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Gemini Lost (PC) artwork

Gemini Lost (PC) review


"With infinite resources you might think that this game is a builderís paradise, but unfortunately itís not. Surprisingly, while the game gives you the freedom to collect as many resources as you want, it does not give you the freedom to build as much as you want. Aside from multiple houses, the game only allows one building of each type in predetermined spaces on the map, which usually means that you will accumulate wood and stone in your stockpile by the hundreds with no use for them."



Developing hybrid games can be risky business. If done improperly, they end up being an unbalanced end product that fails to please fans of any genre, but if done correctly, the blend of genres can be a lot of fun. PlayFirstís latest offering, Gemini Lost, is a genre-blending game that combines elements from Real Time Strategy and Life Simulation in a fun, addictive and enjoyable experience.

In the game, when a group of people gets transported to a mysterious land after they mess with a teleporter that they shouldnít have messed with, itís up to you to find the twelve zodiac keys that operate the teleporter and help the people get back home. Resources, tools and knowledge will be required to find the zodiac keys scattered across the land.

There are three tangible resources to collect in the game: food, wood and stone. Food is required to sustain your population, while wood and stone are needed to construct various structures such as houses, farms and the community school. Wood and stone are also used to build tools. Unlike other RTS games that limit the amount of resources you can gather from one source, Gemini Lost does not, which means that you can harvest stone and wood from the same source from game's beginning to end. You can have multiple sources of food such as pumpkins, flour, milk, et cetera, but you really donít need them because one source of food can be sufficient for the entire game.

With infinite resources you might think that this game is a builderís paradise, but unfortunately itís not. Surprisingly, while the game gives you the freedom to collect as many resources as you want, it does not give you the freedom to build as much as you want. Aside from multiple houses, the game only allows one building of each type in predetermined spaces on the map, which usually means that you will accumulate wood and stone in your stockpile by the hundreds with no use for them.

The one intangible resource to be collected in the game is knowledge. Knowledge is collected by building a science lab and is required to advance in the tech-tree. There are six categories in the tech-tree: Farming, Construction, Medicine, Handicraft, Knowledge and Astrology. Each category has three levels, and each level gives you new perks and abilities but requires a specific amount of knowledge points to unlock. Because of this, you have to decide which perk or ability is more important and will help you progress in the game faster. For example, advancing in the Construction category increases your population cap, while advancing in the Medicine field makes your people live longer. So you will have to decide whether you want a large population that dies at a young age, or a small population that lives longer lives.

How you decide to spend your knowledge points is also important because collecting each zodiac key usually requires solving a puzzle or two. And the puzzle(s) can only be solved if you are at the required level from one of the six categories.

Managing your people in Gemini Lost is a blast because itís very simple, accessible and does not require a lot of micromanagement like The Sims. When it comes to managing your people there are two broad tasks that you have to do: play matchmaker and assign people work.

In the game, a person can either be a farmer, scientist, builder or worker. While the first three categories are self explanatory, a worker is like a Jack of all trades who can be assigned any task. Among the four classes, each person has his/her favorite type of work and matching the proper person with the preferred type of work makes them happy and work faster. As far as matchmaking is concerned, all you have to do is pair up couples that have compatible zodiac signs and once you pair them up they will automatically have babies. Similarly, whenever one of your people is hungry or tired, he/she will eat or sleep rather than keep on complaining like the characters in The Sims do. Additionally, you have access to all the information regarding your people such as their age, status, and health at the click of the button. You also have a mini-map with four color codes assigned to the different types of populace for easy identification. Children are colored light blue, working people are dark blue, idle are yellow, and sick are red. With so much assistance from the game, managing the population never feels like a chore.

While the visuals of the game are on the cuter side with simple, colorful and bright graphics, the audio department is where the game feels lacking. There is only one musical track that keeps repeating throughout the entire game which isn't anything amazing, nor is it annoying. Your people have no voice whatsoever. The only thing that you will hear from them is a sigh and an uh-oh. The game would have been full of personality and character if the developers had chosen to give the people voices. With no voice or expression, characters look like zombies rather than people in Gemini Lost.

With intuitive puzzles and a nice balance between managing people and strategy, Gemini Lost is a great game that will appeal to a wide audience (especially casual gamers). The reason I mention casual gamers is because Gemini Lost keeps playing even if you arenít. What does that mean? It means that your people keep working in the game even when you quit the game. Thus buildings get completed and resources get collected while you arenít playing the game. This is perhaps the best feature for me, because it does away with the mundane task of resource collecting and allows you to concentrate on collecting the zodiac keys and helping your people get back home. This one is definitely recommended.

Rating: 8/10

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Freelance review by Sohail Saleem (October 21, 2009)

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