Rain battering the window of a rundown apartment. A spotless dystopian prison camp, floating in the Helix nebula.
The two halves of sci-fi point-and-click adventure Gemini Rue couldn't feel much different.
On the one hand, there's the film noir-inspired detective story on the planet of Barracus - a dark and moody world where, thanks to a quirk in its atmospheric makeup, it's constantly raining.
Here you play as growling, trench coat-sporting copper Azriel Odin, as he tracks down his brother Daniel.Scorpio
And then there's Delta-Six, a lab rat in a mysterious floating prison called Center 7. Here, your task is to form a rocky alliance with the other prisoners, and work together to break out of the dystopian holding pen.
You can jump between the two stories, but there's no Day of the Tentacle-style system to swap items and info. And you have to finish both to move on, so there's no escape if you get stuck.
But whichever story you're following, some things stay the same. Like every point-and-clicker, Gemini Rue offers a procession of tricky puzzles. But these conundrums are almost always logical, and the solution is often grounded in reality.
That's especially true of Azriel's detective tale. You might find out which apartment someone's staying in, by rifling through mail in the pigeonhole letterboxes in the lobby. And there are sometimes multiple solutions to each puzzle.Aries
There are also combat sequences in both stories - stodgy cover-based shootouts that aren't very taxing, and aren't particularly enjoyable either. Luckily, they don't become a chore like some attempts to shoehorn action into an adventure.
Yes, I'm looking at you, Full Throttle.
But that's all pretext to the game's real gem: the gripping sci-fi yarn. This bleak and thought-provoking story will be enjoyed by fans of Philip K. Dick and the like. Sure there are some clichés - and not every character is totally successful - but I was utterly rapt until the very end.Leo
This iOS adaptation is no different from the PC edition. It adds some director's commentary - from lone designer Joshua Nuernberger - which is a nice touch, but the delivery is a bit stilted and the explanations are not massively insightful.
But if you missed the original, Gemini Rue is a must-play game for adventure addicts. With its tasty cyberpunk atmosphere, smart and logical puzzles, and a completely engrossing story, it's easily one of the best modern point-and-click adventures around.