Blackout Protocol is a newly-released roguelike from Ocean Dive Studio that combines elements third-person shooting, roguelike elements, and horror. Players take on the role of newly recruited security personnel for a corporation whose research base has been overrun by zombies and mercenaries. The game is built for 3-player online co-op, and it already plays really well, despite some balance issues.
After completing a brief single-player tutorial, players will have the option of jumping into an online game or hosting one of their own. Blackout Protocol can be played single-player, but it's absolutely balanced for co-op, so solo players will have a tough time of things. From the interactive lobby area, the team selects their characters and then proceeds into the parking lot of the S2P Corporate headquarters, and the run begins.
Blackout Protocol is a top-down third-person shooter. The game has real horror vibes thanks to its dark environments (which can be illuminated by players' flashlights) and aggressive zombie enemies. Ammunition is fairly limited, so the heroes can't just fire blindly all the time. Levels do feature new weapons and randomized upgrades to find that will help for the duration of the run, of course. Weapon blueprints and a currency called "Data Nugs" can be spent on permanent upgrades, but only if the team makes it to the safe room at the end of a level. Players don't get anything if they die before reaching a safe room.
- 4 characters, more will be added during the Early Access campaign.
- 5 levels: Parking Lot, Lobby, Office, Warehouse, Isolation Chamber (Boss). More will be added during the Early Access campaign.
- Reworked balancing for difficulty levels and party size. The balancing will continue to be tweaked based on players’ feedback.
- Introducing a whole new mode in beta state: Swarm Defense Mode
- Fully voiced in English!
We spent some time playing Blackout Protocol in co-op and came away impressed. The game has a bit of a Helldivers feel to it due to the way the weapons feel and the presence of friendly fire. I wouldn't mind the option to disable friendly fire, but it certainly encourages careful play. The metagame elements are great so far - unlocking new weapons and upgrades for future runs is quite addictive. The difficulty is on the high side, so beginning teams will fail a lot, but you'll still have an easier time on future runs as long as you get those upgrades.
On the downside, movement speed is annoyingly slow at present. Zombies are fast and difficult to dodge (the roll move takes time to recharge), and players just move unusually slow, which feels unfair. Grenade use is also clunky at present, with players forced to slowly switch to grenades and then throw them rather than using a dedicated grenade button. This is an Early Access game, though, so we trust that some of the kinks will be worked out in future updates. If you like a challenge, there's no need to wait for the full release; it's already a blast.
Blackout Protocol costs $12.99 on Steam, but it's currently on sale for 25 percent off until July 26. The game is Steam Deck compatible, though text is a bit small for the screen.