TL;DR: Primal Light is a fantastic retro-inspired platformer that will challenge even the most hardened gamer. But we warned: the challenging gameplay can be off-putting to newbies
Hack-and-slash games come in all shapes and sizes these days, and it really takes something special to make me sit up and take notice. Primal Light by Fat Gem Studios is one of those games with that 'just one more try!' quality. It has plenty of action, a certain amount of strategy, and one of the most challenging level designs I've experienced in a long time.
To begin, you play a loincloth-wearing creature named Krog, the last member of a begotten tribe tasked with doing away with an evil that has cursed his people. Okay, the storyline isn't going to win any awards, but it's sufficient enough to get you started.
Primal Light consists of 10 massive stages and a final battle against the dark evil causing chaos throughout the land. Win that fight and the dark evil is history. Be forewarned though, each stage features a guardian boss of increasing power.
Also located around the level are special mystic artifacts that can grant you special powers and upgrades. But these artifacts are guarded by fearsome creatures who don't take kindly to strangers taking their belongings.
Even though Primal Light is categorized as an arcade action title, there's an element of role-playing to it that makes it that more immersive. You obviously start of weak and ineffective in the early levels with just a slashing animation as your only weapon. However, as you progress further in the game, your strengths, power, and abilities also improve.
Even though Primal Light is categorized as an arcade action title, there's an element of role-playing to it that makes it that more immersive.
Call Me Mr. Blue
During his battles, Krog must also regain health. Disposing of enemies and breaking objects grants you 'coins' which you can later use to purchase extra lives. In addition, you can gain access to certain areas to unlock hidden chests which can grant you upgrades to your abilities or increase your power to be more effective at taking down the bad guys.
The graphics throughout the game are excellent and each stage has its own unique look and identity. Sure they all share the common brownish-orange tone, but the levels themselves, from the jungle stages to the vast underground tunnels, are diverse and stunning. Some of the levels come straight out of an Indiana Jones movie and with sprinkles of Super Mario thrown in.
You'll also get a kick at several retro game references littered throughout the game. As nice as the graphics are, it's the level design that takes the cake here. From the standard platformer to vertical climbing and jumping, the levels you'll encounter will pose a serious challenge to even the most experienced players. If you thought you were a platforming guru, Primal Light will leave you sweating and shaking like Kendal Jenner ready to take an IQ test.
The game doesn't blast open anything new to the standard platforming genre, but it does combine the best in relentless action, excellent controls, and imaginative game design.
Lightweights Need Not Apply
However difficult the game may be, it does reward the players who are patient and deliberate in their approach. You can't just get cocky and start jumping around like a kangaroo; if you do, you will die -- and die quite often. This is especially true when dealing with the bosses at the end of each stage.
Thankfully, the game compensates the player who takes the time to practice and memorize patterns; because once you memorize their movements, you will have a better chance of beating them. Unfortunately, you can't just save anywhere, and dying midway through a level reverts you back to your last known save point. I do wish the developers would implement an instant save feature so players can get back into the action without having to replay most of the redundant parts.
All in all however, Primal Light is a lot of fun to play. It is challenging and full of non-stop action across 10 heart-pounding stages. The game doesn't blast open anything new to the standard platforming genre, but it does combine the best in relentless action, excellent controls, and imaginative game design. Don't let the 'Light' in the title fool you, this game is a bonafide heavyweight and should be experienced by everyone looking to test their gaming skills.
Healthcare Professional, Gamer, and Writer all rolled up in one. He once opened up an old Atari 2600 to see if it had a heart ... and it did. Hence, the lifelong love affair with gaming.