Released: 5th August 2014
Price: $2.99 – $4.99
Duet is a musical arcade game by Australian developer Kumobius for mobile. Assuming control of two circular “vessels” in sync, your job is to avoid oncoming walls and survive at all odds through several levels and game modes.
The easy controls (hold the right side of the screen to rotate clockwise and vice versa) makes the game incredibly easy to pick up and play, but dodging obstacles is by no means a walk in the park. The more you progress, the more challenging the games become, allowing walls to rotate, speed up, move, and even become invisible. Despite the difficulty, the stages take no longer than a minute to finish, there are no surprises, and the controls are tight and responsive, making Duet a perfect treat for the commute. If either vessel collides with an obstruction, they explode and leave paint on that obstruction, letting you react better when said obstructions appear again.
Besides the main story mode, there are also challenges, the story epilogue, and the Encore DLC stages, as well as modes such as endless survival, daily, and nightly challenges, providing immense replay value to Duet. My favorite game mode is Continuance, which is like survival, but your progress is saved.
Artstyle and Music
Duet’s artstyle is minimal and by no means pretty, featuring geometrical shapes such as rectangles, triangles, and circles, with the only colors being the red and blue vessels. While boring to look at, this simplicity helps in seeing what’s going down your way instead of bombarding you with a ton of eye-catching visuals. Even if you find the few visual effects the game has distracting, you can turn them off from the options menu.
The music, composed by Tim Shiel, is a selling point for the game. Consisting of calm tracks which can be either moody or adventurous, the music is always on-point with the theme of the chapter – for example, Guilt has an oppressive track, while Ignorance evokes feelings of curiosity. Each chapter in the story is accompanied by a unique track, adding variety to the overall experience. The game also has narration by Jojo Petrina, whose vague words imply a story of loss and moving on that is left to your interpretation.
If you’re looking for mobile arcade games that can be played in quick bursts without getting stale too quickly, I wholeheartedly recommend Duet. While the game has a version for desktops (and there used to be a DRM-free build on Humble, too), I think it’s best suited for a mobile experience and recommend it more on Android and iOS.