Gemini Rue • PC (Steam version reviewed) • £6.99 • Out Now
I think I was born about five years too late. Though I managed to play through King’s Quest and Space Quest in my youth thanks to hand-me-down games from my older sisters, I was just 10 when the last of the great adventure games, Grim Fandango, came out. That game sparked an interest in adventure games, be they text-based or point-and-click, but nothing new appeared. All I could do was play older games to appease my appetite.
Recently, however, there has been a resurgence, mainly led by Telltale Games which has been great, but everything is too cutesy, cartoony or easy. Even smaller indie titles, such as the brilliant Ben There, Dan That and Time Gentleman, Please were just pastiches, laced with adventure game tropes and self referencing jokes. And while humour is a great outlet, sometimes you want a serious, gritty game in a given genre, and this is where Wadget Games’ Gemini Rue comes in.
Gemini Rue takes the low resolution graphics and point-and-clicking of King’s Quest VI-era Sierra and interlaces it with a smashing story and a couple of new mechanics, such as cover-based gunplay. While it’s clear that the artistic design choice was to be very similar to old-school adventure games, the graphics may not be to everyone’s tastes, especially if you have a bigger screen.
|I thought this was modern day Pittsburgh…|
The gameplay is your basic point-and-click-athon but without Sierra-logic, so you can kick windows to open them rather than use a stray hedgehog to burrow his way through the ground into the building and bring the key back to you. There’s also no combining of items, a bug bear of a lot of adventure titles, which streamlines the experience so you can use what you have to achieve logical results. While some of the challenge may have been taken away, it’s refreshing to actually be able to do what your common sense is normally screaming at the computer.The constant autosaving does take away from the difficulty of the game quite a bit too, which isn’t helped by the fact that the game isn’t exactly the most complicated in the world.
As mentioned, there are also combat sections, and while these are a neat addition to begin with, they ultimately fall flat and unnecessary. However, the tension in trying to avoid these fights or escape from enemies is a great touch as it really does force you to think fast.