Wot I Think: Gemini Rue

By Richard Cobbett on October 26th, 2011 at 9:57 pm.

'They' apparently being the Guild of Exposition. Thanks, mystery lady!
After many long months, Valve has finally seen sense and granted one of the most atmospheric indie adventures ever a spot on the mighty Steam store. But if you missed taking a look at it earlier this year… cough… is now the time to head into its dark streets?

Gemini Rue is a game about many things. Identity. Faith. Morality. Pointing. Clicking. For me, the point it clicked was a couple of screens in, splashing through the dark streets of Barracus to the accompaniment of ghostly jazz under constant rain. As low resolution and low-tech as Gemini Rue is, it has as good a grasp of atmosphere as any game you’re likely to play this year, and it’s that as much as anything else that makes it such a joy to sink into for an evening.

Wait. Cancel that. Just realised it was a stupid question. Have a free cake ticket, Delta Six. I promise it's not a lie this time.

Most of the plot is impossible to talk about without liberal use of spoiler warnings, so I’ll try to keep things at their absolute simplest. Gemini Rue is the story of two characters in two very different settings – former assassin Azriel Odin, searching for the location of his missing brother on a world controlled by the Boryokudan* space yakuza, and an amnesiac prisoner called Delta-Six, whose lack of an identity isn’t going to stop him escaping the sterile brainwashing hell of the mysterious Center 7 before he gets kicked out as someone new. For much of the game you get to switch between them at will, though distance means their puzzles never intersect.

(* Apparently a real term, not just a set-up for the joke “Boryokudan?” “I didn’t even know I had one!” This is a Serious Adventure, after all, and the subjects of that pun have guns.)

Stylistically, the main split is Azriel acting as a Blade Runner/noir style detective and Delta Six working on a jailbreak while undergoing weapons training… and hoping his story ends more happily than 1213. And that’s all the plot you’re getting. Suffice to say, it’s a good story – and a rare example of an excellent indie adventure that plays things completely straight – that’s very well told, even if some of the big plot beats are more than a little predictable. Whether you find big surprises or not though, there’s plenty of drama, the main characters are excellent, and the resolution ties everything together in a very satisfying way. Happily? Not saying.

Well, it would sorta destroy the story and stuff...

On the design side, Gemini Rue is a solid adventure, though not without its rough edges. While never overshadowing the good stuff, the interface is clunky and unpleasant, and the puzzles and pacing are often incredibly flabby. Nothing will hold you up for long, so it’s not as big a deal as it might be, but you can spend a lot of time wandering and backtracking through basically empty locations, with more than a couple of puzzles relying on incredible convenience or reverse-engineered design over actually making a plan. As an example, one early challenge is to find a futuristic doodad that you need, which you stumble across because there’s a puzzle blocking your entrance into a specific building, not because you know it’s in there in the first place or have any actual reason to barge in uninvited. You’re also repeatedly thrown into truly dreadful, fiddly combat sequences, which act as yet another reminder of why most adventure games have historically avoided them like a jellified lump of the plague. Luckily, these bits are a cakewalk, and there’s constant autosaving that stops them ever being a huge nuisance.

Right. Big finger-wagging bit over. Onto the rest of the good stuff.

Of the regular puzzles, the most notable things are the added physicality of many of them, to the point that a kick is one of your standard (and most useful) action verbs, and how many rely on other characters’ skills. These are especially effective in the Center 7 sections, helping build a feeling of growing relationships between the prisoners, even as questions are raised over who can actually be trusted and who might have a different agenda in mind.

Azriel’s adventures tend to be the most enjoyable though, with life-and-death games of hide and seek, the more imminent threat of being gunned down by Boryokudan thugs, and screen after screen of decaying future to explore at will. It may be limited to a few streets, but they’re good ones, and successfully convey the feeling that there is a bigger world out there that Azriel simply has no need to visit. That said, it is more than a bit of a disappointment to leave them behind at the end of the first act, only to be dumped straight back instead of going somewhere new.

The combat interface alone screams 'No! Run away! Run awaaaaaaay!'

Gemini Rue is far from a difficult game, with little but occasionally weak telegraphing of what you’re meant to do next likely to hold you up for long. As with Wadjet Eye’s more recent Blackwell Deception though, the length feels right for the story it’s trying to tell – if not a little bit too padded in the middle sections. While some of the later conversations switch into Lecture Mode a little too freely, it’s in dealing with these issues that Gemini Rue shines, far more than when coming up with clever ways to open locked doors and hide keycards under corpses.

It’s great that Gemini Rue has done so well since its release, and that people who’d never normally have touched an adventure have been sucked into its dark, lo-fi world. While it has been somewhat over-rated in some corners, it’s a rare example of a good serious adventure with appeal beyond the standard point-and-clicking community. If you love classic adventures, that’s great. You’re in equally good hands though if you’re just in the mood for a good sci-fi story that doesn’t boil down to blowing lots of people away with guns, a detective style game, or simply a nostalgic kick back to the days of things like Beneath A Steel Sky. And Opal Fruits.

(Oh, and if you’re attracted to it because the style and world design remind you a little bit of Cowboy Bebop… let’s just say you might just spot a couple of familiar faces on the streets of Barracus. Along with a few other in-jokes sneaking their way into the serious sci-fi, like the labels on some storage crates that only old-school adventurers are likely to recognise.)

Incidentally, I love your space-sofas. Please tell me you've got Faye hidden away somewhere too.

This Steam re-release of Gemini Rue is identical to the one sold on the Wadjet Eye Games site UPDATE: aside from the addition of achievements and cloud savegame syncing, and easily one of the best serious adventures available on it at the moment. (Yes, there are good comedy ones, like the Dan and Ben series, and a few classics like Syberia, but most that don’t have the Sierra or Lucasarts logo on can be safely skipped – especially the ones that just end up being bloody hidden object games in disguise). Hopefully it’ll do well enough for Valve to relax a little and let a few more indie adventures earn a slot based on pure quality, rather than having to show up with an IGF award or similar for a chance at admittance.

If you’re an adventure fan who hasn’t played it yet, you really must. It’s one of the best commercial offerings in a ages, indie or not, and a great reminder of why you love the genre. Even if you’re not typically into your point and clicks though, it’s worth at least trying the demo and giving the chance for its atmospheric rain to sweep you away like so much crap in the street in style. It’s the perfect accompaniment for a dark autumn night, and an adventure you’ll remember no matter what happens in the scary memory wiping chair.

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119 Comments »

  1. thedavehooker says:

    Hopefully the Indie Royale gives out the Steam code for this.

    • c-Row says:

      That was actually the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the first paragraph as well.

    • bitbot says:

      The steam code is coming, they said so on their twitter.

    • Ernesto says:

      Playing via Steam or using the direct download… What’s the difference?? I don’t really understand this Steam-o-philia…

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      None, except that a lot of people prefer buying Steam for convenience, to add the game to their library, and to know exactly who they’re handing their credit card details to.

    • sabrage says:

      It’s exceedingly convenient to have the multitudes of games I get from these bundles in one place.. What’s wrong with that?

    • Casimir Effect says:

      This was in the wrong place entirely. Bugger

    • johnpeat says:

      Games bought on Steam can be installed on any PC I own, any time I like without having to find discs or download files and then patches and then try to shoehorn is all together/

      For that reason alone I prefer to use Steam – that’s before you consider the social bits (which I do use) and other stuff.

      It’s ironic that other digital content delivery isn’t so smart – iTunes, for example, is missing a HUGE trick in only allowing a one-off download of a track – storing someone’s music collection online is the next big thing whether they like it or not – you’re either part of this or you’re going to be left behind.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      That’s different now. You can redownload as often as you want.

      (Though it took waaaaaay too long for that to become the case.)

    • Thants says:

      It’s funny how the great wave of the future, that I’d have to be a Luddite to oppose, is always something that takes more control of my own things away from me.

    • tstapp1026 says:

      I’m curious… doesn’t EA require you to pay some type of premium for their download service on a game after a year? I’m not trying to start a “Damn you, EA” thread here… just asking since we’re on the topic.

  2. MattM says:

    Was valve rejecting this game in the past? Do they know why?

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yeah, it was originally rejected.

    • Kaira- says:

      A lot of games get rejected from Steam. I believe it was until recently that all of Spiderweb Software’s games were rejected from Steam. And Super Meat Boy, and if I remember correctly, Braid. Stuff like that.

      Edit:/ And now also Vic.
      http://www.crypticcomet.com/blog/?p=752

    • Cinnamon says:

      Maybe because it feels very adventure game studio and doesn’t have much in the way of interesting gameplay.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Your mum feels very adventure game studio and has so little in the way of interesting gameplay, she always unlocks her front door by putting a bit of paper under it and poking the key out with a cocktail stick.

    • Soon says:

      I use her with masking tape and syrup to create a fake moustache.

    • Cinnamon says:

      So you can say that the combat is dreadful and the puzzles are flabby and contrived but I’m not allowed to say anything? Right.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      It’s the power of the pink background. I also get free yoghurt.

    • Khemm says:

      But.. but… I’ve heard so many wonderful stories about this super awesome company called Valve and its super awesome boss Newell…
      Stories about Valve working their butts off day and night to help those poor indie developers financially, help them gain publicity by letting Newell hug those devs in public, not to mention allow them to publish on Steam…

      …Yet you’re now claiming that a GEM like Gemini Rue was REJECTED? LIES! Valve would NEVER do such a thing, they’re soooooooooooooooo indie-friendly!

    • Cinnamon says:

      If the yoghurt is as fresh as your “yo momma” jokes and old man murray adventure game criticism then you can keep it.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      It also has strawberries in it.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      But does it come with adverts featuring women eternally rubbing their stomachs and complaining about their digestion or lack thereof?

    • Zeewolf says:

      “Edit:/ And now also Vic.
      http://www.crypticcomet.com/blog/?p=752

      Hey, thanks for the link. I think I’ll take advantage of the NEVER ON STEAM SALE and get Six Gun Saga.

      Though it’s a bit annoying that Armageddon Empires got rejected. As long as Steam is the most important digital retailer on the PC, it would be nice if they were a bit more open to niche stuff. I think it would result in a more healthy market.

      Edit: Uh, also, on-topic: Gemini Rue is great. Not quite as good as Blackwell Deception IMO, but well worth playing. And I’m glad Valve saw reason and started selling it on Steam. Hopefully it will be followed by more Wadjet Eye-games and adventures in general.

    • Starky says:

      Frankly I’m GLAD that steam is a bit strict on what it does and doesn’t allow – sure it sucks that the odd good game might get rejected – but if it prevents steam from getting positivity overrun by the thousands of utterly shite hidden object games, casual “indie” bullshit, and glorified flash/iphone games that infest other indie and casual portals then it is a price worth paying.
      Not that steam doesn’t have it’s fair share of shitty casual titles (as pointed out below meridian 4 are on there) but those things as much as we “serious gamers” may hate it, sell – and probably have a good sales record when approaching Valve to bolster their application.

      Think of it as a reward for good indie games – as in if indie devs make a good, polished relatively bug free game that finds an audience and gets some positive press – then even if they were initially rejected valve is clearly willing to accept re-submissions, and change their mind.

      And lets face it, on first glance Gemini Rue does indeed look like a amateur adventure game studio made thing, I know I initially dismissed it as just another bad adventure game (of which there are thousands) until it started getting some possessive press and word of mouth.

      -

    • Starky says:

      God damn this stupid eff’ing spam filter!

      Seriously – no links, nothing that should set off a spam filter, just normal text – what the hell…

      This was what I was trying to post:
      http://img502.imageshack.us/img502/4242/textdr.gif

    • El_Emmental says:

      @ Starky

      “Frankly I’m GLAD that steam is a bit strict on what it does and doesn’t allow – sure it sucks that the odd good game might get rejected – but if it prevents steam from getting positivity overrun by the thousands of utterly shite hidden object games

      Meanwhile on Steam…

      The Clockwork Man
      The Clockwork Man: The Hidden World
      Hidden Expedition: Amazon
      Hidden Expedition: Titanic
      Hidden Expedition: Everest
      Kuros
      Book of Legends
      Dream Chronicles
      Escape Rosecliff Island
      Mystery PI: The New York Fortune
      Mystery PI: Lost in Los Angeles
      Mystery PI: The Vegas Heist
      Mystery PI: The Lottery Ticket
      The Wizard’s Pen
      Amazing Adventures Around the World
      Amazing Adventures The Lost Tomb
      Nightshift Legacy: The Jaguar’s Eye
      The Nightshift Code
      Romance of Rome
      Valerie Porter and the Scarlet Scandal
      Mystery Case Files: Huntsville
      Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspect
      Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate
      Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst
      Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst
      The Search for Amelia Earhart
      Season of Mystery: The Cherry Blossom Murders
      The Otherside: Realm of Eons
      Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water’s Edge
      Nancy Drew: The Captive Curse
      Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill REMASTERED
      Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister
      Nancy Drew: The Haunter Carousel
      Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor
      Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island
      Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy
      Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock
      Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull
      Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships
      Nancy Drew Dossier : Resorting to Danger!
      Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon
      Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy
      Nancy Drew: Danger by Design
      Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake
      Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet hand
      Nancy Drew: The White Wolf o Icicle Creek
      Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!
      Nancy Drew: The phantom of Venice
      Nancy Drew: The Creature of Kapu Cave
      etc…

      Hidden objects games do exist on Steam, and they sell pretty well to the “real” casual market.

      nb: a good bunch of them are edited by Popcap (you can’t say no to Peggle/PvsZ devs) – now owned by EA by the way.

      ps: yes, I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere, waiting for my train, so I have the time to browse the Steam Store for hidden objects games.

    • BooleanBob says:

      ‘Cus I’m the casual market
      Yes I’m the real market
      All you other casual markets
      Can just go and “park it”
      So won’t the real casual market
      Please stand up
      Please stand up
      Please stand up

      In all seriousness Vic’s 50% off everything sale strikes me as something RPS should be giving a little promotional love. If anyone deserves a money hat, right?

    • Dervish says:

      The Nancy Drew games may be simplistic and uninspired, but are nevertheless adventure games proper, not hidden object games. At least, all the ones I’ve seen are, including a few in that list.

  3. jellydonut says:

    where’s the cutscenes where my controls are taken away and i have to mash buttons randomly to proceed? where are the arrows pointing me where to go so i can shoot more infinite hordes of grey men?

    do not want.
    sincerely,
    buying public 2011

    • Casimir Effect says:

      you forgot “Where is my awful browser integrated into the game? Where’s my shitty attempt at a social network interface? Where’s my required always-on internet connection? Where are the legions of people ready and willing to question my sexuality and the honour of my mother depending on how I play the game?”.

    • Yosharian says:

      Steam doesn’t require a constant internet connection.

  4. Alextended says:

    Worth mentioning you can turn off the portraits in these screenshots for a more classic “colored text over the person speaking” look. I like it that way.

    …although that shooting segment HUD can’t be turned off/reduced, sadly.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, portraits is classic Sierra…

      Also, hot damn is this game pretty. Those are some niiiiice backgrounds, and some very Revolution characters.

  5. Drayk says:

    Should try that at some point… Reminds me a bit of both ‘beneath a steel sky’ and ‘Flashback’

    • Fwiffo says:

      Those camera angles just SCREAM Beneath a Steel Sky.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      SCREAM!

    • zeroskill says:

      Yep am about half an hour into the game and it feels very much Beneath a Steel Sky. Which is a good thing. Enjoying it so far too.

    • Thordalis says:

      These shooting screenshots really reminded me of Flashback, too. I loved that game!
      Bought the game from the Royale Indie Bundle today, hope I will enjoy it.

  6. Fox89 says:

    I’m not generally an adventure fan. Or rather I tried a few point and clicks before and could never get into them. But I picked this up about… 2 hours ago with the Indie Royale offer and installed it on Desura. And I’m really enjoying it so far. Even the combat bits.

    Azriel had to tell me off quite a bit in the opening 20 minutes as I tried desperately to kick everything.

    “It’s a terminal. I’ve got no need to kick it.”
    “Kicking a lamp post wont do any good.”
    “I’m not trying to start a fight here.”
    “Kicking this gate wont help.”
    “I can’t kick a photograph”.

    Ah, good times.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      “Now you’ve done it. You’ve broken Azriel’s spirit with your attempts to beat up that silly object.”

    • RakeShark says:

      I’m not putting my lips on that.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      “But launching on Steam at £5.94, or in the Launch Bundle for a couple of quid, or whatever it is now – possibly not marketing genius.”

      Yeah, I wrote this up a couple of days ago, before I knew about that. My response to seeing it earlier can best be summed up with two raised eyebrows and a murmur.

    • Mistabashi says:

      Valve have commented before about the rather unexplained tendency for games to continue to sell at an accelerated rate even after a promotional discount has ended, so perhaps they are looking to capitalise on that? I guess it isn’t really that unexplained, as a discount price leads to more people buying the game, which leads to more people talking about the game on blogs and forums, so it does kind of make sense.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      + Dave is giving free Steam keys on request with receipt from Plimus (already requested mine) and he wrote something about him giving away free copies on the twitter feed tmrw. I just love this guy, too bad he is already married (j/k).

    • Mimus says:

      Mailed him with my original order receipt and he replied with a steam code for this really quickly. :)

  7. alms says:

    With so many crappy casual games available on Steam it’s mind boggling they rejected this one. Good thing they have changed their mind!

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I always scratch my head when I hear about some of the rejected games. Especially when you look at the shit that Meridian4 sells on steam–apart from a few good adventure titles, half of their content is crap and the other half doesn’t work at all.

      It also makes me wonder if Valve is just rejecting some games that I’d really like to have on steam: Pathologic, Fort Zombie, Gray MAtter–to name a few (I mention these because all are available on gamersgate and distributed by publishers that have games on steam, yet are strangely absent from steam).

    • Thants says:

      Pathologic really does have sub-professional English translation though. I’m kind of annoyed at Ice-Pick Lodge of not giving us a real version of it.

    • malkav11 says:

      They had nothing to do with the English translation for Pathologic, and receive no royalties for any sales of it either. They did initiate a retranslation project that to date hasn’t really gone anywhere as far as I know, but it’s tough to blame them when there’s a lot of work involved and no pay.

  8. Jake says:

    Azriel Odin is a name that means business. I’ll try the demo, I am a little worried about how the graphics will look on a 27″ monitor.

    • Fox89 says:

      I had a problem where the interface was hidden by the letterboxing. If that happens there’s a checkbox in the config application about the side bars for widescreen monitors. I can’t remember what it actually says but if you have that problem, find the box that mentions bars and widescreen monitors and check it ;)

    • Freud says:

      It feels like one of those names that is revealed to be an anagram towards the end.

      “Ionize Lard. That was the plan all along”.

    • Jake says:

      or maybe the last puzzle is a telephone and the only way to win is to Dial Zero In.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      > IDOLIZE RAN

      “I do not see Ran here.”

  9. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Nice. Thanks for the heads-up, Richard. You’re my man.

  10. Tom says:

    loved this game. recommended.

  11. Melloj says:

    Experienced a couple of bugs, mostly as Delta Six where a door that shouldn’t have opened till later in the game did and messed things up royally. Other than that, this was the most fun I had in an adventure game in quite a long while.

    The plot is great, and does a good job of still surprising you even though you think you know exactly what is going on.

    It was a good length as it left me wanting more at the end and almost never left me frustrated over a ‘combine everything with everything else in your inventory’ type solution.

  12. GarfildMonmutskii says:

    With a slight knowledge of Japanese it’s easy to decode “Boryokudan”.
    That’s the word.
    暴力団 【ぼうりょくだん】 gangster organisation
    After transcribing to English we get “Bouryokudan”. That word realy has a meaning.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Especially if you have a kudan to lend.

    • Benkyo says:

      Took me a while to figure out Richard’s comment, but I suppose it does look like ‘borry-oh-kudan’ or ‘borrow-kudan’.

      For people like me who hate not knowing how names in novels are pronounced, it’s ‘bo’ as in bow and arrow, ‘ryo’ in one syllable with a short ‘o’ as in pot (not ‘ree-o’ or ‘row’), ‘ku’ as in coup d’etat and ‘dan’ as in… dan.

      EdIt: Now I’ve actually played the game I realise it’s not just text and they have the voice actors (or at least the first guy) saying ‘borryoKUdan’ and it makes me cringe. Oh well.

    • JohnArr says:

      This is why RPS wins awards.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      Well.. this, and superior yoghurt.

    • Eolirin says:

      If the pronunciation is like Japanese, then the o in ryo is a long o, not a short o. It should sound like “Oh!”. The short o sound in japanese is ‘a’. The ryo sound does not exist in english though, it’s somewhat like squishing the sounds “lee” and “yo” together. Also, the u sound in ku is usually unvoiced if followed by a consonant. The spot in the word the emphasis should be placed on can vary though,

    • Benkyo says:

      Eolirin: Good point regarding the ‘u’, I hadn’t thought about it until I heard the awful borryohKUdan voice acting over-emphasising it. ‘u’ should be unvoiced for male/gruff female speakers at the end of words and barely present mid-word regardless of gender.

      You’re mistaken regarding ryo though, no two ways about that. Admittedly it is somewhere between an ‘o’ and an ‘oh’, but if English speakers give it the lazy long ‘oh!’ sound like they do in the game it’s just pure wrong. Shorter is better. Surprisingly enough they do put some effort into avoiding the two-syllable ‘ree-yo’ and even get the half ‘r’ half ‘l’ sound but I appreciate that that’s the hardest thing about the word for anyone who isn’t fluent.

      You can just break it down to all its equally-weighted characters:

      bo-u-ryo-ku-da-n

      You get the long ‘bow’ because of the ‘u’ that is often omitted in English transcription, but keeping ‘ryo’ as short as all the other characters is the goal for English speakers.

      Anyway, my attempt to help out pronunciation perfectionists turned out to be completely pointless once I realised the game is all voice acted. No point trying to get it right in your head when every character in the game pronounces it differently. Easier to assume that since it’s science-fiction the word they use is as far removed from modern Japanese as modern English is from Shakespeare… or something like that.

  13. Inglourious Badger says:

    Oh sweet! I played the demo only last week after everyone mentioned it in the Deception comments, and loved every minute of it. Didn’t buy it yet though as was hoping it would turn up cheaper somewhere soon and…. here it is on Steam at half the price! I think this is what they call consumer fate. I must buy. And enjoy.

    Don’t worry Richard, I still read your review! And very good it was too. I like “for me the point it clicked…”. You did something there and I saw there that thing that you did.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Oh wait, right. It’s in the Indie Bundle that I didn’t read about until after I bought from Steam. Nuts.

      Oh well, money well spent anyway by the looks of it. Now to complete this before BF3 hits the UK

  14. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    I really enjoy the in-jokes…. like the Monkey Island one in the gansta HQ :)

  15. Khemm says:

    Steam supporters won’t listen to me anyway, but if I were them, I would buy this game directly from the developer instead of denying him the 30% of the price or whatever Valve’s cut is…
    Talented people deserve every single penny and Gemini Rue is simply awesome.

    • KenTWOu says:

      Talented people deserve good promotion, especially when you have a lot of Steam friends and could recommend the game via Steam.

  16. McGarnical says:

    Have any of you fine folk heard of The White Chamber? http://www.studiotrophis.com/site/projects/thewhitechamber

    It got me into adventure games again a few years ago and the writeup of this game reminds me of it. Very atmospheric and a decent way to spend an hour or two.

  17. michal.lewtak says:

    Don’t judge a book by its cover applies so much with this game.
    This is one of the greatest games I played this year. And we’re in the year Portal 2 was released.

  18. DaveGilbert says:

    Hello! Dave from Wadjet Eye Games here. Just wanted to pop in to say hello and apologize for this Indie Royale kerfluffle. If I knew what day they were doing to launch that bundle, I probably wouldn’t have included the game. I had only just found out the other day, and by that point both launches were set in stone. So… it’s quite embarrassing. Sorry about that.

    • McGarnical says:

      I really don’t see the problem. I guess someone might buy it on Steam and then realise they could have bought it cheaper in the bundle..?

      Anyway, the game looks great and I look forward to playing it!

    • malkav11 says:

      I think it’s more that people might see it on Steam, go, hmm, interesting…oh look, I can get this game and three others for a third of the price in this bundle right over here, and do that instead. I know I did. I very well might’ve bought it at $8.50 – it looks like my speed, and I’ve enjoyed The Shivah and the first Blackwell game – but not with Indie Royale a click away.

  19. pupsikaso says:

    Who is this Richard Cobbet guy? It’s nice that he’s talking about an indie game here, but he sure seems like a real prick from the comments he’s leaving behind.

    • Sic says:

      This is some internal joke I take it?

    • Shadram says:

      Cobbett’s been a contributor for ages. He’s funny. He makes jokes in comments.

    • Nick says:

      Who is this pupsikaso guy? It’s nice that he is commenting on an indie game wot I think, but he sure seems like a real prick from the comments he’s leaving behind.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      He’s really big in the yoghurt world, didn’t you know? Oh, and apparently he might have played an adventure game once.

    • Wulf says:

      Actually, he’s dealing with criticism in a non-confrontational way, with jokes and silliness. It may be a touch on the passive-aggressive side, depending on how you look at it, but given the criticisms he could have been much more confrontational, aggressive, and even nasty. I’m not sure what about what he did marks him specifically as a jerk.

      Dismissive, maybe, but if you’re a sometimes contributor for a main site, would you want to be the one to perpetuate a comments argument, rather than defuse it? Again, laying down the “I’m not going to argue with you.” in a non-confrontational way doesn’t strike me as a dickish move.

      /shrug

  20. Sic says:

    Does this mean that the Blackwell games will be on Steam soon?

  21. Navagon says:

    It’s a classic. In every way it seems like a part of the adventure game golden age, except for the release date.

  22. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Why is Delta-Six afraid of Centre 7?
    Because Centre 7 eight Gamma-Nine!

    • Shadram says:

      He ONEts (wants) TWO (to) be THREE (free) FOUR (for)… erm…
      I now regret starting to write this comment. I’m sorry.

  23. Thants says:

    I really love the atmosphere in this game. The low-fi graphics work very well.

  24. JFS says:

    Such a great game. I’m still wondering how it took that review so long to arrive here. At least now it’s in a bundle an on Steam, so this article is bound to generate more revenue than if it had been out in February. A good thing.

  25. Tim James says:

    Richard, what are your thoughts on the Yahtzee games and the Sam&Max remake? I’ve played one game of each and was moderately interested, but I want to know if I should commit to the rest. I’m not a huge fan of the genre, probably because I haven’t played all the classics yet.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      The Telltale games suffer from the company’s standard problem of not so much sticking to a template as actively welding itself to The Three Trials, but they’re okay. The first series is completely skippable aside from the free episode, which was easily the best of it. The second series only really picks up in the second half. The third, The Devil’s Playhouse, is pretty damn good – a concerted effort to push the boat out a bit, which I really enjoyed. (Same goes for Tales of Monkey Island, which is solid throughout, bar a few facepalm moments in the story and a few annoying bits like overusing the jungle sets.)

      Yahtzee’s games are pretty cool – the later ones, at least. The really early stuff is largely generic ‘this is what people make with AGS’ fare and can be avoided completely – Rob Blanc, Odysseus Kent etc. 5 Days A Stranger is pretty weak, but has a cooler premise and a good main character, and that series gets better and better as it continues (7 Days A Skeptic, Trilby’s Notes, 6 Days A Sacrifice). 1213 and Art of Theft are interesting and often entertaining attempts at making action games in the AGS engine, though best thought of as exactly that – clunky, but with interesting bits.

      Adventures in the Galaxy of Fantabulous Wonderment is probably the one that I wish had been more popular, being a fusion of Space Quest 3 and Privateer, though still pretty janky when it comes to the extra elements. (The prices of things never change for instance, so making money is purely a question of finding one simple run and then doing it until you could theoretically defeat the enemies by buying their planet and having it paved over to make the world’s biggest parking garage.) But it’s still pretty neat.

  26. RyuRanX says:

    Simply the best Adventure game I’ve played in years.

  27. orient1 says:

    Loved the atmosphere. Much better than most adventures nowadays, though I thought the writing was a bit bland and bloated, especially toward the end.

  28. BobsLawnService says:

    I’ve never seen this game before but let me guess. The twist is that the amnesiac is the assasin and you are just playing in different timelines.

  29. jti says:

    Yet another game I bought because of your articles. You guys are certainly doing your bit for the PC gaming.

  30. Wulf says:

    Liking this one quite a lot. It’s definitely a thing. I think what I’m appreciating about it so far though is the atmosphere, which it has oodles of. Some have pegged it as Beneath a Steel Sky, and it’s certainly that, it almost feels like it could have been developed by Revolution and set in the same Universe. It just has that… feel about it. The art direction, the lighting, the angles, the partial views…

    Anyway, it’s pretty fun. And the voice acting surprised me by not being bad at all, I was even more surprised that there was voice acting, to be honest… it’s helpful for a short-sighted person such as myself. Very much so.

    I’d give this one a thumbs up. If you like that sort of thing. Which I do.

    Really, it’s just a matter of asking yourself “Did you like Beneath a Steel Sky?”, if the answer to that is yes then something about this is bound to click with you.

  31. Olivaw says:

    I refuse to believe that a person who named one of their main characters “Azriel Odin” and gave the other main character amnesia could ever write a good story.

    It’s impossible.

  32. Nallen says:

    So if I get this on steam I get the added bonus of immersion breaking achievement pop-ups? SWEEEEET.

  33. Subject 706 says:

    Liked this adventure a lot but I kind of wish it had higher definition graphics.

  34. Yosharian says:

    Are these indie bundles publicised anywhere? I always seem to miss them.

  35. The Reviewist says:

    It’s a grand game. Also reminded me a lot of La Jetee and French sci-fi cartoon Les Maistres du Temps.
    I really enjoyed it.

  36. fugo says:

    i hate to ask, because its a really individual thing and all, but roughly how many hours will this consume? sounds really good but i’m really limited on gaming time at the moment so wondering if i can slot this in or not..

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      No real answer to that. Will you miss a hotspot and have to spend an hour walking around? Will you instantly click with the use of the foot icon? Will you go to GameFAQs and check the walkthrough every time you get stuck, or go to the shops for some mind-boosting Fruit Pastilles? It shouldn’t take more than a few hours, but there’s no point trying to get too specific. That’s why I tend to focus more on whether it feels a satisfying length for the story it’s telling.

    • fugo says:

      i understand.. but a ballpark figure rounded to say 5 hours? i hate starting games, running out of time and never finishing them!

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      If you play it at the right pace (i.e. listening to the dialogue instead of clicking through it, not cheating etc) assume 5-8 hours depending on how good you are at adventure game logic/if you get stuck.

    • fugo says:

      cheers, sounds like i’ll be able to find a slot for it (though might add a few hours because my adventure logic circuits haven’t been used for so long they’ve rusted up a bit..)

  37. fugo says:

    comment fail, ignore this!

  38. Coucouyou says:

    Nice and cheap game, love it.

  39. Radiant says:

    My biggest gripe with serious adventure / puzzle games is that they’re usually telling you a boring convoluted story whilst annoying you with puzzles.

    Saying that. Totally buying this.

  40. Carra says:

    Saying that only LucasArts & Sierra make good adventure games isn’t very fair towards other companies.

    Played “The Next Big thing” which is a fine adventure game. And finished Lost Horizon a few weeks ago which was a good adventure game. And of course Telltale games manages to create some decent to good games. Admittedly, they’re not up to the level set by LucasArts but they’re still fine games.

    They still make the games, the audience is just a niche public these days.

  41. BoZo says:

    I hope this will come to Android sometime…

  42. Rinneval says:

    Actually, for the part where you have to find the Carbon-Ray Stabilizer, you are supposed to check out either the terminal or the newspaper you get and you can read about how the place was burned down and how they were in possession of contraband technology.

  43. Baka says:

    I don’t know if anyone official checks comments this late, but the Gemini Rue WiT lacks the “Gemini Rue” Tag. I could only find it because I knew for a fact that there was one on RPS and wanted to show it to a friend. If this reaches anyone able to, he should probably fix that. =)

  44. HSuke says:

    Just wanted to stop by and say that this is among my favorite adventure games of all time. A masterfully-told story.