Genre: Adventure, Point and Click
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows, macOS & Linux) and iOS)
Developers | Publishers: Wormwood Studios | Wadjet Eye Games
Age Rating: US Mature | EU 7+
Price: US $14.99 | UK £13.49 | EU € 14,99
Release Date: March 2nd, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Emily Morganti PR on behalf of Wadjet Eye Games.
Primordia is a masterpiece. I wish someone would turn it into a movie so I could make my friends watch it, and they would all rave with me. (I wish!) Well, enough rapture; here’s what the fuss is about.
A Tale of Two Robots
Our story’s protagonist is Horatio, a loner robot whose peaceful isolation is broken when a menacing machine steals something precious. Aided by sarcastic sidekick Crispin, a small robot he built, Horatio seeks answers in the great city of Metropol.
Supported by great writing and voice-acting, Primordia immerses you in a world where intelligent machines have formed their own society and existential beliefs. They, too, struggle with the issues humans once had—over politics, individual rights, faith and doubt, etc.
How do we find a balance between justice and mercy? Or between individual freedom and the common good? Who is your Maker? Do your memories define you? Such questions and themes are well-executed here, rather than fumbled at.
I enjoyed both the deep conversations and the purely humorous ones. The latter kind comes courtesy of Crispin, voiced by Abe Goldfarb, whose snarky comments annoy Horatio but entertained me. Also memorable were the talks with Ever-Faithful (a devotee to the Gospel of Man) and Primer (an ex-soldier who speaks entirely in rhyme).
The game features several endings, which is quite a bonus for a traditional point-and-click. And these are only the main endings! (One netizen counted over 20 variant endings) You can save just before the game concludes and reload to watch most of the main endings. The ones I watched were all well-written. I’d happily play through the game again to try a different ending.
I liked that puzzles stayed close to the game’s setting and themes. Many involve cobbling machine parts together, and some are actual logic puzzles.
Each play session, I was excited to see what new puzzle the game had in store. That excitement was sustained throughout my time with Primordia, even when things got tough. Solutions were usually logical, not arbitrary. This made puzzles satisfying to solve and made me think “I can figure this out,” rather than “By trial and error, I’ll eventually hit on the right answer.”
When I did get stuck, Crispin came in handy. He’s not only a great character and the game’s comic relief but also serves as a helpful hint system. Still, I had to check an online walkthrough 4 times. The game isn’t easy, but it’s not dreadfully hard either.
I spent close to 8 hours on Primordia, though you could finish it within 6 hours if you don’t get stuck.
One Button Push
I appreciate that the game doesn’t send you hunting for objects onscreen. All interactive objects can be highlighted with one button push, so time’s not wasted just because you overlooked a teeny screw or something. No time wasted on travelling through locations either, thanks to a fast-travel map.
As for controls, I didn’t even need the touchscreen. 95% of the time, I could rely on Joy-Con buttons. Instead of waving a cursor around, you can cycle between objects easily with shoulder buttons. The Switch port is just great.
I really can’t think of something bad to say about Primordia. Alright, the visual style isn’t my cup of tea and it looks a bit murky. Animations are clunky too. But none of it really mattered against the game’s merits. And bear in mind that the game is almost a decade old (first released on PC in 2012). The only thing I would change is the speed of a few conversations, which flew by rather quickly. It was usually some fascinating backstory or profound discussion which I had wanted to digest more slowly.
I couldn’t recommend this game more. Definitely check out Primordia if you like point-and-clicks, post-apocalyptic settings, or philosophical themes.
What it may lack in visual appeal, it makes up for twice over in writing. Lead voice actors Logan Cunningham (Hades and other Supergiant games) and Abe Goldfarb really bring it all to life. The characters, conversations, and well-developed themes were a delight. I enjoyed the puzzles and was thankful for a great hint system. Lastly, the Switch port is excellent.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up