Game Review: Gemini Rue

[tw: racism]

If you pay any attention to my game reviews, you might have read my review about a little game called Resonance. This point-and-click adventure game revived my enthusiasm for the genre, even though the majority of games of this type still seem to operate on logic that only applies if you’re on the moon.

Gemini Rue is a cyberpunk point-and-click adventure game with a very noir aesthetic. You play as Azriel Odin, an ex-assassin turned cop who is searching for his brother. You also play as Delta-Six, a patient (read: prisoner) in a rehabilitation facility for criminals. The story revolves around memory and identity and at times it can get a little heavy-handed, but it’s still interesting if a little WTF at times.

The graphics are the same sort of pixel style as Resonance, but while the environments look great, I wasn’t that impressed by the character portraits, which were a little two pixel-y for my taste.

Environments are great, Character portraits are meh.

Gameplay-wise there are some interesting additions to the standard “click to move, click to pick up objects, combine objects” adventure game fare. Clicking on an object will bring up the Verb Interface, which consists of an eye icon (which looks at objects) a hand (which picks things up or manipulates them in some way) a mouth (obviously to talk to people) and a foot (to kick objects) as well as your inventory. When other characters team up with you to solve problems, you can order them to do things (like pick a lock on a door) although the co-op aspect is nowhere near as developed as Resonance.

The other interesting feature of this game is that there’s actual combat. Periodically, you’ll find yourself in a gunfight, and you need to use the WASD keys to move in and out of cover and the space bar to shoot. You can use Ctrl to take a breath and “concentrate”, and if you shoot them while the indicator’s flashing, you can pull off a headshot and kill them instantly. It’s not a particularly deep system, but it’s a nice diversion from puzzle-solving.

Speaking of the puzzles, the puzzles were very disappointing. Sometimes they were frustrating simply because I’d overlooked something (LOCK THE DOOR, YOU IDIOT!) but other times it was the game’s fault, either due to a pixel hunt, or just plain logic-defying puzzling akin to the vast majority of adventure games I’ve played (in particular, one puzzle that involved a plug that was veeeeery picky about how it wanted to be plugged in). There are some moments where you need to hurry up and complete a task, but there weren’t any really nail-biting moments like what I experienced while playing Resonance.

In other headaches, the game is set in a galaxy owned by the Boryokudan (basically the Yakuza) and most of the NPCs are Japanese, so why am I playing the gravelly voiced white guy with perma stubble again? (Another review claimed the PCs were all white, but if you look at the character portraits they tell a different story). The game is also pretty terrible when it comes to handling female characters. The one we hear the most about, Epsilon-Five, spends most of her time talking about how she’s so grateful to Delta-Six for saving her, which is bad enough without falling into the “submissive Asian woman” stereotype, Giselle, at least, seems resourceful even if she’s not the nicest person.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Resonance over this game unless you really like cyberpunk stuff. It has a more diverse cast and the puzzles make logical sense.

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