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Note: This is not a
review, but merely my musings after having recently completed a game
as part of my Rogue's
Adventures playthrough of my backlog.
@RoguesAdventure to keep up with my
playthroughs and check out my live streams at twitch.tv/gorbash722.
December 5, 2012
Eye Games are not nearly as well known or prolific as bigger
adventure game developers and publishers like Daedalic Entertainment
and Telltale Games, but are no less beloved by hardcore fans of the
genre. By hardcore I mean gamers that enjoy clever puzzles, a
gripping narrative, and a fascinating world or setting to explore -
everything that continue to makes the traditional point and click
adventure game so compelling. Primordia, developed by Wormwood
Studios, is a fantastic example of everything I love about the genre
- minus the terribly aging Adventure Game Studio engine and low
in Season One of Rogue's Adventures I played through Resonance, my
first Wadjet Eye published game. I quickly fell in love with it, and
even found the retro pixel graphics endearing, having grown up in
that VGA era of adventure gaming. I was excited to pick up and play
Primordia when it was released at the end of 2012, but adventure
games are easily regulated to the backlog where they have to be
scheduled to get played! Thankfully I've finally gotten around to
Primordia, and it's another fantastic offering.
tells the post-apocalyptic story of a robot, Horatio, living in a
broken down spaceship in the junk filled desert wasteland that is
Earth. The humans are gone, leaving only robots behind. Horatio
believes staunchly in Humanism and carries around the Gospel of Man -
believing Man to be their creators and that one day they'll return.
The narrative kicks off when a menacing excavation bot breaks in and
steals the ship's power core, causing Horatio and his wise-cracking
floating robot pal Crispin to set off on a journey to recover it,
eventually taking them to the last city of Metropol and the dangers
that lurk within.
setting is instantly more interesting and compelling than Resonance's
vague near-future, and I'm particularly a fan of post-apocalyptic
tales. Plus, robots! Horatio is voiced by the amazingly gravelly
Logan Cunnigham, whom you might remember from such games as Bastion
(he also voiced one of the main characters in Resonance).
quickly became one of my favorite gaming sidekicks - a great
example of a comic relief character who works well both in the story
and in gameplay helping to solve puzzles and nicely providing in-game
hints. Horatio is serious and mysterious, so Crispin's humorous foil
is a perfect match.
gameplay is standard to any point and click adventure, but is
hampered by the incredibly low resolution of the Adventure Game
Studio engine and necessitates some annoying pixel hunting. It
doesn't help that the art style is made up entirely of reds and
browns. While it fits perfectly with the setting and theme of the
world, it makes various areas look a bit same-y. Pixel hunting is
never very fun and I never considered it a puzzle; when given the
option I always opt to turn on the ability to highlight hotspots. No
such convenience here, and at least at one point I became quite stuck
simply because I didn't realize I could interact with a sewer cover
on the street.
actual graphics I can appreciate, and I kind of love that retro pixel
style. The animations are limited, and there aren't even any close up
portraits during dialogue scenes. A few limited cutscenes help break
up the action, and the story certainly manages to tell its share of
exciting moments - from being dramatically rescued from zombified
robots (mmeeeemmmorrrryyyyy) to the multiple endings. Locations vary
nicely initially; the first Act draws you into the world as Horatio
explores the dunes and wastes around him, including the inside of a
giant half-buried robot before reaching the "City of Glass and
Light" known as Metropol in Act 2.
is fun to explore, even though it's only a few screens. Robots wander
the streets and numerous puzzles are waiting to be solved. Thankfully
the goals are always fairly clear - get into the courthouse, help
the robots in line with their various problems, get into the
underworks, etc. A nice in-game note taking system is represented by
Horatio's data pouch, and I was super pleased to also find a fast
travel map system - a relief when you constantly have to return to
Metropol serves as the last destination and setting for the reminder
of the game. While new areas open up - the underworks and the final
central tower, I spent most of my time going back and forth between
the same few screens. It was disappointing as I wanted to explore so
much more of this intriguing world and city, though I still very much
enjoyed my time solving puzzles and unearthing more of the world's
mysterious past and Metromind's rise to power.
story is a bit short; I usually find 10 hours to be a sweet spot for
adventure games, but Primorida clocks in at 6 or 7, and that's with
getting quite stuck at a few devious puzzles. Like Resonance, the
puzzle designs are fantastic and a great mix between standard
inventory puzzles and clever logic ones. A memorable one was
following the trail of clues through a word search kiosk, deciphering
the word puzzles to get the next word to move on.
Other fun moments
included a barter-friendly merchant that had some enjoyable game
references (describing the half-life of a crowbar and willing to
trade his water chip for a G.E.C.K) and letting Crispin practice his
pick-up lines on a lamp. Crispin became an invaluable source - not
only with his funny non-sequitors and commentary but in giving subtle
(and not so subtle) hints as to the current puzzle or gentle shove in
the direction or task we should be heading for. Plus, he could always
be used to nudge out of reach objects.
you can get past the nostalgic but brown low-res pixelated graphics
you'll find a wonderful balance of story, world-building and
excellent puzzles wrapped up in a tight package. An atmospheric
soundtrack and sublime voice acting are icing on the robo-cake. While
Primordia lacks the emotional punch and jaw-dropping moments of
Resonance, I did enjoy the world and characters more, and ultimately
still haven't made up my mind which I like best. I'm confident in
declaring that Wadjet Eye definitely has an eye for talented retro
adventure games (and Wormwood Studios for making them), and I'd be
thrilled if they could get the budget to produce one of their
excellent productions in a modern engine.
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