In a world where machines carry on the legacy of Mankind, what could be more interesting then realizing the flukes in logic when logic becomes oppressive and emotionless, and faith a relic of a half-destroyed, post-apocalyptic world? Well, Primordia hopes to give one tentative example of one robot’s quest to regain his ship’s power core, while uncovering the remnants of Man’s fall into extinction.
Primordia pits you after the fact, when Mankind is a briefly discussed legend, written in historical gospels as the mythical “All-Builder” who made robots in his image to create and serve with him in a glorious existence, only to leave their creations behind to fend for themselves on a dying, desert world. In this world, machines and robots are the only remnants of anything remotely living, scavenging old bunkers and a dune-like landscape for parts and power. As Horatio Nullbuit, version 5, you are going about your existence as a mechanic to a downed ship you hope to repair to it’s former glory when you are attacked by a mysterious, single-minded robot, and are left without your ship’s power core, pushed to solve various logic puzzles while in search of this seemingly malevolent robot and your missing power core.
Along the way, you’ll meet both friend and foe, with a quirky floating robot named Crispin, who gives you hints and sarcastic banter a-plenty. The desert is a harsh world, with ruins of the old world scattered throughout. You’ll be left to your wits, using your own brain power to figure out various logic problems to help in your quest.
The game is a call back to the classic formula of point-and-click 2D adventure games, painting a beautifully stylized world of desolation. From the earthen tones of a remote junkyard within the Dunes, to a reds and greens of a rusting, decrepit city whose ruling AI permeates the idea of logic and progress, while in an effort to destroy the only remaining religion of “Humanism”, you’ll visit many lovingly-crafted areas, slowly making your way through a landscape that is harsh, yet a wonder to behold. Over all of this is music that paints the mood for each scene in a low, ambient and echoing electronic resonance.
The story itself is also an interesting argument between a merciful, if naïve and unclear faith in one’s own moral code, and the cold logic of an unfeeling and cunning logic that believes progress is the only true goal, and all else is faulty and disposable. The mediator of morality and faith, Horatio, will be lead to become the crux of how this world should progress, using both logic and his Humanist-centered moral core to define how various decisions are made… And you will be given decisions in this game.
The game length itself is of a span of about 6 – 8 hours, and there are a few glitches here and there, mainly around the wonky inventory system and sub-windows that open within the game, leading to either a mild case of being unable to close a window while navigating a screen, to the always prevalent crash that forces you to restart the game. This happened a bit more than I cared for, so be ready for it. The gameplay is what you would expect in a point-and-click, puzzle-centric game, employing the usual use this on that logic, while at the same time, introducing some other puzzles involving decoding text and being presented with logic problems by other robots, affecting the world in various ways, and unlocking new avenues of progress. As stated before, you’ll have a witty and sarcastic floating robot named Crispin to lend hints when asked, though don’t expect his hints to pop up constantly, as clicking on him repeatedly will cause him to start making jokes and sarcastic remarks about you constantly asking him for ideas.
Also, expect to be mulling through sub-windows within the game itself, as the pop-up over the game, giving you further objects to use. You’ll be given a Data Pouch that will essentially act as your log book for Data, sometimes holding key clues to how you should approach a given puzzle. This data pouch will also supply you with a map for fast-travel if you aren’t keen on clicking a bunch of screens to get to a point you’ve already been to 10-times over. It’s simple, quick, and usually gets you where you need to go.
All-in-all, this is a nice return to form with an elegantly crafted, story-driven game, that’s simple and readily capable of running on any current machine. You can pick it up on Steam or GoG.com, and there’s a Demo available from their website. Give it a spin, and enjoy the ride!