breathy noises

  • The Plexus makes that noise.
  • But I’m not in the Plexus?
  • You can hear it behind the school too, and in some of the nearby rooms.

Weird buzzy noises

  • The vibrating disc at the top of the Nerve Center makes that noise.
  • But I’m not near the Nerve Center?
  • Then you might be hearing a speed trap.

Weird Beepy noises

  • Acoustic mine.

Loud echoing musical-esque guitar-like noises

  • Sleepers can pluck the strings in the maze to make those noises. Just cosmetic.

A slide-whistle like noise

  • That’s the sound Acoustic mines make when diabled.
  • But I didn’t disable any acoustic mines?
  • Sleepers can place acoustic mines sometimes. They can only have one out at a time, and if they place another the first one disappears, making that noise.

Wind-like noise that fades in and out as I move around

  • That’s entrance to the Place Between.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

  • If you ledge grab, it negates fall damage. You can exploit this to fall from high places without taking damage.
  • If you’re crouched, falling will make less noise. So will falling on soft terrain.
  • If you’re under the effect of an energy bar, you won’t stagger when taking fall damage.
  • Close your eyes. Seriously. Do it whenever you feel lost, whenever you’re going somewhere, close your eyes a lot to get the quickest route to your destination.
  • Don’t spend your Lights of Rebellion. If you’re lucky enough to get one of these, don’t spend it. You won’t get a response, and if you save them you can get Humble Rocks instead, which while not very useful at least have a use.
  • You can get into the treehouse by standing on the fence and jumping towards the ladder while spamming F. It’s a little finicky, but you can unroll the ladder this way and climb into the treehouse.
  • Sleep traps apply a tranq dart to everything in their radius when they go off.
  • …That includes speed traps and acoustic mines, which are destroyed (although these won’t trigger the traps themselves).
  • Humble rocks can disarm sleep traps and acoustic mines as well.
Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3012 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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