Review: Gemini Rue
Gemini Rue is a shining example of what new game developers with a fond appreciation for the old-school can contribute to an often monotonous gaming landscape. Developed by college student Joshua Nuernberger, the point-and-click adventure game set in a sci-fi noir landscape is a joy to play, a love letter to cultural relics that sadly aren’t likely to be acknowledged by the HD generation of today.
Which is a damned shame, because Gemini Rue may be the most enjoyable adventure I’ve played, and may very well epitomize the term “modern classic” very literally.
Gemini Rue employs the good old “multiple plot threads intertwine into one uber-story” archetype that’s commonly found in a lot of narrative-driven games, and does it perhaps the best I’ve seen. It tells the story of two men: Azriel Odin and Delta-Six. Azriel is the central protagonist of the game, an ex-bad guy-turned-cop formerly employed by a shady police syndicate. Called the Boryokudan, this organization is responsible for taking rule over a civilization after a devastating war has ravaged the planet and its government. It’s standard highly-stylized dystopian fare reminiscent of Blade Runner.
The second man, Delta-Six, is initially a mystery guy, an inhabitant of a squeaky clean, uncomfortably sterile facility called Center 7. Without spoiling the plot developments of this story, there’s more to him and his plan in there than initially seems.
While initially the game starts off with you controlling one character at a time, early on you’ll gain the ability to freely switch between Azriel and Delta-Six as you wish, depending on which mystery you want to tackle first. So if you come across a dead end or are stuck in one, you can easily just switch back to the other character and work on their problems until you can finally figure out the solution to it. The two characters don’t play differently or anything, but the ability to switch definitely enhances the narrative, and makes it easier become emotionally invested with the two characters.
And invested you will; Gemini Rue has some of the most gripping, captivating narrative I’ve seen in recent years. While the story may not be too original, the way it’s told and presented is fantastic. I just can’t get over the full voice acting in a relatively small budget indie title like this; the performances are irrefutably better than 80% of the acting in video games today. The chemistry between the characters feels organic and natural, and never feels forced or cheesy. Gemini Rue also implements some action scenes, cover-based shootouts based on timing and memory. It’s a nice way to keep the pacing of the game nice and intense, and it doesn’t ever feel monotonous or unnecessary.
There really isn’t much else to say about Gemini Rue beyond “buy it.” I’m not too big a fan of adventure games, yet I found myself hooked to this one immediately. Sure, the game still has drawbacks nearly every point and click adventure game may have, such as your character not going where you want him and whatnot, but when you consider that the acting and production in this small scale is eons more effective than a AAA game that took millions and millions of dollars to produce, there’s no real room to complain. At about ten hours, it s a fairly nice sized game that I would not only recommend, but demand gamers (and non-gamers) play. It’s that good, and sure to have more press upon its inevitable Steam release. Don’t miss this one.