After playing the demo a few months back and subscribing to this forum ever since, this week I finally got around to playing (and finishing) Primordia.
I've now completed 7 adventures published by Wadjet Eye (all their major titles to date), and only Primordia really captured my imagination and made me keep thinking about it afterwards, because its world feels so alive and in depth. In particular the history (told throughout the art, dialogue, kiosk machines, and "Fallen" novella) helped bring about this sense, as did the concept of robot generations complete with offspring naming convention! :)
While Primordia resembles Beneath a Steel Sky and also Machinarium to a certain extent, it has some very original aspects to offer. I enjoyed its relatively deep philosophical themes and logic dilemmas, and found a unique balance of the technical and the artistic. I felt a strong attention to detail in this game; every line must have been fussed over because none felt too terse nor redundant. I got a definite sense that the creators have put a lot of themselves into this game, like they were working on it before they had even conceived it. It's a true labour of love.
I love the name "Primordia", as it brings a whole new dimension beyond the hopeless dystopia it presents on the surface. I love that even in the absence of humans, these robots continue to evolve and carry their own hopes, dreams, love and humour. Humanity is very much alive within them, which is consoling yet also casts ambiguity as to what is "right" (see Fallen). It was refreshing to see such a story from the machines point of view, including contrasting views among them.
Another originality was the way religion was presented. This new religion, although marginalised, is known to the player as fact, so it had me taking a different perspective to the subject, which is always a good thing.
I also appreciated that even the main antagonist makes some compelling arguments and there's no black & white morality. You can empathise with every major character. There's a puzzle at the courthouse which has no "wrong" answer as far as the game is concerned. The emphasis is that you gave something fair consideration, rather than your conclusion.
I've talked a lot about the philosophical components of Primordia, but the art, writing and music were also much enjoyed, and it was very rare to pick a fault in the voice acting. I'm very much looking forward to any future works which may eventuate from Wormwood Studios.
What could have been done better? It feels like nitpicking, but my feedback for any future projects:
- Horatio and Clarity's walk animation could have been better. You might say "well they're robots and they should walk like it" but I don't really buy that.
- It took me about 10 hours, but trying to get the achievements messed me around a bit. After seeing the achievement list, I tried to get the tower code early and thought I had the required info. A part of this was that Memorious appeared to give their part of the code in the correct order, but a greater extent was the numbers earlier on DID fit together in two ways which expanded to 48 combinations! I'm now the proud owner of a .txt file containing 54 sixteen digit numbers, which I entered multiple times because I was sure one would work, and I'm now slightly bitter about it As someone previously mentioned on this forum, I also wish there was a hint that using the decrypter in a certain spot wouldn't have locked out two achievements.
- I know you're limited by AGS, but I feel high resolution and portability would allow me to share the experience with more friends, as well as make you more money which could in turn make better games! I hope Primordia at least gets to tablets eventually.
Questions for Mark:
- Have you studied philosophy academically?
- Why isn't Fallen linked on the website?
- Do you have any works outside of Wormwood Studios?
- What is the significance of the clock stopping at 1:55?
- What was the significance of the whole Sad Robot area? Just a Marvin cameo?