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Destination Primus Vita - Episode 1: Austin Review

Welcome aboard, gamers! In Destination Primus Vita - Episode 1: Austin, a first-person puzzler offering from Epsilon Games, you play as Austin, a crew member aboard the interstellar ship “Beaufort,” preparing for landing at Primus Vita by running through simulations while in hyper sleep.

This episode of Destination Primus Vita follows six crew members who are on a journey to find something that will help the survival of the human race: water. The Shatters appeared on earth and stole all of the water, forcing mankind to look to the stars for a solution. Having tracked down Primus Vita as a refuge for the Shatters, mankind also knows that they will not just be able to show up and take it all back. So, our crew of explorers must prepare for their arrival and a face-off with these immense and deadly lifeforms. The best way to do this is to put everyone to sleep while they travel the vast expanse of space to get there. There’s no peaceful slumber, though, as NIM (the ship’s AI) runs their minds through simulated experiences to help them get ready.

Lookin’ Good

One of the first things that strikes you is the graphics. It’s a clean look with bright colors, and really seems to fit with the futuristic setting. There are some painful moments with facial animations, at least in the beginning, but this stops being an issue in the memory flashbacks later on in the game.

Wait — flashbacks?

Not only is the simulation trying to prepare you for your upcoming battles, but there are also memories and scenes to work through. Austin’s perception of things does not always match what actually happened. Not that she hallucinated, but she begins the game with a very narrow and work-focused view, which is something that she must come to realize isn’t always right.

These flashbacks require you to unlock elements of the scene that is frozen around you, discovering more about what actually happened as you go. Parts of the scene also fade in with each new discovery, making it really enjoyable to piece together the memories. Once everything is unlocked, you’ll get to relive the scene fully with animations and the great voice acting that runs throughout the game.

Getting lost in the maze

The puzzles are not constantly in your face. Plenty of storyline and character development breaks them up nicely. There seem to be three main categories that each puzzle falls into: A hunt for clues in each scene, that requires working out what you need to investigate to move forward; more traditional, scenario-based puzzles, where you must use descriptions of the clues found around you (such as figuring out where everyone was sitting in a room at the time, based on minimal information); or more action-focused puzzles, namely maze exploration.

For these mazes, there is no tutorial or guidance given — just a stone path to get you started and a couple of hints that you can see, though you may not realize it at first. The aim is to traverse the landscape via the correct route. Heading down the wrong path will end with a face-to-face with a Shatter. Even in a simulation, you’re nowhere near ready to face them head-on. To make things all the more exciting, your escape is timed, meaning you need to be quick-thinking and able to navigate well.

Onward to victory

Along the way, you’ll meet the five other crew members (BrX, Hayao, Artemis, Geny and Coby) and uncover exactly how you know them. Being an episodic title, the likelihood is that you will get to experience each character’s preparations in a different episode.

While it will definitely be interesting to see how all of their preparation goes, I also hope we get to see what happens when they actually reach their destination. I can’t imagine we’d be left hanging without a proper resolution, but it’s still in the early days for Destination Primus Vita, and the future of it has yet to be announced by the developers.

As you explore, the music and sound effects do a great job of building tension in the mazes, and enhancing your sense of curiosity as you uncover events of the past. It also fits in very well with the sci-fi theme, rounding everything off very nicely.

7

The Verdict: Great

If you’re looking for storyline in addition to puzzles, this is definitely a good one. There are no bugs and the voice acting is great, which helps immerse you in the world. The first-person perspective also makes the exploration of both the scenes and the mazes more engaging than third-person would be. While it could do with a few more puzzles here and there, the premise is great and the characters are believable. Time will tell what the other episodes have in store, but this is a solid start to what promises to be an interesting series.

Melanie Hawthorne
Written by
August 23, 2018
Published in Adventure

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Mel is a London-based copywriter that has been writing about video games for a few years now. After growing up in Vienna, Austria she followed her dreams and moved to London. Said dreams took her through a few different jobs (which included working as a web developer, shopkeeper and translator) before she settled on what she really wanted to do – periodically anger video game fans by expressing her opinions on games through various online publications. When she’s not writing about video games, she’s probably playing them... or walking her dog in a park. Since that depends largely on the English weather, Mel has plenty of time to indulge in her favourite games. These include but are not limited to Ark: Survival Evolved, Skyrim, GTA V, and oddly enough, Amnesia: Memories. She loves Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. She thinks Star Trek is way better than Star Wars and isn’t afraid to admit it – Live long and prosper!

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