|Genre: Strategy & War|
|Min OS X: 10.5.8|
Mac OS X: 10.5.8 | CPU: Intel | RAM: 2 GB | Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
I don't usually step into first-person when writing these reviews. After all, it isn't about me, it's about you the player. However, this game is written in Unity so I have to note a combination of bias and over-criticalness about how I view this game. On the one hand, I'm very happy to see a game on sale using the Unity engine, but on the other I've coded numerous games/utilities with the engine so it's very obvious to me when things are a little sloppy and/or easily adjusted. With that in mind, back to the usual review! -Frank
It's not very often that you see a space strategy game released these days. Aside from Sins of a Solar Empire and its expansions, there haven't really been any major new entrants. This is generally because of the expectations placed on the sub-genre. There has to be a research tree, there have to be planets you can utilize somehow, and the gameplay needs to take place on a very large playing field. On top of that, you also need the multiple sides, understandable interface, and macro-commands that all strategy games utilize. Despite the difficulty, Camel 101 has decided to try its hand with Gemini Wars.
At least on the basic side, they've succeeded. There are multiple classes of ships you can produce from the bases you construct on larger planetoids, you have research you have to develop to effectively compete against the different sides opposing you, and each map is set up in a way that promotes large battles. You also have unique upgrades you can attach to the larger ships, a limited number of ships you can produce that's increased by the number of your military bases, and static defenses you can construct to hold off enemy attacks.
Unfortunately, on the grander design side of things, the game fails to hold any interest. You may have multiple varieties of ships, but the larger ships always defeat smaller ships that total to the same supply usage. As a result, there's no variety in combat if you want to win. You just crank out as many high-level ships as you can, clump them together, focus fire, and win. It's not difficult and it's certainly not engaging. What makes matters worse is that the health and shields for your units are very strong and their attacks are weak. As a result, even in large battles, it can take upwards of ten minutes to finish destroying all the enemy ships. This is faster when you have a superior force, of course, but similar ones almost always tend to take forever to kill.
The research is similarly lackluster. You can build research bases infinitely, so long as you have space around a military base. As a result, instead of the lengthy research of games like Master of Orion II and Galactic Civilizations, you can easily research all the possible technology in the first 10-20 minutes of each level. There aren't that many pieces of research to gather, either, as each of the six categories only holds ten items at most. So, what inevitably ends up happening is that you grind out all the research as fast as you can, and then ignore it for the rest of the level.
Your system defenses are also rather broken. In most games you have limited options in this area. A space station, maybe a minefield. In Gemini Wars, you can build an infinite number of turrets, even right next to where the enemies warp into the system. It's ridiculous. At the end of a long level, you can easily have built up a few hundred turrets around the map, which makes those locations impossible to assault. The computer never builds turrets, thankfully, or the game would literally be impossible. As it stands, however, it's extremely easy to defend, kill all the enemy ships, and then counter with your own for an easy win.