[Game Review] Gemini Rue

Gemini Rue is a pixel art cyberpunk / film noir adventure game by Wadjet Eye Games.

Discover a world where life is cheap, identities are bought & sold, & a quest for redemption can change the fate of a whole galaxy.

You play Azriel Odin, a retired assassin now working as a cop. You find yourself in a rain-stricken planet called Barracus, looking for people before the bad guys — the “Boryokudan” — do.

Graphics

gemini rueI’m a sucker for pixel art kinds of games, so I didn’t really hesitate to purchase Gemini Rue as soon as I saw the screenshots and the trailer. The vibe almost reminded me of Papers, Please so I was excited to play it.

The color scheme of the game is monochromatic, with some scenes having nice accents, keeping the whole game’s aesthetic in check.

As this is a point and click, you’d have to look closely for objects you may need to interact with which makes it more challenging especially with the graphics being pixel based. But it is especially challenging for the artists involved since they even added shading to their art, and that entails fixing even the smallest details majority of players would normally not notice. The portraits by themselves seem off but the contrast somehow complements when put together.

There is quite a number of errors in the dialogue. It’s usually not such a huge problem but for some sentences, it’s come to the point where you have to use context clues to figure out what some of them are saying. Other than that, the animation used for the entire thing is very well done — with no glitches — and personally nothing so difficult to identify. It does become somewhat a hassle later in the game, when you’d like to move faster and find things quickly.

Controls

gemini rue
Photo from Skidrow Games Reloaded

Probably one of the most frustrating I’ve come across so far. You need to right-click for majority of the game, and I played using a track pad, so I guess you can call it a feat (minus all my grunting every time I had to redo certain scenes because I kept dying). I stopped for a while because I found the main controls difficult, but at some point you get used to it and I didn’t mind right-clicking anymore until I get time pressured. I’m undecided between the thought of whether these controls are innovative, and/or unnecessary. It does mean the developers would have additional dialogues to add per choice (if you’re the kind of player that likes to see how choices affect your game play), but perhaps for other games, there’s more reason to pick exactly what to do with your environment.







Gameplay

gemini rueGemini Rue’s gameplay is a point-and-click puzzle adventure game, where you also get into shooting guns using your keyboard. Your background is all interactive; sometimes the people you pass by stare at you while you walk past them. It really makes you feel like you’re playing a detective game, with the mood set by the graphics and the sounds.

Another feature I liked is the ability to change who you’re controlling within the game. You first control Azriel Odin, and later Delta-Six: a patient in a facility whose memory was erased as punishment for attempting to escape. There isn’t a big number of characters in the game either, so it’s not difficult or confusing to have two main characters meeting other supporting characters in two different places. However the background information about the place itself can get quite confusing.

Sounds

Gemini Rue makes use of voice actors to improve the mood of the whole game. They all sound great and appropriate per character. Azriel Odin’s character to me sounds eternally tired — which seemed to match his personality — and I compared his voice to Batman’s. 😂 Every sound effect was original and properly used, nothing was overdone.

Conclusion

The morals of the game actually had me nodding, and I was pleasantly surprised to have learned new things. It’s not something I expected from Gemini Rue because of the mood. I was expecting a serious end or a prelude to a sequel. That being said it’s not recommendable to kids as it tackles violence, and drugs.

I had a rough start with this game, and I worried about wasting my money but it ended up growing on me, and I started to enjoy it when I understood more about the story. I did question why they named the bad guys the “boryokudan”, if there was any significance to any actual Japanese group within the game even if Japan didn’t exist in the world of Gemini Rue. In Japanese, the boryokudan are usually violent groups or gangs that are samurai-esque, but in the game, they were very much like old Hollywood kind of gangs, even down to the accents spoken.

It became quite cheesy for me in the end, but I did enjoy the game. I actually wished there were side-quests just to extend more of the playing, other than replaying for more Steam achievements.

Rating: 7 / 10

Find about more about Gemini Rue from Wadjet Eye Games’ website or on their Steam page. Buy this game on the App Store, or download the demo!




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