Primordia

Primordia doesn’t have the best start. During the first 20 minutes I was pushing myself to continue based only on the positive reputation of the title. I’m glad I stuck with it, because when it gets going it’s an admirable game. The world and the story has as much rigorous thought and attention put to it as you could ever demand of a title. 

My only problem with the game (apart from the slow start) is the puzzles. I don’t mind slow paced games, or solving puzzles. But there’s something with the point-and-click form that makes me lose patience faster than 3d puzzle games like Portal or Antichamber. There’s always walkthroughs to help out players like me, but I don’t like going that route. There’s puzzles in Primordia where I have no idea how I would have ever solved them, like in my entire life, without looking up the solution. I want to see what happens next in the story, that’s my primary interest in these titles. But the designers thought otherwise, and because they thought this was a good idea, I’m not going to think ill of anyone who likes the puzzles. It’s just not for me. And I guess it’s “not really a problem” because faqs exist. But I wish there was something else that could be done with this type of game. Of all the point-and-click games I’ve played there’s only a couple where I haven’t hit a wall because of pixel hunting. Those moments always make me wonder what the point is.

Despite that rambling second paragraph I would absolutely recommend Primordia to anyone who likes the look of it. It’s superb sci-fi, of the kind that’s not just rare in games, but rare anywhere. It treats its characters and the world with intelligence and respect. What made the first 20 minutes a bit dull was that I couldn't tell how ambitious it was going to be with the setting. I mean I've seen a ton of stories start out like this with lonely scavengers in the desert. But when it started dropping hints about what the game would really be about it made me increasingly excited. It takes a serious stab at exploring what life as a machine in a world run by machines would be like. What their religions and laws could be. Echoes of their human ancestors, now adapted for their style of thinking. And it does this without any attempt at dumbing it down for a wide audience. A gutsy thing to do, and it works.