When I wrote earlier previewing Primordia, I said Christmas was coming early for fans of the classic adventure game genre. After playing through the complete version, I can comfortably repeat that. With emphasis.
We join our hero Horatio, a robotic hermit living in the wastes. He and his floating companion Crispin, who functions as the witty sidekick and (sometimes) helpful hint system, eke out a living scrounging junk. Their home is attacked and power source stolen, forcing Horatio to come back into the world. As Horatio pursues his missing power source, he learns about the missing race of man, his past, and the wars that swept civilization from most of the planet.
Read our full Primordia review after the break.
While the earlier part of the game takes place in a junk-sprinkled wasteland, Horatio’s journey brings you to Metropol. The city, described as a shining beacon of glass and steel, holds the secrets Horatio searches for in its rusted heart.
As with many adventure games, Primordia’s gameplay focuses on solving puzzles by using items and getting clues from non-player characters, but that’s not all you’ll be doing. To progress, you’ll have to combine items, sort out some rather tricky logic and visual puzzles, and avoid more than a few red herrings.
As much as I enjoyed Primorida’s story, the characters are what bring life to this world. Every robot from the loquacious peddler to the deranged preacher to the nameless, voiceless Star Wars-esque box droids wandering city streets have their own personality. Some offer a disturbing look into the life of a robot living in a decaying world of scrap, others are there to drop a few hints or grumble about the general state of things.
Another unusual addition Primordia adds to the genre is multiple endings. As far as I can tell your actions leading up to the final confrontation have little outcome on the final scenario, however if you explore your options, you’ll find a number of different endings (I found five!). Hint: save before getting in that elevator.
GRAPHICS – The world of primordial is dusty and rusty. Even the thriving metropolis of Metropol has become a sagging ruin squatting on a scrap heap. Love the dystopian feel and the Mars-like world.
It’s interesting to note that the pixilated, retro look of the game is a deliberate artistic choice. Take a look over at artist Victor Pflug’s guide to making sprites for the game. The character shown, a very minor one, is cleanly drawn and has more detail before being compressed into sprite form. If the character shown is any indication of the art behind the game, I’d certainly be interested in playing through an updated, slightly less retro version of Primordia.
AUDIO – The sounds of Primordia certainly fit. The spartan, dystopian soundtrack is occasionally punctuated by a mournful desert wind, clicking-whirr of a hard-drive booting, or BZZT of a circuit dying.
Primodia’s voice acting is done very well. Each character’s personality is augmented with very distinct ways of speaking, giving a sense of just how diverse the population of this world had been.
+ Impressive visuals and story
+ An entertaining variety of characters
+ A Blade Runner-esque soundtrack
+ Built in fast travel system
+ Smart and funny hint system
– Length, by the end of Primorida I found myself wanting more
– Sometimes frustrating puzzles
Primordia is an inexpensive way to sate the need for an old school adventure game. The story, setting and characters all fit together in a way that’s sure to please any cyberpunk enthusiast. If there’s a lesson to learn from this game, it’s click on everything and always, ALWAYS carry a plasma torch.