First posted on 07 December 2012. Last updated on 30 December 2012.
Primordia DVD Edition
The DVD Edition includes, in addition to the game, a MP3 soundtrack, a behind-the-scenes voice over video, and concept arts from the game.
Primordia is the debut game from indie developer Wormwood Studios, published as a joint venture with Wadjet Eye Games. The game is a collaborative creative effort between Victor Pflug, Mark Yohalem, and James Spanos from Wormwood Studios. Wadjet Eye Games, the publisher, provides voicing and sound design for the game.
Humans are no more! The human race has been extinct for millennia. The post-apocalyptic world that exists now is just a barren and desolate wasteland strewn with junk piles and rusted out machinery. There is no sign of life, even vegetation, anywhere. Metropol—the city of gas and light—is the only city remaining in existence, occupied by a race of robots without masters. Unfortunately, even Metropol is dying—power sources are drying up, and buildings are in near ruins. Metropol is controlled by an evil and seemingly omnipotent ruler named MetroMind, guarded by an equally ruthless killer robot named Scraper.
In Primordia, you play a humanoid robot named Horatio (Horatio Nullbuilt, version 5, to be precise), who must leave behind a stoic but carefree life in the wasteland in order to chase down a rogue robot who has stolen a power core that is keeping both him and his airship alive. Along with your flying robotic sidekick Crispin, you travel to Metropol to try to recover the stolen power core—but not before you discover the truth behind the demise of the human race and the nefarious plan that will destroy Metropol and all of its robotic inhabitants.
Primordia is a classic third-person, point-and-click adventure game. The game installs easily without any glitches. Upon starting the game, you are presented with the main menu from where you can select to Start Game, Load Game, or Exit.
The game begins with a cinematic cut scene. A spaceship is seen crossing the dark and somber skyline in the wasteland just outside of Metropol. Soon after landing, a large menacing robot appears out of the spaceship and approaches the UNNIIC, the wrecked airship that is home to Horatio and Crispin. Going down the hatch of the airship reveals a living quarter, a library, and an engineering room where the power core is located. Suddenly, Crispin calls out for help as the large robot, whom Crispin calls the Big Ugly, burns his way into the generator room with a laser beam. After uttering a few words that make little sense to Horatio, the robot promptly disables Horatio and steals the power core from his airship. Knowing that the airship will not function for long without power, Horatio and Crispin repair the emergency generator to temporarily restore power, after which they must travel to Metropol to try to recover the stolen power core and save the airship.
Primordia has an excellent and user-friendly interface. Left clicking the mouse navigates Horatio or commands Horatio to pick up or use an item. Right clicking instructs Horatio to examine an inventory item in detail. Once you have access to the coordinates of a location, you can use the map to travel back and forth to that location in subsequent visits. The game features a robust built-in hint system. If you are not progressing after a while, Crispin will automatically prompt you with hints on what to look for or what to do next. However, Crispin will sometimes give you a hint only after delivering a few wisecracks. Hovering the mouse over a hotspot will give a description of the item or location. You can access a dropdown menu by moving the mouse to the top of the screen. In addition to the system settings, this menu is also where you access the data collection screen that will automatically record all important clues, such as coordinates and numbers, which you may find in the game.
The production of Primordia is superb. The sci-fi plot is interesting, filled with mystery and suspense. As the story progresses, you learn more about the humans, the robots, and the city. The stylized artwork is exceptional, with good use of shades of brown, red, and yellow. Further, the deliberately muted palette that pervades the generally dark environments of Metropol befits the game's setting of a post-apocalyptic world. The interactions between the robot characters are often hilarious. The actors who voice these robots are able to give them their own unique characters. The cast even includes Dave Gilbert, founder of Wadjet Eye Games, who has a cameo role in the game. Crispin is voiced by Abe Goldfarb, whom many fans will recognize as the voice of Joey Malone in the Blackwell series. Horatio is voiced by Logan Cunningham, who is best known for his work as the narrator in Bastion.
If there is a criticism to be made about Primordia, it is the game's native low resolution of 320x200 pixels. The game uses the AGS (Adventure Game Studio) engine. By default, a 2x graphics filter is applied by the engine to increase the resolution to 640x400 pixels. Oddly, there is no option within the game's main menu to change the resolution, which can only be changed by running winsetup.exe outside the game. Even with the upscaled graphics, some scenes look overly pixelated, which in turn makes some items harder to find than they need to be against an equally blurry background.
The ambient music in Primordia complements the game's settings perfectly. It is eerie in some parts but mysterious and dramatic in others. The ambient sound effects of the wasteland and cityscape are also well done.
You can save your progress at anytime during the game. There is no limit to the number of saves that you can make. Although you cannot die in the game, it is advisable that you make regular saves to avoid unnecessary backtracking.
I quite enjoy the variety of puzzles in Primordia. Some puzzles are standalone fetch quests for inventory items, while other puzzles require clever combining of inventory items. There are also a few relatively simple logic puzzles. Gameplay is mostly linear. At the beginning of the game, you have to find certain items to fix the emergency generator. Later in the game, once you arrive at Metropol, you have to complete certain tasks in order before you can meet up with MetroMind.
In sum, Primordia is an appealing and family friendly adventure game with an endearing storyline and an engaging cast of characters. The game is a great first effort by Wormwood Studios and a definite thumbs-up for any adventure game fan.