Developers Wadjet Eye Games are leaders of the retro adventure game resurrection, with hit titles such as Gemini Rue and the Blackwell collection melding smart, twisting plots and deep characters with pleasing original old-school graphics. Next up is Primordia, a complex sci-fi tale that casts you as a robot called Horatio in a world where humans are seemingly extinct. We recently had the chance to play a preview copy and already can’t wait to blast through the final version, to see where the nutty story takes us...
Primordia’s dystopian world reminded us of classic techno-thrillers such as Beneath a Steel Sky, filled with grimy metal environments packed with broken machinery and futuristic technology. The difference here is that there’s no humans to be found. In fact, the only ‘lifeforms’ knocking around at the start are Horatio and his sidekick Crispin, a floating wise-arse who Horatio built from scrap. Aside from constantly lamenting his lack of arms and legs, Crispin provides the occasional hint or assistance, as well as a great deal of sarcasm.
We join our heroes as their home (a broken old spaceship) is invaded by a mysterious mechanical monstrosity, who lays out poor old Horatio before nicking their only power source and vanishing amongst the junk heaps. With mere hours of energy remaining before their batteries are fully discharged, Horatio and Crispin have to first resurrect their back-up generator, then take off in pursuit of their assailant to recover the power core.
As usual, Wadjet Eye does a marvellous job of introducing the characters and plot without resorting to a lengthy intro filled with back story. We gradually learn about Horatio’s world and his ‘purpose’ as we play the game, with only a scant few cut-scenes to disrupt the gameplay. This is an old-school adventure through and through, with static 2D environments for you to click your way through, and a map of locations which expands as you explore Primordia’s universe. You can examine objects, combine them, and even use Crispin on them in some instances. It’s a sleek, intuitive interface that allows you to just get on with playing the game.
We’ve only played a small portion of the game, but already the story has us gripped and the few characters we’ve met have been unique and personable, despite being made from a few chunks of metal. The puzzles so far have had a technological slant, involving scavenging for parts and repairing broken machinery. They fit perfectly with the game’s world and theme, although can see them putting off non-techy adventure gamers who prefer more traditional brain ticklers. Personally, we enjoyed Primordia’s puzzles, which offer a worthy challenge and make you feel suitably smart when you finally solve them.
Primordia is out in December, stay tuned for a full review!