With Game Muse having covered previous Wadjet Eye releases such as Primordia and The Blackwell Bundle, I immediately knew I was in for a real treat with the iOS release of their stark science-fiction thriller Gemini Rue. First released for the PC way back in 2011 and at the time recipient of numerous adventure Game of the Year awards; this 2013 update once again tells the account of former assassin Azriel Odin, scouring the criminal underworld of the rundown and rain-drenched streets of planet Barracus in a desperate search for his missing brother.
At the same time, we also follow the struggles of mysterious Delta-Six, a patient who awakes trapped within the confines of a sinister medical institute called Center 7. With his memories wiped completely clean, Delta-Six must soon form an unsteady alliance with his fellow patients, as they work together in a desperate bid to escape the baleful prison before loosing themselves forever. As a cruel fate brings Azriel Odin and Delta-Six closer together, we discover a world where life is cheap, identities are bought and a quest for redemption can change the fortune of an entire galaxy stood on the brink of falling apart. Two stories entwined into one uncertain outcome.
What hit me right from the start was the wonderfully detailed atmosphere presented in Gemini Rue. The grimly soaked, graffiti smeared streets of 23rd century Barracus would not look out of place on the set of Blade Runner (1982); while the austere, eerily sterile chambers of the Center 7 were reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) and Alex Proyas’ Dark City (1998).
Throw in a substantial dose of science-fiction film noir, wrapped around an intelligent, well-written plot that doesn’t submit or pander to the audience, and what you have is a world that demands to be exploration populated with a mix of interesting characters to encounter. The narrative of any adventure often holds a pivotal role but I’m pleased to say that Gemini Rue stands above many others, even films, in delivering an utterly compelling yarn that grips you from the start but will leave you thinking long after the story has finished. That the game was written, designed and developed by one man, Joshua Nuernberger, is a testament to his sheer skill. His director’s commentary is not only a novel feature but also a great insight into the conception of the game.
For those lamenting the lack of a mouse-operated pointer (and initially I was one) fret not as the transition from PC to iOS device has been incredibly successful. In fact you can’t help but wonder why this isn’t done more often; a simple tap allows you to move while holding your fat, greasy finger down over an object of interest opens up a small menu that allows you to choose between looking, talking or interacting with said item. This works perfectly for the numerous puzzles which are thankfully more logical than whimsical randomness. If you want information you can either just ask or search for it, there are no combinations of coconuts, coat hangers and bicycle brakes to tickle a security guard to distract him from his post this time around.
That said, when the occasional action set piece kicks-in, the controls can feel ever so slightly cumbersome in acquiring and dispatching targets. Though I’m willing to blame it on my aforementioned fat fingers than it being a real issue, it certainly doesn’t detract from the experience. Another aspect of Gemini Rue that pleasantly surprised me is the copious amount of voice acting. Every character you meet has fully vocalised dialogue that brings them to life. It may not be groundbreaking but it does a marvellous job.
I really hope that Gemini Rue is the start of something special for iOS devices. Some PC owners of the original may not find much to come back to but there is a lot to offer for newcomers like myself. A sharp, thought-provoking plot encompassed in beautiful presentation that harks back to the roots of adventure games. Gemini Rue is an accomplished, modern point and click title for a mature audience that can’t help but to leave you wanting more for Wadjet Eye Games, the new kings of the genre.