It’s been a while since I sat down with a good old fashioned point and click adventure. And I definitely mean old fashioned, as our game today, Gemini Rue, evokes the style of many classics in the genre, with elements from old Lucas Arts games. Gemini Rue, however, is a very modern game, and though the environments are lovingly crafted pixel by pixel, modern touch control features, anytime saving, and full voice acting show the game’s youth. All in all, it’s a joy to play.
Gemini Rue is something of a neo noir detective thriller. Taking place in the distant future, with space travel and multiple colonized planets, yet taking place on a planet and city with a very old fashioned aesthetic, the game creates an interesting, almost discordant setting. You supposedly play as two brothers. I say supposedly, because one of them is stuck in a place called Center 7, where criminals have their memories wiped and are ‘rehabilitated’ and trained to be functioning agents of society. Or in this case, hackers and assassins for the Boryokuden, a futuristic mafia. When memory wiping is taking place, you can be sure that there will be many twists and turns on plot street, and the developer’s clearly know this and play around with it, thus I don’t trust anything I would normally assume to be true.
Likely as a nod to Firefly and other popular science fiction, Asian cultures and languages have become as commonplace as English across the galaxy, simply due to their prevalence and population numbers. And that brings me to my next point. This world feels very lived in and very real, with just enough superfluous elements, places, and people referenced or nodded to, making the back story and world building feel totally fleshed out.
In terms of gameplay, there’s a lot of your standard inventory puzzles. Using certain items with certain people or objects to attain desired results. There are also data terminals around the world, which you can use to search for names, places, and objects, with notes, people, and phone numbers being saved to your communicator. The game also features combat in the form of firefights. These seem overly complex at first, with so many buttons and functions to go in and out of cover in different directions, shoot, and control your breath to go for headshots, but it’s really pretty simple after some practice, and combat falls into a noticeable rhythm. Luckily, combat is only occasional, and usually unexpected.
I will admit that, as with most adventure games, there are times where you’ll miss a detail or get lost, and it can be pretty frustrating. As soon as you start using every item with everything else in an attempt to blunt force your way through the game, you’ll know what I mean. This doesn’t happen too often though, and you’ll usually kick yourself for missing things that really were pretty obvious. The game sets a great tone and atmosphere, and I loved inhabiting this world. The developers have also put a few very cool Easter eggs in the nooks and crannies of their world, which you can usually find by going to certain locations early. There is one very cool anime reference that made me giddy. Gemini Rue is a great adventure game, and it’s built to be easily played on the go. It’s available for five dollars at the time of this review.