Gemini Wars – Review

Gemini Wars

developed by Camel 101

Gemini Wars is a Real-Time Space Strategy with some 4X Strategy elements thrown in for good measure.  It’s a great new addition to the genre, even though it does feel like half a dozen other space strategy games of recent memory.  Lessons it borrows from other space strategy games, and what it adds to the genre, are done as well as any other space strategy game, if not a little bit better.  The campaign and story is fairly well done, though somewhat cliched, while the gameplay is evenly paced and balanced for the most part.  Fans of space games and the Sci-Fi strategy genre are sure to find Gemini Wars both entertaining and challenging.

What really impressed me is how the developers at Camel 101 created Gemini Wars to be picked up and played by gamers who already enjoy the setting and strategy of this genre, but also those gamers who might be new to or intimidated by the space strategy genre as well.  There is still quite a bit of complexity within the games exploration, combat, and research elements, but it’s presented in a way that’s easy to grasp and understand with little confusion as to what you should do or how you should go about doing it.  The tutorial in Gemini Wars is probably one of the best I’ve seen in a space strategy game.  It does a great job of introducing players to the user interface, ship building and base construction, space travel, exploration, combat maneuvers, and planetary colonization.

Story:
The Sci-Fi futuristic setting of Gemini Wars takes place in the year 2178, in the Gemini Sector.  A war wages between the United Space Federation (USF) and the Alliance of Free Worlds.  Both factions are vying for power and the control of multiple star systems.  Until recently, both factions were at a stalemate, but new events have threatened to tip the tides in favor of the Alliance.

The story is really nothing new, but each mission of Gemini Wars campaign unfolds with the intrigue of an entertaining space opera.  Each level is introduced with a small cutscene and there are times where the story unfolds through cutscenes during the middle of a mission as well.  It’s all very campy stuff, but the story does make for some decent, if B-movie, popcorn flavored fun.

Gameplay:
Those who are familiar with strategy games will be right at home with Gemini Wars controls, especially fans of other space strategy games.  You’ll mostly be using the mouse to interact with the environments and objects presented within any given mission.  There are a number of hotkeys that can be referred to when players want to use shortcuts, but for the most part, gameplay is handled simply through mouse control without the need to memorize dozens of keys.

As mentioned, players will be given the ability to construct, research, and expand.  Each of these are handled simply, but not until the player learns how to understand and make use of the economic aspects within Gemini Wars.  Thankfully, none of this is very difficult.  The crystals, that act as currency, can be mined from asteroids, military units can be constructed at military bases, and research points can be gained by building research bases which also allow for more advanced units to be built.  The elements and mechanics are connected in a straight-forward manner that players should find useful and easy to use.

Graphics:
Gemini Wars looks great.  The graphics aren’t really prize worthy, but they are detailed and provide sharp visuals with an appealing Sci-Fi look that fans will appreciate.  Even though the graphics are 3D and the camera can be rotated or moved around, this particular space strategy unfolds across a 2D plane.  This makes for a game that works well and looks good at the same time.  The cutscenes are nice, though some of in-game cutscenes during the missions, which involve character conversation, come across as a bit stiff and only add to the campy nature of the story due to the rigid character animation.

Sound and Music:
The music is a bit generic and not very memorable.  Star Wars this is not, but Gemini Wars does indeed sound like a space game should with its laser blasts, explosions, and starship engines.  Nothing really new here but at least none of it is broken.  One thing that does add to the atmosphere though is the voice acting during cutscenes.  It’s not exactly remarkable, but it does keep those who care about the story interested and entertained.

Conclusion:
While the story may not grip players like a true space rock opera would, the intuitive gameplay and sizable campaign will surely please fans of space strategy.  With that said,  there’s enough strategy and challenge here to please veterans of the genre, but curious newcomers will enjoy Gemini Wars for it’s excellent tutorial and easy to learn interface.

Currently there ‘s no multiplayer option yet, but this could possibly change with future updates and patches.  Gemini Wars would benefit from having a multiplayer mode, but at least the campaign is well made, intense, and fun.  There is even a list of achievements to strive for, though some of these goals are met by simply finishing missions within the game, regardless of difficulty level.  Still, it’s a nice feature to have and it helps increase replay value.

You can pick up Gemini Wars on PC or Mac from any number of digital distribution sites.  Head over to the Gemini Wars website for further details and ordering options.  Or you can also pick up the game up through GamersGate, Greenman Gaming, Gamefly, and Impulse.

EDIT:  The developers have confirmed that there will be skirmish and multiplayer modes added as free DLC for anyone who purchased the game.

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