Review: Gemini Rue

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 gamesGrim 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…
You take control of two characters; Azriel, a detective in a rainy, dark and gritty Pittsburg (what’s new?), reminiscent of all dystopian futures, with the exception of flying cars, and Delta-Six, a patient with amnesia at a correctional facility. Throughout the game, you switch between the two characters, each contributing to the overall story arch in equal measure – there isn’t a weak half of the story. This is not just rare for adventure games, it’s rare for gaming as a whole, so Gemini Rue should be lauded for this.

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. 

However, I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again – the story is amazing. Gripping, tense and most of all well thought out. There aren’t too many plot holes lurking and answers aren’t just given automatically as to the whys, wheres, whats et al. It’s a game that treats you like an adult and is probably one of the best told stories in gaming.

+ Gripping story
+ No over-elaborate, ridiculous puzzles
+ Great pacing, doesn’t outstay its welcome

– Can be a bit easy
– Gun segments not fantastic

Verdict: 9/10
One of the best adventure games since the golden generation, with an excellent story to boot

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