Today it’s a little something called Duet Game (not to be confused with Duet the social networking thing), an app featured in the App Store’s Best of 2013 countdown, and rightly so.
Brilliantly, Duet Game is described on the App Store as “a mesmerising trance of co-dependence”. That sounds about right.
Essentially you’re tasked with controlling two balls – one red, one blue – on opposite sides of a circular axis type thing.
You move them left and right around the axis with a tap of the screen, and the goal is simply to “keep calm and avoid everything” as you move through each level. Easier said than done, right enough.
Yes, some levels will take dozens of attempts, but whenever you make a mistake, you know – deep down – it’s your own damn fault; there’s no randomness or luck involved here, only skill. As such, when you do finally nail a particularly tough level, it’s immensely satisfying.
Amusingly, when you screw up in Duet Game (by colliding with an obstacle), you leave a little trace behind – either red or blue depending on which ball got exploded.
The traces have two functions. Firstly, there’s the humiliation of seeing how many times you’ve messed up, as if the levels themselves are judging you. Look at all that red and blue paint, you fool!
But the traces are also quite handy, particularly in later levels when the obstacles start disappearing; the red/blue paint is still visible.
Another thing to love about Duet Game is the narrative. At times it’s reassuring (“Trust your instincts”, “The road may be long, but it’s worth it in the end”), but also occasionally menacing (“What exactly are you trying to prove?” “You can’t get out of this”). I was reminded of the excellent Portal games.
And finally, no Duet Game review would be complete without at least a paragraph of Tim Shiel worship, he being a Melbourne-based musician (hey, I used to live there!) and member of the Gotye live band.
Shiel’s Duet Game soundtrack is one of the best I’ve heard on smartphones, and there are nine unique joints to savour. Delicious.
And that’s Duet Game: perfectly brutal, with an unsettling narrative and mesmerising soundtrack.
- The difficulty (brutal, but spot on)
- The narrative
- The soundtrack
- Maybe too difficult for some
Summary: Duet Game blends a perfectly crafted difficulty curve with a confounding Portal-esque narrative and immersive five-star soundtrack. In layman’s terms: It’s bloody good.
Price: £1.99 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.