Published on September 14th, 2014 | by Patrick Garde1
Duet is an arcade game developed by Kumobius featuring hypnotically beautiful music by Tim Shiel, a multi-instrumentalist in Gotye. This Android game is all about survival where you control two dots into a dangerous world of merciless white shapes that are out to get in your way. It is ironic to have a very challenging game yet mesmerizing thanks to its soundtrack. I got the Duet Premium version through the previous Humble Bundle.
In Duet, you may find some similarities to Super Hexagon. The developer actually put Duet’s first version on the back-burner as it felt a lot like Super Hexagon. Luckily, after Time Surfer was released last year, Kumobius polished the game and added new features to remove some resemblance in its bloodline.
The gameplay is pretty simple but the difficulty is brutally challenging. You control two circles connected by an illustrative ring. Simply tap on the left or right side of the screen to rotate the dots, dodging shapes after shapes. Whenever you tap on the left, the other circle sway to the right, and both of the dots should always avoid whatever object that gets in its way. The outcome is fluid to watch. In the beginning, you need to swing the circles past some static walls. Later, the shapes will increase in number and some of them also move as you progress. What I like about the game’s difficulty is that there is some sort of evidence you leave behind. Each time you crash, a blue and/or red color splashes on the wall. It’s quite frustrating every time you see your failure each run.
Duet features 50 levels spread out in 9 chapters. Each level includes some obstacles but as you progress, hard patterns and increasing speed mean it might take some time to finish the later stages. Every level or so, you will be introduced to a new block to avoid. Some of these blocks will fall on the screen like a rotating knife, other shapes will twist around, some will turn on an axis, and some will break apart as you come near it. All of these will require a fast reaction on your part. Aside from luck, you can complete a level by recognizing patterns. You need to learn by heart what your fingers are doing in that less than a minute time span.
After completing the 8 chapters, you will be able to unlock an endless Survival mode. You have three hearts to start with and each time you crash, one heart will be taken away. Don’t worry though as it recharges over time. Basically, your goal is to survive as long as possible. Certainly, after the solo experience, this unlockable game mode adds replay value to the game and could add a social component as you can brag about your high score.
Casual players, who didn’t like Boson X, Super Hexagon, etc., will probably be scared away with the brutally challenging difficulty of Duet. Nevertheless, this Android game is an incredible yet complex game. Its soundtrack is fascinating – it’s so good that even though you want to pull your hair out because of frequent crashes, as evidenced by splatters on the walls, you will still not get angry or feel any kind of hatred or remorse. Bravo, Tim Shiel.
Duet is free to play with advertisements on the side. Pay $2.99 via in-app purchase to unlock the Duet Premium version (no ads, Survival mode unlocked, Daily Challenges and four bonus chapters).
Summary: Duet costs $2.99 but it is a payment well spent. This Android game is a gem. It may be unforgiving but it is quite rewarding. Its soundtrack is beautiful and hypnotic at the same time, the controls are responsive, and the game is elegantly designed. Just don’t let its challenging difficulty break your heart.