After an alien invasion of Mars kills most of the human population and steals the planet’s water, a small team of people must make a long trek to the distant planet of Prima Vita to take back their stolen resources.
Destination Primus Vita, an episodic puzzle game set in 3044 that follows six people, known as Crew 121, on their travels to Prima Vita to retrieve water stolen from the Earth.The team is placed in cryo-sleep by the artificial intelligence on the ship known as NIM. While sleeping, each member solves different puzzles and relives memories to help prepare for the journey ahead. It’s a strong start that leaves me hopeful for the rest of the series.
The first episode follows quantum physics scientist Austin Blair-Moreno as she navigates around her own simulation. Austin leans heavily into the stereotype of the staunch scientist who only believes in numbers and hard facts. She groans at the sight of someone praying and refuses to partake in any team-building exercises. She takes her research so seriously that she seems to care only about that. Austin seems flat now, but hopefully the next episodes will fill her out as a more complex character. Still, one good thing about Austin’s stubborn personality is that it highlights the personalities of everyone else.
Uncovering fellow teammates and learning about them is the most interesting part of the episode. Little mementos scattered throughout the episode show the state of the Earth since most of its water disappeared. Many of them point to the struggles humanity faced in search for water, and the dangers they’ve encountered. But other moments show times where human lives still prosper. Many of Austin’s memories encompass moments of levity and happiness, because those are the times that confuse her most. As someone dedicated to numbers and science, emotions are the things that constantly confound her. I enjoyed finding out the ways people still found happiness, whether it be sports, drugs, or prayer.
The puzzles aren’t meant to be so challenging that they stump the player, rather they’re more to help characterize Austin. As the game’s official website states, puzzles and memories will differ from character to character as a way to provide storytelling that’s specific for each team member. Puzzles come with their own hints, are straightforward and complement the story incredibly well. No challenge felt cumbersome or unnecessary. There was one puzzle toward the very end of the episode that gave me trouble, but one tricky puzzle is more enjoyable than an entire game of tricky puzzles, especially when the game is more about the story.
I look forward to the next episode of Destination Primus Vita. Austin’s introduction provides a great start to the title. Starting the game with Austin, who seems to be the flattest character of the group, is a smart decision because her stern personality helps magnify the characteristics of everyone else. Austin is by no means a bad or boring character, but I am interested in seeing how her stern demeanor may change over the course of the game.
Destination Primus Vita’s first episode makes a strong impression, with a captivating story and puzzles that take some thought but aren’t too harsh. It provides a steady balance of narrative mystery and challenging quests, and I can’t wait to see what the other episodes will reveal.
Destination Primus Vita was developed and published by Epsilon Games. Our review is based on the PC. It is also available for Mac
Shonté Daniels is a poet who occasionally writes about games. Her games writing has appeared in Kill Screen, Motherboard, Waypoint and elsewhere. Her poetry can be seen at Puerto del Sol, Baltimore Review, Phoebe, and others literary journals. Check out Shonte-Daniels.com for a full archive, or follow her for sporadic tweeting.