The late 1970s brought us many memorable (and some cringe-inducing) cultural elements, including the rudimentary first home PCs and Ridley Scott's classic movie Alien. Indie developer Benjy Bates is hoping to both recapture the nostalgia of that bygone area and scare the pants off while he's at it in the text-based horror trilogy The Outpost Nine, which has just debuted on Steam.
Aboard the titular outpost, a "lonely mining facility set on the small moon Cobalt Paradise," a skeleton team is preparing the station for the arrival of the rest of the crew when they receive a distress call from a nearby freighter. Upon investigating, "they find two pilots, one horribly disfigured yet alive and only the remains of the other." Unfortunately, it turns out that the surviving pilot is now "host to a bizarre and frightened parasite putting the crew in intense danger."
The Outpost Nine's distinctive presentation is designed to mimic antiquated computer screens. Cinematics play out like a visual novel, while the actual adventuring occurs in a top-down, point-and-click fashion. Player actions are "chosen through a menu, in a similar style to Snatcher or Policenauts." In navigating the facility, solving puzzles along the way, you must take care to evade the infected pilot. In a very Alien-esque fashion, this is done by "listening to the beeping of your motion scanner." When alerted that it's near, you have no choice but to find somewhere to hide – fast.
With three installments planned in total, the debut episode of The Outpost Nine is available now on Steam for Windows and Mac.