Azriel Odin is a detective freshly landed on the near eternally rain drenched planet of Barracus, he’s there because the Boryokudan – the Mafia largely controlling things in the Gemini sector – has gotten their hands on his brother. Azriel is especially unhappy to be back here as he formerly used to work as an assassin for the Boryokudan, a period of time in his life that he greatly wishes he could put fully behind himself. Unfortunately for the trench coat wearing gumshoe, his contact on Barracus – as well as fellow compatriot during the Gemini Wars – has already attracted the attention of local mafia agents.
Meanwhile, in a mysterious hidden facility – known only as Center 7 – a man is having his memory wiped by a staff of mysterious physicians in response to his recent attempts to escape. Subject Delta Six – referred to the other patients simply as Charlie – awakens to find himself being told that his gun training is a part of his rehabilitation, and that he will be released back into society just as soon as he completes his final exam. With Charlie’s only means of earning meals being the completion of these tests, he has very little time left to discover what is going on around him – unless he wishes to straight up starve – before the facility’s Director completes his ominous plans for the amnesiac man.
Players of Gemini Rue (out now, $4.99) will have to play through both of these intertwined tales if they are to learn the truth of what has been going on in the Gemini system, and the answers are not what you might at first expect. Wadjet Eye Games’ recently released iOS port of Joshua Nuernberger’s critically acclaimed Graphic Adventure title has survived the platform change nearly issue free (more on this shortly). The end result is a Sci-Fi Noir mystery adventure that is heavily recommendable both to fans of the Graphic Adventure genre, as well as those interested in well crafted science fiction yarns.
Definitely aiding in Gemini Rue making a successful transition to the iOS’s purely touch screen driven interface is the fact that the original PC release was controlled almost entirely via a single mouse button. All players have to do is tap on a part of the scenery, and then which reaction type – or inventory object – they wish to use in response to the area of the screen they have just selected. For the most part this works without any hitches, although people on smaller screened devices will sometimes find it a tad difficult to get the game to successfully recognize taps on the smaller bits of scenery. Thankfully the developers have wisely chosen to aid in this process by labeling which objects can actually be interacted with if you hold down on the screen for a few seconds straight.
Although Gemini Rue plays with a standard point-and-click interface, much the same as virtually any other entry in the Graphic Adventure genre, it is worth noting that the puzzles found within are miles removed from its contemporaries. Where as most of its brethren will feature situations that are solved with convoluted applications of objects, to the point that even MacGyver would be jealous of the results, the solutions to most situations in Gemini Rue are rather logically low-key. For example: at various points throughout the tale our detective will break in through windows/doors by either kicking them in, or shooting their locks off, rather than taking any actions one might expect of Guybrush Threepwood.
While Gemini Rue’s asking price tag may seem a touch high compared to the usual going rate found on the App Store, I can assure all of you that this title has spared no expenses as far as presentation is concerned. For starters, every last line of dialogue found within this game – of which there is a hefty amount – is fully delivered via a diverse and talented stable of voice actors (although optional subtitles are also present for the hearing impaired). Those playing Gemini Rue in public places will assuredly want to avail themselves of any headsets they might have on hand so as not to miss any of the impressive acting found therein.
Accompanying this is a beautifully detailed array of fantastical pixel art imagery – powerfully invoking breathtaking gaseous nebulas, grime filled urban streets, cold medical testing chambers, and more – all paying homage to the low res VGA days that were easily the Graphic Adventure genre’s golden era. I don’t know why, but this is all currently presented through the unfortunate blur filter that seems to always accompany any and all pixel based games ported to the iOS operating system. If there is any justice in this world then hopefully Wadjet Eye Games will release an update in the near future that gives players the ability to turn this off, so that the finer details of the Gemini System can be more fully appreciated by mobile players.
iFanzine Verdict: Gemini Rue is an impressively delivered Graphic Adventure experience, albeit one that definitely leans far harder on the story telling aspect of the genre – rather than the puzzle solving side – when compared to most of its brethren. Thankfully – considering the puzzle lite focus – the story is a suitably gripping tale of sci-fi noir, immediately grabbing the player from the moment they first step onto the rain drenched streets of Barracus. Accompanying the excellent writing – as yet another perk – is a full-voicing, with every last bit of dialogue being delivered entirely by a diverse and talented stable of actors. The graphics that furthermore pay tribute to the VGA visuals seen in most titles of the Graphic Adventure genre’s glory days is yet another amazing touch, I just wish there wasn’t an annoying blur filter present mucking up the finer details present. For the most part the controls have made the transition the iOS platform fully unscathed, although users on iDevices with smaller screens will sometimes find it difficult to successfully tap on certain objects.