Purgatory Prime

Purgatory Prime is a low-tech and highly surrealist super slow colleactathon game.

When entering the game, you are welcomed by an bureaucrat who tells you that there is nothing to do; that would be the sense of the whole thing. But that’s not true: You can search and collect eggs. I won’t tell you much more about the story, not only because this might spoil too much, but also because I hardly can – the whole thing feels closely reminiscent to (and is likely inspired by) the hard stuff done by David Lynch.

The world design is great, and – in a positive sense – nightmarish, and at it’s best times like a interactive surrealist painting: Beneath other things there are brick-built hydrants, giant black seahorses, and towering crematories. Even after some time in this world you will not only find hidden places but also small additional details that give the harsh world a strange vividness. Sound effects and music are in no way inferior: They are very fitting, unsettling, and well done.

Even before I was aware that there is some kind of gameplay I was absolutely gazed by this game. When it manifested it was voluntarily incoherent, intentionally slow, and totally directed against the player in any way. It’s wonderful, and totally in line with the rest of the game. The developer made the engine themself on the basis of OpenGL2, and I agree that it would be hard to bring the (d)effects they archived with this through any modern engine: It’s in an unsettling, weird way glitchy and even features some otherworldly physics.

All of this is done so coherent and dense that it is undeniably intentional: De facto, this is crafted with some rare mastery. Purgatory Prime delivers a strangeness that is frequently aimed for, but seldom archived in such a quality. While I sometimes may have played titles that were at least similarly strange, I feel safe to say that I never played something that was strange in the way this game is anywhere before. It is strongly recommended to download and play it – even if you don’t play through the whole thing it will surely be a unique and staying experience.

The game is closed source, a native Linux built is offered and runs without any problems; the developer says that they make it compatible for old hardware for something that could be sustainability reasons. They have a homepage sharing technical information about „dumbphones“ and calculator hacking, outrageous political messages and links on blatant propaganda of the paper industry. I hope and I’m nearly sure that this is a persona built as some art project, but who knows? Their catalogue on Itch also includes a WIP game and some platformer game that might be (judged from the screenshots) a bit more conventional in terms of gameplay but is surely wort to be checked out as well.

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