Primordia review

Primordia has come to Nintendo Switch and if you’re a fan of classic point-and-click adventure games then this one is worth checking out from the expert teams of Wormwood Studios and Wadjet Eye Games.

Humans are long gone and robots now rule the roost. Horatio Nullbuilt, our main character and focus, spends his time reading books from the days of men, and arguing/joking with another robot named Crispin. Horatio also likes to scour the desert looking for scrap metal to help rebuild and maintain his old ship, the Unniic. However, their once-peaceful existence is about to be disrupted forever when a new droid Scaper steals the Unniic’s Energy Core, leading Horatio and Crispin off on an adventure of their own.

Primordia is a decent point-and-click adventure game, now released on Nintendo Switch, following in the footsteps of Unavowed also from Wadjet Eye Games. We appear to be in the midst of a mini-revival of the genre with other narrative adventure games making waves in 2022 like Norco and Chinatown Detective Agency. Primordia, originally released in 2012, takes a lot from mid 90s adventure games like the Lucas Arts classic’s Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle.

You have your inventory where you can collect items and combine them, plus a decent map that allows you to fast travel (which is a nice quality of life feature over similar games that came before Primordia). Controls feel like they have been given the quality of life upgrade treatment too when compared to the old classics, and they work well on Nintendo Switch. Primordia’s world is somewhat drab and grey, although this is made much more palatable on the small screen of the Nintendo Switch, in particular the OLED version. On a big PC screen, the world feels dense and difficult to navigate, although in handheld mode on Nintendo Switch somehow the game feels more accessible and inviting.

While the story and writing in the game are excellent and engaging, the age of the game starts to show through. Whereas more modern point and click adventures have streamlined features, Primordia shows its age with classic style fetch quests and a combination of items. This means trying various combinations of items together, where some match with others one way but not the other, which can lead to confusion. For example, you can combine item B with item A, but not A with B. There’s also the familiar trap of clicking everything on the screen and painstakingly going through each item and combination with action points on the screen.

The puzzles in the game range from good to not great. Horatio and Crispin work together well to solve the mysteries of Primordia, although the game can feel a little inconsistent at times. Crispin sometimes is able to help you out with solutions to puzzles, and they sometimes can’t… but there’s no reason given. Finding the clues to crack the password to a locked door is fun at first, but then gets a little stale. Primordia is a decent game, but it’s one of Wormwood Studio’s earlier games, and I’ve seen them do better since. I shouldn’t compare, but unfortunately, I can’t dismiss the great gameplay mechanics I’ve come across in their later titles. It’s easy to say this with the hindsight of course, and it’s only natural for earlier games to be less engaging.

The star of the show is the writing and the narrative. Horatio and Crispin do an excellent job of telling you about the world and even later in the game, they get into philosophical chats that’ll make you think. From a gameplay perspective, this is a classic point and click game rooted in the past. I think it’s a good thing that Nintendo Switch fans get to experience these games, which previously were only made available on PC. However, I do think there is a better point and click game out there. If you’re interested in a science fiction world devoid of humans, with robots wistfully wondering what is was like ‘back then, then I’d recommend giving Primordia a go.

Developer: Wormwood Studios
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed on Switch)
Release Date: 2 March 2022 (Nintendo Switch)