Primordia

Primordia is an old-school point-and-click adventure game and I’m a sucker for those. Gabriel Knight is still one of my favorite games of all times, and I loved the Blackwell series. Let’s have a look.

Primordia Plot

In the future, the age of man has ended. That age, now only known as ‘Primordia’ is in the far past. Humans are gone, and only their robotic creations and their descendants remain. One such robot, Horatio Nullbuilt version 5, lives in a wasteland in a crashed airship, the ‘UNIIC’.

Horatio has created a sidekick to help him, Crispin Horatiobuilt. Together, they are trying to repair the ship they live in.

One day, a large robot breaks in, steals their power core, and shoots Horatio. The pair set out on a quest to retrieve their core. This quest takes them to places they had not anticipated and involves them in the complicated history leading back to the age of man.

Characters

Horatio is a pretty single-minded protagonist. He wants his power core, and he wants to be left alone to work on his ship. Still, you quickly pick up his Gospel of Man from his night stand and have options to help others. His past is unclear, and his epitaph ‘nullbuilt’ hints at a mystery. A mystery that is eventually revealed.

Crispin is the sarcastic side-kick you can only love. He can fly and can help Horatio out to reach certain places, but has no arms. That doesn’t stop him from speaking his mind and constantly berating Horatio, or pushing him on. All in all, he’s a fun character.

The gameplay

I love point-and-click adventures. They are very story- and character-centric, when done right. To make the game challenging, developers do tend to include ridiculously convoluted puzzles, or actual puzzle-mini-games. I don’t mind the first, although in a serious game this can become grating. The second, I dislike. I didn’t like Myst, nor most of its progeny.

Luckily, Primordia doesn’t fall into the first trap, and only brushes close to the second. Most puzzles can be solved logically, and they are built around the problems of resource scarcity which fit the post-apocalyptic setting. There are some puzzles which feature actual puzzles, and I had to grab a pen and paper to solve one or two of them, which I hate. I know I can solve puzzles like that when I put my mind to it, but actually doing it is a chore that diverts from the story.

It’s like writing a book in code so it lasts longer because the reader has to decipher it first. Yeah, the book would last longer, but it wouldn’t make it better.

I also disliked the many endings. A good story deserves a good climax that builds on the rest of the story. By allowing the player a host of choices that completely changes the ending, you’re cheapening it. A game like Heavy Rain, flawed as it is, makes the multiple endings a result of choices earlier in the game. That’s more work, but makes for a better experience.

Verdict

If you like old-school adventure games, you’ll like this one. It’s a good game.

If you don’t like pixelated graphics, or convoluted story puzzles, you should steer clear.

Author: Martin Stellinga

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands