Gemini Wars is a space RTS, set in the Gemini sector. This is unfortunately just about the most positive thing I can say about the game.
Gameplay in Gemini Wars is extremely slow. Ships move slowly, minerals collect slowly, ships and structures build slowly, ships fight slowly. There’s also no option to speed up the game, so be sure to bring a book. If the rest of the game was good, this first aspect might be forgivable, but sadly it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The gameplay takes place around nodes in planetary systems, usually large asteroids, mineral fields, and planets. To move between these areas, you can use your sub-light engines, which takes literally hours, or jump engines, which are much faster, but have a limited range. This means you usually have only a few choices of destination to jump to, reducing the already 2D combat plane down to just a few points of contact. So, the only option is to slam your fleet into the enemy’s which is usually parked right at the node you need to move through. It makes sense that they would do that, but it completely removes any element of strategy.
Ship AI is also terrible. Flying toward the enemy while shooting is about the best you can hope for. (Sometimes, they don’t fly towards the enemy, and other times they don’t shoot. Sometimes they don’t do either.) You can try to focus fire on a single enemy ship, but then the joke’s on you, because they just go back to shooting at whatever they want moments later. Thought you were going to use some strategy and focus fire there, didja? Nice try. So this pretty much throws tactical strategy out the window too, the only technique remaining being “have more ships than the other guy”. You can build static defenses around your bases, but your ships will gleefully fly far out in front of them to get shot up by the enemy unless you continually order them back. (You can’t stop, or they’ll immediately turn around and try to fly out past them again.) Building said defenses is also a chore, because you need tons of them to have any effect, and there’s no way to queue up their construction.
There are a variety of different ship sizes and types, but the state of the AI means that their differences are pretty redundant. Build the biggest thing you can until you hit the unit cap, and then throw it at the enemy after they kill their fleet on your turrets. Move up to the next node. Repeat. Wrapped around this is an interface, which like everything else, looks bad and performs the way it looks.
The game starts off with a stirring summary of the conflict the player is thrust into the midst of. The USF is fighting the Alliance “for reasons no one can remember”. (A plot that’s both boring, unoriginal, and lazy? Colour me impressed.) Further story is delivered through cutscenes and in-game dialogue with comically bad CG and voice acting. (Everyone in space is very, very gruff.) Apparently aliens show up later in the game and attack everyone, which might have actually been interesting, but I stopped playing pretty early on when the game overwrote my old saves with garbage data, and then sent me back to the previous mission in the campaign menu. I was unwilling to lose another several hours slogging through the tedious mission again, so I just stopped playing.
Graphics don’t do the game any favours either. Ship designs are completely unoriginal, lens flares abound, and combat effects are unimpressive. On the whole, the graphics are probably only a bit better than Homeworld, a game now more than 12 years old. The posted screens I’ve seen look pretty, but it doesn’t carry over into the gameplay.
The only real challenge in this game is bringing yourself to continue playing. Skip Gemini Wars and go play Homeworld again instead, or pick up the new Sins of a Solar Empire game.