App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Gemini- A Journey of Two Stars is a delightfully abstract little game about two stars making their way upward to the heavens. It's a strange concept, for sure, but it tells such a simple and emotionally impactful story through its gameplay that it's hard not to fall in love with it.
The stars align
When you start playing Gemini, it's extremely hard to know what's going on or what you are supposed to do. The game's minimalist design sensibilities are so sparse that its only explanation of what to do manifests itself by a couple of arrows appearing on the bottom of the screen -- your controls.
This may sound frustrating, but it all feels like an intentional part of Gemini's design. You're supposed to bumble around, not really knowing what to do, eventually discovering what the game has to offer. After getting through the first two "sections" of the game, you'll eventually get the hang of what's going on, and it's there where the game and its story really pick up.
A puzzling friendship
If Gemini had to be cast into a genre, it would be a puzzle game, though simply calling it that doesn't explain it fully. It's more accurate to say that it's a puzzle game sort of in the way that Pruneis a puzzle game. There is a task for you to do, but the important parts of the game are in the story that is told through your in-game actions and the relationship between the two stars.
Also, when I say "story," I don't mean that in the sense that there are words explaining what' showing on, or even characters for that matter. All that there is are the two stars and their environment, and these two elements end up weaving a very effecting narrative.
Embrace the unknown
Gemini is not a puzzle game in the traditional sense, nor is it narrative-heavy despite telling a moving story. The entire game can easily be completed in a sitting between an hour and two, and the only reward for completing the game is the unlocking of a local multiplayer mode that -- while charming -- is largely impractical.
That said, Gemini is easily one of the most emotional and important game experiences I've had this year. It does so much with so little, all while avoiding the pitfalls of many other games designed to evoke strong emotional reactions from players.
The bottom line
When I started playing Gemini, I was not prepared for what I ended up experiencing. What looked like an academic experiment in puzzle games is actually a story, told earnestly and free of pretension.
Gemini is a special game. It takes abstract objects and somehow uses them to tell a powerful story about companionship that will stay with you. Play this game.