Having massively declined in popularity since the 90’s, it’s great to see a beloved genre such as Point And Click Adventure games make a significant return to the market following Telltale’s success with The Walking Dead. Released at the back-end of 2012 comes ‘Primordia’, a game developed by Wormwood Studios that takes place within a dark post-apocalyptic setting. Does this title deliver with an interesting narrative, and importantly, does it prove once again that Point And Click Adventure games still have relevance in the gaming world?
While ‘post-apocalyptic’ settings appear to be the new videogame fad, Primordia is able to stand-out from the crowd. Wormwood Studios goes far to reinvigorate this type of setting and presents players with a world that feels fresh and original. Set in a far distant future where robots are the only inhabitants, the two protagonists: Horatio and Crispin live out their lives in a desolate wasteland. When they are rudely attacked and their power core stolen from the crashed ship that sustains them, the two set off in search for their attacker. For what starts off as a simple hunt for their stolen property, the two end up getting wound up in something much bigger. While the story idea sounds rather cliché and generic, it takes to a different direction rather quickly, leading to something much more than you expect from the offset. The story builds up a lot in the latter stages of the game, but unfortunately it ends rather abruptly and for such a great narrative, this wounds the game significantly. I felt like there could have been more to it to really make the climax pay off properly. It is however great that there are multiple endings depending on the players final choice, and scattered throughout the story there are multiple ways to solve the puzzles, making the game feel less linear.
The game world is the biggest star of the game though, and without wanting to spoil it for the player, there is a tonne of history, and an entire religion built around it, not to mention a superb array of characters that the player meets within it. The studio should hold their heads high knowing they have created such a great and convincing game world. It’s just a shame that the game happens to be rather short (6-8 hours) and confined to only a handful of areas. I really wanted to see and hear much more about the world and I hoped that for a game so rich in lore, it would contain instances of literature or audio logs that serve nothing but to inform on the world. Sadly this isn’t the case, and this is a disappointment. This does make me hope that the developers make more games in this universe though; as there is so much more it can tell.
In complete contrast to the story, the gameplay is very typical of its genre and offers nothing new. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I believe the old phrase: “if it aint broken, don’t fix it” comes into play here. This genre isn’t very broad so it is hard to adapt it into anything that plays differently from what is expected, even in the modern age. Players take control of Horatio through utilising the mouse cursor, and through this are able to dictate where the character can move to within the screen space and what he can interact with. On top of this, Horatio will be able to pick up items along the way, converse with characters, manage the items at his disposal, and order Crispin to carry out tasks. It is great that all of this takes place through a very simplified on-screen UI that is controlled only through using the mouse. The minimal player input makes playing the game a breeze with the left click initiating an interaction, and the right click initiating a description of what is being clicked on.
In terms of game content, the game will provide you with puzzles that you must overcome by using what you have available to you. Whether this be by talking to the right people, using specific items or combining them, or physically solving a logical puzzle, you are guaranteed to be given scenarios that involve lots of brain power. While I was able to cruise through the game at a relatively steady pace, there were some instances of deviant puzzles that had me completely stumped for a long period of time. While challenge is welcomed in games like this, there is a fine line between challenging, and difficult, and I believe that this game crosses over that line a little too often. It is annoying that the game should have such difficulty spikes, as it did spoil my experience of the game at times as I exhausted my logic for an extended period of time, feeling completely baffled.
The games graphics are great and the locations especially are oozing with personality and detail, despite the pixelated art-style. Character sprites are very well drawn, and the various game environments are beautiful, despite their down-trodden and almost scary appearance. It’s great to see that with such a current setting and modern narrative, that the developers are mixing in the old graphic style to perfectly contrast. Paying homage to the classic LucasArts games of old goes far to make this game stand out, and shows how much Wormwood Studios appreciates this genre and its roots. While the graphics may appear jarring at first, you get used to them very quickly and it is hard to imagine the game without that particular art style.
With the narrative being such a big part of this title, it is great to see that the voice acting is also very well executed. Every character has a distinct personality, and the two main protagonists (Horatio and Crispin) bounce well off each other to deliver some great dialogue. Another vocal highlight is the main enemy, MetroMind, who has a great voice actor behind her who delivers a menacing AI role that rivals Portal’s GLADOS. On top of the voice acting, the games soundtrack delivers some great sci-fi ambience tracks that lend themselves to the creepy atmosphere of the world. There isn’t too much content to the games soundtrack however, so it starts getting a little boring as you progress. That said, the music does its job very well.
Primordia is a great game, there is no denying that. It has a great cast of characters, some fun puzzles, and a very memorable setting. It’s just a shame that a few important things let it down that dampen the experience. These however don’t stop this from being a great entry into the new era of Point And Click Adventure games. Playing this game really does make me wonder how such a genre became so quickly forgotten about.
- Great cast of memorable characters.
- Witty writing.
- Brilliant art style.
- Superb narrative
- Extremely interesting world…
- …That cries out for more exploration.
- A few overly complex puzzles.
- Ending feels rushed.
- The game is rather short.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.