Primordia

User Rating: 6 | Primordia PC

Primordia is a dystopian point and click adventure published by Wadjet Eye games. Dave Gilbert would have sorted out the voice acting because you have returning names like Logan Cunningham, Sarah Elmaleh, and Abe Goldfarb.

Horatio (who has a human-like appearance; until you see a cut-scene of his face) is a robot scavenger, with his floating-orb robot companion Crispin. An aggressive robot takes his ship's powercore, leaving him stranded. His aim is to track down the thief and reclaim his powercore.

I know it's a dystopian world, but there's not many interesting scenes. Early on, the large ruined robot is the most interesting, but then you have a shrine with a bomb, a bomb shelter, Horatio’s ship “The U.N.N.I.I.C”, and a scrap yard. Later on, you reach the main city; but a few streets and an underground isn't an improvement, and still features the dull colour palette of brown, reds and blacks. The graphical style is heavily pixelated and doesn't look great.

I felt the story wasn't delivered well. There's some world-building like Horatio's bible which depicts a religion worshipping human creators, whereas other robots have robot creators. Their surnames reflect this. Horatio has a mysterious past so is known as "Null built", whereas Crispin is "Horatio Built". Some robots seem to not believe in the human creators. I feel like I didn't quite understand some of the revelations near the end, even if there's exposition to try and tell you. I felt like there wasn’t enough emphasis on certain aspects to lead up to it. So often, you are told something basic, hours pass, then you are given a twist on something that you had little knowledge of to begin with.

The game has multiple endings, most depending on how you act in the final encounter. There are some variations based on some earlier events.

Crispin can be used as an inventory item to tell him to interact with objects in the scene. You can also talk to Crispin to give hints if you want them. A running joke is how Crispin desires arms but Horatio never gave him them. Early on you send him in a tube to drag out an item for you. Later on, you give him a cable to take to the floor above to tie it and create a rope that you can climb up. How does he take it up there? How does he tie it securely?

Aspects like that mean some puzzles aren't obvious but I felt like they weren’t the much maligned "moon logic" style puzzles. It's more like your interpretation of the world is not quite aligned with the developers. There is one commentary from the developer where he remarks that the grease is sticky, but the play-testers thought the grease should be slippery. So when you had to find something to hold a grenade in place, the testers tried to place the grenade in the nearby corpse's pocket to hold it, rather than dip it in grease. He didn’t change it though.

The game suffers from this more frequently towards the end, where some of the puzzles are a bit cryptic or not enough reminders. Like you find a medal and should give it to the owner, but if he told you he had lost a medal, it would have been a few hours prior and never mentioned again - so I had long forgotten. It's not mandatory, unless you want him to solve a number puzzle for you, but understanding how to go about solving the number puzzle yourself seems a bit of a leap, even if you ask Crispin for advice multiple times to give you the hint.

There are some dialogue puzzles where you can fail and it won't let you try them again - so you cannot just trail-and-error your way through. Sure, you could just save and reload, or go with the game and go do the alternate task instead.

The datapad item tracks objectives, as well as some other useless info. There's quite a few puzzles involving entering numbers (co-ordinates, door codes, launch codes), so the datapad stores these once you learn them.

Travelling between areas is fast since you can quick-travel with the map at any point, rather than moving to the edge of the screen and clicking a prompt. This is a welcome feature.

I feel like the best point-and-clicks have interesting and memorable lead and supporting characters. They also either have a strong plot, or sub-plots to keep the story moving forward. I feel like I won't remember any of these characters, and felt the plot wasn't well-paced to keep me intrigued. It's not a terrible game but I feel it misses the mark.