IMG_3018I’ve seen a lot of different genre melds but one I’ve not really seen before is a freemium shoot ‘em up. Yet, that’s exactly what the folks at Armor Games have done with Gemini Strike, a soon to be released shooter. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s looking like this freemium experiment might be a cool success.

The best way to describe Gemini Strike is a standard vertical shoot ‘em up combined with a procedural loot system from the likes of Borderlands. The game is divided into missions that reward basic currency during normal playthroughs, and premium currency when you take down bosses (taking down bosses also let you advance to the next sector). Loot can be found by tracking and destroying special cargo ships that then take basic currency to unlock and open.

The loot system is pretty cool. Even in the short time I’ve played, I’ve unlocked new items that offer not only standard stat increases (attack, defense etc.) but also proc special attacks and moves such as HP recovery. Each piece of equipment can also be unlocked, raising the stats even further. The actual shooter gameplay obviously takes center stage but there’s an incredibly deep equipment system that should keep loot hunters occupied.

In my short time with Gemini Strike, but the most interesting thing I’ve noted is how non-freemium the game feels. There’s a dual currency system, but both are fairly distributed during normal playing. There aren’t any special items or cheats hidden behind IAP walls, and the game itself feels pretty balanced. In fact, the only IAP-centric element I’ve seen is an energy system to replenish lives lost during a run. Time will tell whether the game gets tough enough that additional premium currency will need to be thrown at all, but so far I doubt that’ll be the case.

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Gemini Strike seems to have all the makings of an awesome game. With challenging shoot ‘em up gameplay, fun, arcade-style “retro” visuals, a deep loot system and a fair IAP model, I’m looking forward to putting more time into it. For everyone else, the game hits the US App Store September 4th (unless you’re lucky enough to be in one of the few countries that it’s soft-launched in).

  • Neddy F

    Wonder how it compares to sky force 2014?!

    • Echoen

      They're two different beasts IMO. Sky Force focuses on the shooting, perfect games, and breaking the leaderboards while this mostly keeps you looking for better loot as you advance through levels.

      • JCho133

        That's understandable, but they're still both F2P shmups.

        But it sounds very intriguing and am glad to hear you're enjoying it, so it's definitely on my watch list.

      • JCho133

        I downloaded the soft launch and it's very enjoyable and rather fair on the IAP front. I agree with your summary on the post below. This is not a shmup to be passed over

  • JCho133

    Never seen a freemium vertical shmup? Phoenix HD, Abyss Attack, and Skyforce 2014.

    • Stormourner

      you will more of freemium vertical shmups if you search through the app store

    • the_rebel14

      Just to name a few.

    • mj12

      Which do you recommend most? Hopefully they are all iOS 6 compatible, I'll check them out

  • Echoen

    I've been playing this and am currently up to sector 36. The search for loot really is addicting.

  • PoloBaquerizoH

    Noo why F2F , surely will not be worth as many other freemium ones, at least Skyforce 2014, has IAP that make the game work as a premium game

    • Anova

      I was enjoying sky force, but found its IAP too punishing. Happy to hear something is coming out with more balance.

      • Tonk Montana

        Please explain that comment because I was an original player of Skyforce and still play it. What is punishing about the IAP? If you spent the $7 on it, it is a premium game and if you spent $0 then you obviously didn't like the game because you are not willing to support it. Either way, stars are pretty abundant so again...please explain.

  • Goggles789

    Reminds me of Abyss Attack, which in my opinion was an utter failure. Oh well, freemium just isn't for me, I guess.

  • justplainjay

    Did you really just refer to freemium as a genre?

  • GreedPhantom

    I tried it, and i loved it. And seriously, the freemium aspect is very tiny. Definitely for gamers and farmers 😉

  • gng75

    I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but I picked up some loot (weapons of some kind) and also via the pirate channel - but when I tried to equip them - even while the items counter says "3" - they're not there?? Is it a bug, or am I doing something wrong?

    • 300CHONG

      They're there, just blacked out. I've raised it with the devs.

  • NFCT

    I'm having a blast with this so far, controls are on point for me personally. Enjoy the small loot system and upgrading. When it hits the US store I would spend a couple bucks for a coin doubler of sorts, if that option was available. Defiantly has a home in my device for awhile.