Gemini Rue Review

Gemini Rue is an intriguing adventure game with an excellent story that outshines its basic puzzle-solving.

Gemini Rue is a look back to a bygone era. From its 2D pixel art to its point-and-click controls, this is a game cut from the cloth of Sierra's classic adventure games of the early '90s. Created almost entirely by UCLA student Joshua Nuernberger, Gemini Rue was picked up by indie publisher Wadjet Eye Games late in development. The final release is a gripping science fiction thriller that weaves an amazing tale across two storylines. Unfortunately, what you're doing in between these story segments isn't as inspired, but it's worth pressing on just to see what happens next.

Some problems have multiple solutions.

Like its name suggests, Gemini Rue divides your time between two protagonists. Half of the time is spent as Azriel Odin, an ex-assassin on an intergalactic hunt for his missing brother. His search has led him to the planet Barracus, which is locked in a seemingly permanent rainstorm. The other half is spent as the mysterious Delta-Six. After having his memory wiped at the game's outset, Delta-Six wakes to finds himself trapped in an unknown rehabilitation clinic. Little explanation is given, but if Delta-Six wants to eat, he'll have to complete his firearms training.

Gemini Rue's strongest asset is its story. What start as two seemingly unrelated plot threads gradually begin to overlap each other in ways you might not expect. The pace is masterfully balanced between the two protagonists, and you never feel lost in the middle. Just as you start to figure things out for one, the game switches perspectives to the other. Azriel might uncover a critical clue to his brother's whereabouts moments before the game cuts to Delta-Six who is listening to conflicting reports from his "friends" about what transpired before his memory wipe. Just as you're about to solve one mystery, another pops up to take its place.

Certain segments allow you to switch back and forth between your two characters at will.

This is essential because the actual gameplay of Gemini Rue is very simple. With a few exceptions, the solution to any puzzle is obvious and never impedes your progress. The puzzles simply guide you through the action of what is essentially an interactive novel. This means you're never saddled with frustrations, such as attempting obtuse, trial-and-error item combinations or pixel hunting for a tiny key hidden in a busy background. However, this also means that the game slips into monotony at times as you go through the motions of its clearly prescribed path to the next plot point.

The shooting segments are a similar situation. When a firefight starts, your character drops into cover. From here, you can lean out and fire on your attackers. Naturally, you'll want to stay behind cover when being shot at and lean out just as your enemy finishes shooting but before he ducks back down. Timing--that's all there is to it. Once you have the timing down, these segments--just like the puzzles--become a breeze. Overall, the shooting and puzzle-solving do the job of breaking up the story sections, but on their own, they can get tedious.

What does hold up is the game's atmosphere. Whether you're Azriel listening to the patter of the unending rainstorm or Delta-Six surrounded by the deep hum of an industrial air conditioner, the ambient sound design always conveys a sense of oppression and isolation in the unknown. The entire experience is underscored by soft jazz or piano tracks that emphasizes the sci-fi/noir hybrid at play in Gemini Rue. On top of all that is the voice acting. Though a bit dull in spots, the voice acting lends an extra bit of immersion that really brings this world to life. Brian Silliman's throat-of-gravel voice for Azriel Odin is especially fitting.

The shooting segments are little more than a distraction from the rest of the game.

Thankfully, this game doesn't overstay its welcome. Clocking in at about eight hours, the game maintains a consistent pace that tugs you from one plot hook to the next. And by the time you enter the game's final act, you won't be able to put it down. Developer commentary is added after your first play-through and provides a wonderful incentive for you to jump back into the game. Even with its basic puzzle and action sequences, Gemini Rue is an intriguing experience for adventure gamers young and old.

The Good
Excellent story from two different perspectives
Atmosphere a unique mix of sci-fi and noir elements
Audio commentary an excellent addition
Story is well paced throughout.
The Bad
Puzzles do little more than guide you through the game
Shooting segments nothing more than a distraction.
7
Good
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8 comments
silverwolf0
silverwolf0

This is a gawdawful game with too many adventure game diehards praising it. I was duped into playing it from one of those best adventure game lists. It's basically a very simple and cliche memory erasing and reconditioning, existentialist plot with a very predictable ending. The dialogue is poor, and its basically a 1 hr game dragged into 10 times its length because of horrid pacing and super clunky mechanics and gameplay. A game that's only been a few years old that uses super low grade blocky graphics and terrible mouseover detection. You'll spend 90% of your time just moving your mouse over random blocks of color, hoping they are useful objects to use. For an adventure game, the item usage is also clunky and terrible. The production values and writing are gawdawful and amateurish, with lots of spelling errors, bad logic, really bad directing, plot design, game design. It was like a lazy game made for a school project and done in a few weeks. If this is the sort of game quality that should be expected from the best adventure games around, I think the genre is already dead as we know it.

RoseFlambe169
RoseFlambe169

Darn, missed the sale. ;P Looks like something I'd be interested in though.

sandyqbg
sandyqbg

Interesting how a Steam sale has directed people to this review

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

@naryanrobinson Looking at this review right now thanks to that sale. Getting it right away, seems to be up my alley.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Love this game. Looking at it in a Steam sale today.

Gemini Rue More Info

  • Released
    • Android
    • iPhone/iPod
    • + 3 more
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • Unix/Linux
    Gemini Rue is a retro-style adventure game that combines point-and-click gameplay with a sci-fi/noir narrative.
    8.4
    Average User RatingOut of 226 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Gemini Rue
    Developed by:
    Wadjet Eye Games
    Published by:
    Wadjet Eye Games, Merge Games, Daedalic Entertainment
    Genres:
    Adventure, Third-Person