The point-and-click adventure has a new home on iOS, away from the unfavourable, jostling environment of physical retail. It was proven by the successful re-releases of The Secret Of Monkey Island and Beneath A Steel Sky and, now, reinforced by a port of 2011’s cult-hit Gemini Rue.
From one-man developer (and at the time of initial release, UCLA student) Josh Nuernberger , Gemini Rue is at once old-fashioned and revisionist. The visuals are purposefully retro, drawn in chunky pixels and bathed in crude, flat colours, while the integration of more physical tasks and action – such as a shallow but often tricky cover shooter mechanic for staged shootouts – adds a sense of dynamism, pace and urgency quite alien to the genre since 1997’s Blade Runner.
Nuernberger is also clearly inspired by Westwood’s approach to framing and style (itself inspired, of course, by Ridley Scott’s seminal neo-noir opus)and the emotive scene-setting and delicate plotting of his mainstream debut mark him as genuinely multi-talented, with an eye for set design, ear for terse, economical dialogue and an ability to conjure mood with minimal assets.
The hard-boiled cyberpunk detective story at the game’s heart interweaves with a second narrative set in a THX-1138-style facility and the ability to flit between the two strands further tightens the game’s pace. It neuters some of the hair-pulling that’s always been a mainstay of this linear puzzle-driven genre and enables Gemini Rue to vie for the attention of iOS fans bred on more immediate thrills. It may not take the genre into uncharted waters, and occasionally stumbles into cliche, but Gemini Rue is an accomplished homage that rivals the very titles that influenced it.