Adventure games are great to play but hard to review. I can’t really talk about the gameplay, because there isn’t a whole lot of that present. You move with the mouse, pick up items by clicking on them, combine items in your inventory and let the story unfold, because that’s why you’re here.
I can’t tell you about the story, because it’s the only thing that adventure games really have, it’s the big reason that I play them and if I spoil the story for you then I’m doing both the game and you a disservice. That said, the narrative journey that Primordia takes you on is well worth experiencing.
You play as Horatio Nullbuilt, and his buddy Crispin Horatiobuilt. Horatio has his power source stolen, and that theft serves as the catalyst for a story about the nature of existence, the greater purpose behind life, and what it truly means to be alive. The characters are well-realized as well. When dealing with robots it can be easy to pick a single trait and focus solely on that.
The characters in Primordia are just that: characters. They’ve all got individual motivations, flaws, and strengths. Horatio is professional and calm all the way through, believing that with perseverance he can complete any task. It’s rare to have a hint-giver follow me a round without me wanting to disable them, but Primordia pulled it off. Crispin is funny without being annoying, and helpful without being pushy. He’s a long way from Navi, and Primordia is certainly better for it.
Ever-Faithful, just like in my preview, is my favorite character though. He’s a very interesting study in artificial intelligence, religion, and having a great voice. Though Ever-Faithful is at the top of my list, every character is voiced well. The story is all the more powerful when told through characters that seem very much to feel despite their robotic nature.
Puzzles are intelligent without being obtuse, though Primordia does lean on the old adventure game trope of “pick up things, combine things, use things.” There has to be a better way to propel a player through the story, and a better default puzzle. The examples here are good for what they are, but I would have loved to see more of the logic puzzles and fewer of the “which thing do I use” puzzles.
The visual style is great (especially if you fondly remember the excellent 16-bit sprite work on the SNES era), and the voice acting is top-notch. I really wish that I could tell you more, but this story is too well-written to spoil, so all I can do is hope that you’ll take my word for it and give Primordia a shot. If you like adventure games, science fiction or well-written characters, you won’t be disappointed.
Pros: Interesting characters, beautiful environments, gripping story, Crispin is a great sidekick
Cons: Combining inventory items is a tired mechanic, and I hope we stop using it soon