The world is destroyed. Mankind is extinct. Yet after generations in the ruins of war and wires, robots look to man as a god-like entity. Man built the original machines, and those machines built other machines in turn. Yet, with every generation the creations are less perfect. Thus, in the eyes of the robots, man was the original machine, perfect and with unlimited memory.
Robots are set to follow in the footsteps of man, building and maintaining the creations that were left behind. Yet there is more to this world than just religious robots in a wasteland. The moon is waning, and power is the most sought after resource in this world of machines. This is the setting for Primordia, a point-and-click adventure game from Wadget Eye Games.
You play as Horatio Nullbuilt (the last names of robots tells who built them), a robot in his fifth version who can’t recall his prior versions and spends his time in the wasteland studying the Book of Man and salvaging scrap to add to his creations. Your sidekick is Crispin Horatiobuilt, a hovering droid with a sense of humor (not Jar Jar humor. He’s more like the Max to your Sam).
The ship you’ve turned into a home is raided by a robot that shoots you and steals your power core. Facing death as you and your floating sidekick slowly run out of energy, you set off to reclaim what was stolen from you, embarking on an adventure across the wasteland and into the last city of Metropol.
Metropol is a place that promises unlimited energy and safe haven to all robots—a welcomed refuge from the wastelands where dwindling power means the end of a robot’s life. You soon find, however, that all is not right in this promised city of glass and energy. Talk about man is forbidden, those who remember man are forced to erase the files, and “superstitious” items like the Book of Man are confiscated upon arrival. Megacycles are payment to enter the city, which feed the memory of its overmind—a dictatorial machine known as Metromind.
You uncover a story of betrayal and epic battles, corrupt politics in the world of machines, and the last battles of man. Whether in film or in a game, Primordia is one of the one deepest sci-fi stories that’s been told in years.
My only complaint was that the game felt somewhat short (expect 5 to 7 hours if you don’t get stuck on many puzzles). There were plenty of spots in the wasteland and in Metropol for you to explore, but it could have benefited from one more primary location.
In terms of gameplay, Primordia is a fantastic point-and-click adventure game, following well the tradition of Wadget Eye Games (Resonance, Gemini Rue, Blackwell Deception) that captures the look and feel of the 90s classics (the Sam & Max, King’s Quest VI, Beneath a Steel Sky, Space Quest VI era).
It mainly sticks to game mechanics of the old old-school p&c adventure games. There isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking—like the memory system in Resonance or the psychic powers of Cognition—but with a few tricks of its own.
Many puzzles are solved using items already in your inventory, which makes you think differently about what you already have and reduces the “go find this” grind that sometimes overcomes adventure games.
It also offers multiple paths to completing some of the puzzles, and a very large collection of endings (several good, some in the middle, and a couple bad ones). You actually have choices in Primordia. Would I rather crack this code myself or have my bot fly over and decode it? Do I want to restore this machine or destroy it? There aren’t a ton of branching paths (until the very end), but there is enough to give the game a very open feel.
Yet, where Primordia’s gameplay really shines is in its characters. They are as diverse as can be. There is Goliath, the giant machine buried in the sand with his virus-ridden serverbots tinkering in his mind; Ever-Faithful Leobuilt is a religious robot guarding a bomb in the wasteland. There are musical fractal-bots, sketchy traders, lost war machines, zombie-like shells, and others that move about the city and make the game feel very much alive.
Each of these bots has a personality that is all their own, a history that gives them depth, and intertwining relations that round out their characters. Some are locked to their code. Some are slaves to a master bot. Others are free to do as they will.
Voices are just as diverse, and the creators did a great job on voice acting. Some sound like text-to-speech robots, some more human, some like proper British gentlemen. There are machines that beep and process data, others that sound wise and powerful. Talking to characters never seems like a chore.
Speaking of sound, Primordia has an atmospheric soundtrack reminiscent of Blade Runner. It’s very subtle and diverse, lending well to the different environments, interactions, and events.
The graphics are slightly pixelated, but also detailed. Again, Primorida goes for that 90s adventure game feel, and graphics hit the mark. But on its own, it’s also a very interesting game to look at. It has a very unique art style, with a 1930s cyberpunk post-apocalyptic look. Environments are detailed and diverse, but not so complex that it’s hard to find objects or characters.
My only gripe with the graphics was a slight glitch in one part of Metropol that had robots walking through each other at times.
Overall though, Primorida is a welcomed addition to the world of gaming and sci-fi. It carries the deeply philosophical story that sci-fi films once had, and coupled with a unique art style, loads of eccentric characters, and fun gameplay, this is a must-have. I hope Primoria is the first of many set in this fantastically imagined world.