In our review back in February, we concluded that Primordia's heavily dystopian world was marred by a few problems, and that its potentially brilliant story doesn't quite get told. The latter is something that may well be fixed now with the debut of "Fallen," a three-part prequel story set in Primordia's robot-ruled universe, whose first chapter was released today.
For players who've already finished Primordia, Fallen adds some further depth to the story, shedding light on some of its more mysterious aspects. If you haven't yet played Primordia, it might well be worth picking up Fallen as a spoiler-free introduction to the world's setting, themes, and robot friends, and enjoyed alongside the game itself (which, conveniently, is part of the latest Indie Royale bundle).
The novella's available as a PDF at Primordia's website, and also in audiobook form over on YouTube. All three chapters will be free, with the final two being released over the next couple of weeks—and they'll be bundled together into a single PDF after that. Stories aren't often too engaging outside of their video game confines, but I've gotta say, for this sci-fi fan unfamiliar with Primordia's universe, Fallen managed to be quite a compelling read.
The Indie Royale game bundle returns with its most cryptically mysterious name since the last time it had a cryptically mysterious name. Called the Hammerhead Bundle, it features five games. Some of them are about robots, some of them are about vehicular combat, some of them are about fantasy brawling, none of them appear to be about angry fish. As always, there's a trailer round up of the included games. See how many sharks you can spot.
Here's what you get:
Primordia Pressure Forge Richard & Alice Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage
Perhaps not the best line-up when placed next to the fantastic, and still available, Humble Indie Bundle 8, but nonetheless a good range of interesting titles for the price. That price, as is Indie Royale's quirk, will rise over time. Currently it's a £3.62 minimum, with higher-than-average purchases dropping the minimum price for everyone.
There are some good deals to be found in GOG.com's 'Adventurers Assemble' sale, which combines ADVENTURE GAMES with 60% OFF to make a bunch of point-and-click titles cheaper for this weekend only. If you've been waiting for an opportunity to purchase the likes of Primordia, Resonance, Machinarium, the Blackwell series, tearjerker To The Moon, or island survival game Miasmata, then you've found it. The deal ends on Monday at 3:59AM GMT, so you only have... a number of hours left on the clock.
It's primarily a list of indie adventure games, but you will find The Longest Journey and its sequel, and Incredipede on there for some strange reason. Most games will set you back $3.99 - head here to see the full list.
Humans are a distant memory. Rugged robot Horatio Nullbuilt (Bastion’s narrator Logan Cunningham) passes the days studying the Book of Man and trading quips with his sassy droid Crispin, or traversing the desert on the lookout for scraps to maintain his beaten-up spaceship, the Unniic. But then their peacefully nomadic existence is shattered by the rogue robot Scraper – who steals the Unniic’s energy core – and they’re launched on a quest to retrieve it.
Primordia takes cues from its mentors, point-and-click maestros like Revolution Studios and LucasArts, and this is most keenly felt in a slick, concise interface: there’s an inventory used to combine items, a datapad storing lore, a cursor highlighting clickable objects, and a map that fast-travels you between environments. Controls are elegant too, using left-clicks to interact with hotspots and right-clicks for descriptive passages on them. The undemanding interactivity makes Primordia the gaming equivalent of curling up with a good book.
Unfortunately, such a debt to tradition means that the game is deliberately old-school, so while the art is at least cohesive – presenting a world intentionally drab and ruined – it’s more pixellated than a face on Crimewatch. This is a corroded and claustrophobic world that I simply don’t want to inhabit, and for a point-and-click game where each screen is to be pored over, that’s a problem.
Elsewhere are bugbears familiar to the genre. Early on, you’re tasked with repairing your ship, collecting bits and bobs from a desert scrap yard and combining them in your inventory. It turns out you can use putty on a conduit but not conduit on a putty. This leads to the age-old fallback – clicking on everything you have in the vain hope that something will slot together.
Puzzles suffer from inconsistency. Crispin can fetch you metal rods despite having no arms, but can’t knock a halogen lamp from a perch. When puzzles do work as expected, they often lack pizzazz or the thrill of ingenuity. There’s nothing exciting about figuring out how to bypass a password to open a door.
The animation is also decrepit, with the lack of frames leading to characters that look like they’ve lurched straight out of Habbo Hotel. This is more than just a visual thing. In a genre where mechanics are so often rote, good world-building is a crucial element. One of the ways you help your audience connect with a world is through animation.
Once you hit the heaving city of Metropol, Horatio’s musings on metaphysics provide a philosophical spark but the visuals remain underwhelming and the puzzles even more so.
Primordia is thus a mixed bag, succeeding in the basics but failing when it comes to the finer detail. There’s something promising here, but it’s doomed like humanity to be a distant memory.
◆ Expect to pay: $11 / £7 ◆ Release: Out now ◆ Developer: Wormwood Studios ◆ Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games ◆ Multiplayer: None ◆ Link: www.wadjeteyegames.com