Plain, dumb fun. That is what Gemini: Heroes Reborn has to offer to those willing to slog through the muck and find the reward within. Based on the new Heroes Reborn television show and set as a prequel, players are dropped into the role of Cassandra Hays, a rather normal 20-year old woman who rather suddenly comes into her abilities. Cassandra goes from a regular human to an “evo” who has the ability to travel through time, use telekinesis, and become an all-around badass in the process. The main character goes from very useless to very powerful in a short amount of time, which is the basis for why Gemini: Heroes Reborn is both fun and uninteresting.
I don’t have a huge connection to the Heroes universe. Like many people, I watched and loved the first season of the original show, came back for the second season and immediately stopped watching. Man, what a train wreck. Gemini: Heroes Reborn aims to capitalize on the spark of interest that the new show has created. Normally a tie-in game sounds like an awful idea but when the news broke that some of the Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy team members were working on this game, interest peaked. Psi-Ops, a cult-classic in its own right and a pretty great game, was beloved for how its levels felt like physics sandboxes. Gemini: Heroes Reborn feels like a first-person playground of its own at times, and those moments are when the game is at its best.
After following your friend Alex into a strange, abandoned building of some kind, Cassandra watches helplessly as Alex is taken away by armed guards. Doing her best to help Alex, Cassandra discovers that she has some abilities of her own; she’s what the world calls an “evo”. This is the point where Gemini: Heroes Reborn dumps powers on the player minute after minute. At first you can see through a neat time bubble that lets you see into the past or present, depending on which time period you’re currently in. Cassandra can also preform localized time travel, flip-flopping between 2014 and 2008 at will. Cassandra then learns that she has the power of telekinesis because you can’t do much damage with time travel. From there, the game becomes a bit of a playground in the best sense of the word. Cassandra is eventually able to throw objects, stop bullets and redirect them, displace guards in time, and so on. She changes before the player’s eyes from a wimpy kid to a goddess of sorts.
The main gameplay in Gemini: Heroes Reborn focuses around Cassandra going between time periods to solve puzzles - a room that is blocked off in 2008 might be wide open in 2014, for example. The game takes place in “The Quarry”, a superstructure built in 2008 to reproduce the powers of evos and give them to soldiers. In 2014, The Quarry is destroyed and all that’s left is rubble, and most puzzles revolve around swapping between times to maneuver the areas. When she’s not solving puzzles, Cassandra is using her telekinesis to destroy her enemies.
Every fight in Gemini: Heroes Reborn feels like a battle arena of some kind. One room will have giant, spinning fans you can toss your enemies into one at a time; another room has some awful mechanism that appears to be used for nothing more than crushing soldiers. The easiest thing to do in these situations is grab your enemies one by one and toss them into whatever murder device you can find. If the mood strikes you, as it did for me multiple times, you can also use your powers to have a little fun with the guards and stop bullets, redirect them at a friend, move that friend at the last second, then displace him in time. I created my own narrative for Cassandra, the soulless murderer who dropped people into the wrong time period, and then left them there to rot. Man, Cassandra is awful.
The story quickly shifts from rescuing Alex to stopping The Quarry and the man who runs it. It’s a fairly predictable plot but let’s be honest, people aren’t coming to this game for the plot. It’d be disingenuous to act like the story or graphics and presentation are the draws here. In fact, the game doesn’t look too great and has some performance hiccups here and there. Overall the look of Gemini: Heroes Reborn is a passable one and the uninspired environments don’t do much to set the game apart from other generic-looking games.
What does set the game apart is the fun you can have with your ridiculous super powers. Much like Psi-Ops, Gemini: Heroes Reborn gives the player free reign of their abilities and how they use them. While the combat arenas often feel small, there is a lot you can do if you’re willing to experiment and make your own fun. I realize that’s not everyone’s cup of tea but there is no denying that this game makes utilizing super powers a good time. In fact, most of the game had me wondering what a full-budget AAA execution of this mechanic would look like. With any luck we may still see that one-day.
There is a lot to dislike about Gemini: Heroes Reborn. The game performs shoddily at times and it’s generic and predictable in both its look and plot. Where the game shines is in experimentation and dumb ragdoll mechanics that will make you laugh as soldiers bounce around levels. It’s certainly not for everyone, but for those willing to look past the bumps and bruises, there is a decently fun time to be had with Gemini: Heroes Reborn.