The horrors of space have always been on the minds of storytellers, with the idea of the unknown and that something could be out there. This is the premise of The Outpost Nine: Eight Crew. One Visitor.
Developed by Benjy Bates and published by Sedoc LLC, both involved in games like Slime CCG and Fugue In Void, The Outpost Nine is a new horror text adventure, with currently one episode out.
…No One Can Hear You Scream
At the forefront of this story is Captain Omaha of the Outpost mining crew – on the small moon ‘Cobalt Paradise’. Along with seven other crew, Omaha comes across a distress signal from a passing ship and is given orders to let the ship on board.
Without spoiling too much of the plot, we meet two pilots: one whose torn remains are left scattered across the ship and the disfigured other who pleads for your help.
This is where things really go wrong.
Focus On The Screen
The story is told in the style of an antiquated computer. It’s like you’re sat at a desk, watching the events carried out before you through the screen. If you think of the technology inThe Thing and Alien, that’s the kind of computer graphics you will get to experience in The Outpost Nine.
Sometimes, you are watching the events and conversations carry out before you, and you click to progress through the story; other times you are given the freedom to investigate a room, solve puzzles, and control the movement of Omaha. However, because of the Point and Click style, this game is very much driven by its story over gameplay.
In my opinion, the visual style is very fitting and – alongside the atmospheric soundtrack that comes with it – makes the game engaging and suitable for the era it’s trying to recreate.
After waking up, you discover horrific events have occurred whilst you were unconscious. With a monster on the loose, your only goal is to reach the transport shuttle to escape. You can only move through the map by solving puzzles and looking for clues. This is the only part of the game where you are in complete control of where you go, what happens, and where you can’t pause to take a break.
As you’re trying to find the transport shuttle, though, the monster is chasing you. You can avoid it is by using a tracking device that beeps faster when the monster is nearby and by hiding in certain areas. If any of you have played Alien: Isolation, escaping the Xenomorph is similar to escaping the monster in The Outpost Nine. This scene is definitely a big change of pace and, with the surprise ending, a great way to propel the episode.
System Update 9%
Still, I won’t lie: there’s a few flaws in The Outpost Nine. Episode One felt similar to any other horror film with a similar narrative: a crew in space find a passing ship, they explore it, they bring back something which could contaminate everyone or cause danger, said danger happens, and the protagonist is the only hope of survival.
Additionally, despite the game being advertised as a Visual Novel, there are a few spelling and grammar mistakes that are quite obvious, and some words tend to repeat themselves.
However, with a few updates, this project could easily pick up the pace and improve. Among other things, in Episode Two, I would like to see a shift in the story that can help separate this plot from what you see in the Alien franchise or The Thing.
Hoping it happens, I recommend you visit Outpost Nine’s Steam page and check this potential gem out for yourselves!