The future of mankind is a very tangible subject that can be argued from hundreds of different perspectives, many with conflicting opinions, but there is one question that is universally asked amongst the scholars and scientists alike: what will happen to the legacy we leave behind? This is the premise with indie adventure game Primordia; set in a future world where humans are extinct save for scant traces of our civilisation and the logical processors implanted within our robotic successors.
Developed by a mere team of four people, Primordia is a dictionary definition of indie gaming; hailing back to the classic point-and-click style gameplay that has somewhat been stripped from modern gaming due to a misguided belief of it being out of date. Rather ironic when you consider Primordia’s futuristic subject material. The game opens with mechanical protagonist Horatio, and his rather mouthy companion Crispin, disturbed by an unknown entity breaking into their rag-tag home. Pursuit of the intruder reveals it to be a mysterious robot intent on stealing their only power source which when confronted, launches into an attack to cover its tracks. As a result, after having their place of rest turned to ruin, the chrome-plated duo set out on a wild journey to salvage repair materials and maybe, just maybe, learn a little more about each other along the way.
Immediately upon starting the game you’ll be impressed by the unique art style that Primordia employs; it oozes a distinct personality and the intricate character design of Horatio and the world around him just shows how much effort has been put into making this world without humans surprisingly…human. The game’s interface is a charming nod to adventure games that have come and gone previously. With its simplicity, navigating menus is never a problem and finding what you want is never a hassle, but and this is a rather large but, it takes quite some time to read anything on Horatio’s data pad, due to the fact that only a few words fit on screen at any one time. This can turn into a real pain when there are some lengthy reads which become even longer because of these limitations.
That being said finding things in the world can sometimes be a real challenge, not because of how hard it is to actually locate them, but by how the game’s cold logic can often take time to get accustomed to. While this isn’t really a complaint nor does it detract from the overall experience, it should be noted that the steep logic curve in Primordia may well discourage a lot of the duller, simpler minded audience from the onset. Then again this could have been intended due to the fact that old adventure games have always required a quick and sharp mind. If you’re looking to get into this game then bring a notepad or develop a photographic memory! You can still solve many of the game’s puzzles with a few different methods, adding some replay value, but the challenge is still most certainly there for those unfamiliar with the genre.
Just keep in mind that when you’re listening to the characters in the game talk to you about the world and environments around them, don’t just mindlessly click through their speeches or you’ll be left in the dust, scratching your noggin’ when it comes to the subsequent puzzles. Thinking about characters, you meet some fantastic folks on your travels. For example a pair of robots fighting over their rights to name a smaller machine the both had created, almost like a pair of bickering parents arguing on what name to give their child. Despite Horatio’s dry and often killjoy nature, you’re given a nice balance with Crispin and the amusing banter he shares. With humorous writing and some much personalised dialogue, these like every other character, all come off as brilliant personas that you will remember long after your encounters with.
The niggles that I do have with the game are mostly based on animations and how clunky they can look. Horatio moves with a very awkward walk and climbs with even more stiffness, unfortunately all of the characters share the same fault, which is a massive shame! It just seems like something that they could have focused on polishing especially considering the length of the game. Clocking in at around 5-7 hours, depending on the logic and reasoning skills you possess, the game doesn’t outstay its welcome even with some visual flickers. It also feels like they could have fleshed out the character development a bit more throughout the game, as it feels almost as if it were second place towards the end. Not neglected but certainly not as prominent as it had been at the start of the game.
When looking at these minor complaints in retrospect, it just feels like Primordia could have benefited from a few more months in development, just so everyone could have spent a smidge longer on perfecting what they were working on; smoother character animations, a story that flows and maybe add a few different colours to the palette of brown and grey, as fitting as it is.
Despite the colours, Primordia ultimately works well and leaves you with a rainbow of different feelings that will stay with you long after the experience. Its problems don’t overpower its splendour, but do bother you enough to sometimes take you out of the world, even if it is a rare occurrence. It is worth enduring those small moments of awkward movement and frustrating puzzling so you can power through and admire the lovely pixel art, the fantastic voice acting and the ending that gave, me at least, a strong sense of achievement.