Wadjet Eye Games, in case you haven’t dipped your toes too deeply in the point and click world, specialise in making old school point and click adventure games. From sci-fi noir Gemini Rue to the Blackwell Series to most recent release Resonance, this small developer has proven more than capable of bringing excellent stories to the table.
Primordia is a joint production between Wadjet and Wormwood Studio, and is due for full release on December 5th this year. For this preview I played through the first segment of the game, which ignoring a few minor issues is looking to be in very fine form…
The rather eery looking Horatio, along with floating companion Crispin
In Primordia humans are long gone from the world, elevated to mythical creator status by the robots that now inhabit the planet. The protagonist is Horatio, a largely solitary bot whose only companion in the wastelands is Crispin, a small flying droid whom he built from parts lifted from the junkyard which he roams. When a very malevolent robot steals their power source, the two must set out on a journey to recover or replace it, lest they run out of power and cease to function. Things quickly take a darker turn than that brief summary would suggest, with some creepy characters doing their best to deepen the mystery.
Gameplay is a classic adventure game affair, utilising objects found in the environments to solve problems and progress with the story. Wadjet Eye aficionados will be familiar with the layout and even more so with the two character set up – the voice actor for Crispin is also Joey in the Blackwell Series. The two share similar roles in their games- smart mouth companions who also serve as hint droppers when needed.
The puzzles are just how you want them to be, requiring careful attention to the world and dialogue to come to a logical and practical solution. A plasma blowtorch is perhaps a little overused as a solution to all life’s problems, but Primordia has enough grace to admit it, with plenty of dialogue that isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself.There is some solid voice acting going on here too, with the supporting characters tending to the intensely creepy side of the robot spectrum. The character design is a strong point, with the robotic population allowing a great degree of creative strangeness.
“…beautiful in its own disturbing way.”
That darker tinge is something that runs through the whole game, with every aspect lending a hand to create an atmosphere that is slightly unnerving. Despite the more classic style of the artwork it is nonetheless beautiful in its own disturbing way, proving that you don’t need a high polygon count to have an impact. Melancholic electronic music, a bleak cyberpunk style, a titan like robot buried so deep in the sand that only it’s Geiger like skull and skeletal hand are visible – it’s all very immersive and highly promising. Horatio himself is an intriguing figure, seemingly unaware of a mysterious past hinted at by other characters. Why does he live apart from the rest of the world? What is so wrong with the City of Metropol that he refuses to return? It feels like there is a very rich story still to be revealed, one that will deal with the end of human civilisation and the creation of an entirely new mechanical one. There are plenty of mythological elements here as well, giving the whole thing a much more epic feel than the more personal stories seen in the Blackwell Series.
Although there are some technical issues to be fixed the game is still a few months away from a full release. Crucially for a point and click adventure it is already displaying the elements that truly matter for the genre – a strong, atmospheric world that you can’t help but want to experience more of, solid character work and a dash of darkness as well as humour. The beginning of Horatio’s story has already hooked me, and pending a perfected technical base come December, the story will hopefully prove itself equally strong in both middle and end.