I’m not usually a life sim kind of a person. I find the vagueness and longevity of the games quite dull. I like games with a clear beginning, middle and end, and I very rarely play a game once I’ve completed it. So I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed Gemini Lost. It is a life sim, but with set goals and plenty to keep you occupied throughout gameplay. The storyline is good, too.
A group of people are wandering the land when suddenly the sun disappears behind the moon. Understandably quite confused, they become even more so when they see a strange light glowing in the distance. Curiosity gets the better of them and they go exploring. What they find is an ancient astrological site, containing a wheel with zodiac signs. On further investigation the tribe find that the wheel is actually a teleporter, by which point, it’s too late. Their meddling has broken the machine and sent them spinning to a strange land, scattering pieces of the machine everywhere.
Then it’s over to you. You must help the little people find all twelve missing zodiac keys, repair the teleporter and go home. Sadly, it won’t be the original characters that get to return to their homeland, but their descendents.
Starting from scratch, you must take the lead and build a new community, constructing buildings, gathering food, training people in vital skills and taking part in important scientific research. All the while you’re planning towards certain goals that will take you one step closer to your final goal: to go home.
The cute graphics and fun but unobtrusive sound effects make this a very relaxing yet fun game to play. It’s quirky, but you’ll have a compulsion to keep playing until you’ve helped the little boys and girls get back to where they came from.
You’ll be in charge of rebuilding the wedding chapel – essential to match-make amongst your people so they can enter into holy matrimony, then run off to their little hut to make babies. This, of course, is essential to keep the population going and striving towards your final frontier.
Other challenges that face you include reconstructing bridges, building houses, hospitals, mills, bakeries, schools and more – everything your villagers will need to make them into a forward-thinking civilisation. In fact, by the end of it, I’m not sure why they’d bother going home?
Don’t forget, though, as you’re pushing things forward, you must also continue to collect the basic provisions. You can’t build a house without wood and stone. And your workers won’t work unless they’ve got food or somewhere to sleep. So it’s important in this game not to try and run before you can walk. Just take it easy, go with the flow and you’ll have tons of fun.
There are a few puzzles and mini-games in Gemini Lost, which will please fans of such follies. They’re not overly challenging, just enough to break up the gameplay a little. Perfectionists will also enjoy the opportunity to score trophies. Some you won’t have to even think about winning, like the ones for collecting X amount of food or wood. After all, you haven’t got much choice. But others aren’t at all essential to completing the game so you might want to hold off making those final steps towards freedom if you want a full trophy room.
The lovely thing about this game is you can give it as much or as little as you want. It plays in real-time, meaning if you exit the game or switch off your machine altogether, your people will continue to live their lives. You have the option to let this happen at normal speed, slow speed or even pause it. It all depends how long you’re going to be away from the game, and recommendations are given in-game.
Giving this game your all and playing continuously will mean you’ll reach the end much more quickly. However, this isn’t necessary and you can just pootle along and let the people do what they want.
But be warned: if you don’t give them enough guidance you’ll be in danger of them being too lazy to provide for themselves and achieve goals. Plus, your input is necessary to instigate marriage and the completion of puzzles. So if you’re away on holiday, it’s a good idea to pause the game altogether. However, if it’s just a few hours, leave the game on ‘normal’ speed and you’ll, no doubt, find some cute little kids running around your screen to replace the old folk that have passed away.
So really, Gemini Lost is what you make it. Played constantly and with a dictator-like leadership, you’ll probably complete the game in seven hours, maybe less. But if you have a much more relaxed attitude about it, you could continue for much longer. And the perfectionists out there will want to keep playing until all those trophies are racked up.
Basically, if you love life sim games, this is perfect for you. If your tastes err on the side of crazy time management games, then you may be less keen. But if you play Gemini Lost the hands-on way, you’ll find more than enough to keep you occupied until the next game of your preferred genre becomes available.
This scores highly with me because of its high production values and versatility. It has the capability to appeal much more to those that wouldn’t normally play this type of game, but still retains the features that fans of the genre know and love. I played this compulsively beginning to end, and it’s been a while since a game drew me in quite so fully. Recommended.