Another 4X challenger exits hyperspace.
Whenever I play a sci-fi game, I’m always the Humans. Just like in historical games I’m usually always the British – it’s a slightly unnecessary patriotism thing and I don’t apologise for it.
Goody for me then that Camal101’s debut space-strategy title is all about the humans (or is it? Dun dun dun). Set in the distant future where two human factions are warring over the usual stuff – namely somewhere to put their giant holographic television so they can watch the space Olympics, Gemini Wars takes its cues from many places. Look hard enough and you’ll see the influences of Sins of a Solar Empire, Homeworld, Empire at War… even Red Alert 2 – but the myriad of influences don’t detract from its simple yet unique identity. The gameplay mainly revolves around controlling resources and colonies, as fitting the context of the game.
From what we’ve seen so far, the ‘strategy’ feels like it could be fairly simple – expand, build up, expand some more, consolidate, build up, expand… but the natural lay out of systems do allow for raids, flanking manoeuvres and stout defences (there are natural barriers, for example, that prevent crossing certain areas). The scale of the game is actually quite compact, with the majority of the missions taking place within a single system (think Sword of the Stars II), but other systems can also be included, which you reach via the construction of Stargates.
It’s the little touches though were this game really shines. Whilst it’s not done on a high budget, the team have managed to do some good things with the Unity 3D Engine that really make it visually distinctive, and the single-player portion of the game is peppered with hidden cut scenes that help flesh out the story. Even the pre-mission screen, with its news videos and video briefings is very reminiscent of Starcraft. You can tell the guys at Camel101 are fans of the genre, although it’s rather amusing that up till now they’ve been making casual games for Facebook. At the time of writing, Gemini Wars is only a single-player offering with 16 missions.
There is a Skirmish mode and a Multiplayer mode already made, but the team aren’t happy with how it’s turned out so far and so decided to work on it some more. It will be released post-launch as free DLC. Despite that, there is a lot to look forward too here, even in the face of competition from Kalypso’s Legends of Pegasus, and possibly even Sword of the Stars II if Kerberos ever get their act together. The 4X genre is certainly in a healthy state…
Words by Joe Robinson
Tags: Gemini Wars
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