Gameplay: Unfortunately Gemini Wars seems to have been designed around operating at a rather glacial pace. In the most comparable title, Sins of a Solar Empire, there is no doubt from the outset that the game is a slow burner. However nothing ever feels like it's taking longer then it should. There is always something to be doing in Sins, you're rarely twiddling your thumbs, waiting for stuff to happen.
In Gemini Wars it feels like you have to wait for everything. Ship movement is painfully ponderous, construction of even the most basic ships takes long enough for it to be irritating and combat feels like your ships are shooting at each other with potato guns. Even the tutorials are an a strain on your patience, with you unable to skip to the next section until the voice acting has finished.
Graphics: You see those rather impressive looking screenshots? It's a shame to say that the game doesn't look that good in motion. Planets have fairly low resolution textures which is a shame as they often take up a large part of the background making it a fairly glaring problem. The ships generally look good, the texturing more detailed and given a metallic finish. The lighting is also fairly good and is possible the strongest aspect of the games engine. While explosions look okay, weapon effects are simply painful to behold and I quickly found myself avoiding zooming in to battles.
Audio: I actually quite like the soundtrack which has a good mix of brooding and ambient electronica along side more bombastic and cinematic orchestral pieces for when combat takes place. The voice acting is mostly pretty good, though can be rather embarrassing on occasions. However when you consider the budget of the game and the size of the team it's to be commended.
Atmosphere: My main issues with the game come under this category. In a space RTS part of the experience is watching your fleet tear into the enemy in violent, explosion and dynamic combat with all sorts of neat effects going on. If Gemini Wars had this down, a lot of the other issues wouldn't matter so much. Battles consist of two groups of ships entering into range of each other, stopping while facing opposite one another, and firing away until one side is dead. Ships do not manoeuvre in combat and the earlier mentioned weapon effects are so poor that there is no real excitement in watching combat. The only dynamic thing are the physx powered explosions when ships get destroyed. The whole experience is flat and disappointing.
While I'm always happy to support an indie dev by buying their product I have to be honest in saying that the current price does not match the content.
The games main selling point is a single player, story driven campaign. This is the feature that is meant to set it apart from the rest of the space RTS and 4x's coming out this year. The game boasts fully voice acted CGI cinematics which is ambitious for a 3 man team.
Unfortunately it's over ambitious and it's likely the game itself has suffered as a result. It lacks both multiplay and skirmish modes which has been promised as a post launch patch. I feel the focus of the team has been too directed at the campaign. The time spent on the frankly laughable looking CGI scenes and admittedly decent voice acting could and should have been put into better game play and in game graphics.
I wanted to like the game, but I can't, unless having a single player story driven campaign matters more then anything else to you. I find myself in a position of recommending sins of a solar empire rebellion or trinity which are around the same price and, or cheaper respectively and which do the same thing (in terms of game play) that Gemini Wars tries to, but in a vastly better way.