Duet Game Review – Deep, engaging, minimal, must-have

On March 4, 2014

App Type: Uncategorized

Duet Game Review – Deep, engaging, minimal, must-have

Our rating:

By: Kumobius Pty Ltd

Version #: 1.0.4

Date Released: 20131023

Developer: Kumobius Website

Price: 0.99

User Rating:

We are surrounded by distractions. Sounds, people, emails, notifications. Time to reflect, time to concentrate or even the ability to do these things is fading away faster than a Tesla driving off the highway. It’s a little puzzling that just another game can bring back all this. But the thing is, as you may guess, Duet is not just another game.

There is no story, and very little for a tutorial. What’s the game goal? To pass levels and stages. What is the game purpose? We can only especulate, but it’s pretty clear Duet will make a mark on you after the first few levels. Two brightly coloured dots bound in an endless circle. Press the left side of the screen and much like the ying-yang simbol, the dots will move around the circle towards the left. Press the right side of the screen, and they will rotate towards the right. Add a moto: don’t crash and you have created one of the most streamlined games in the App Store. No cheats, no shortcuts, no hefty graphics.

Shot6The first few minutes with Duet are frustrating. Our minds, not used to thinking about rotating frames of reference (not like we are living in one?) will have a hard time knowing what to do. You’ll crash, and crash often. For each crash in a level you’ll leave a dirty, gory mark on the light coloured blocks that make the dark landscape of Duet. The different stages (comprised of several levels) are named following a modified Kübler-Ross model of grief: there are an additional Hope between Depression and Acceptance and a final Transcendence. Occasional messages in-between levels create a minor narrative to move you forward, to a yet higher level of ability.

The first mind-bending aspect of Duet is how easily you will see your improvement over time. The first few levels will be full of frustration and anger (taking you through stages Ignorance, Denial and Anger, not coincidentally.) Then all of sudden you will fail yet again, and realise you were playing perfectly and effortlessly
(until crashing to a block, that is.) You’ll glimpse at the depths of your ignorance just a few levels before and stare at how much you have improved since then. This is achieved with a very fine tuned complexity scalation. Start off with fixed blocks through your path, you’ll get different sized-blocks, then side-by-side moving blocks, center-rotating blocks, off-center rotating blocks, out-of-sync movements and then, all of sudden blocks fading into invisibility.

There’s a particular level with invisible blocks that prevents me from transcendence, but at the same time keeps my mind at ease. When trying (and failing) to pass this level (and I have probably tried more than 50 times already) I see myself playing a perfect, synchronized dance avoiding unseen dangers. Slowly anxiety builds up as I reach the invisible ends of the level, until I crash. It’s a experience very close to meditating, and the more I try, the longer the perfect, synchronous dance goes on until a crash. Eventually, the level will be done.


Quick Take


Would I Buy Again:Absolutely

Learning Curve:Depends

Who Is It For:Minimalist lovers

What I Like:It's a great, minimalist game

What I Don't Like:Well, it's hard. Like, very, very hard

Final Statement:A must-have

Read the Developer's Notes:
Your survival is dependent on protecting two vessels - they are devices in sync, a dance and song between two entities tethered together in symbiosis. Feel edge of your seat terror where the world around you becomes quiet and numb as all that matters is the game living between your palms -- that is Duet.


Experience nine chapters of deceptive narrative and nerve-twisting gameplay. Unlock the bonus Survival chapter for endless score chasing delight. Replay any stage to perfect your movements and unlock over 25 Game Center achievements. This is a game that will test you.


With air tight controls and gameplay that’s tuned to perfection Duet provides the perfect balance between challenge and pure gaming satisfaction. Touch either side of the screen to twist your vessels and avoid everything in your path. Remember: even that which begins simple can end complex.


An outstanding handcrafted soundtrack by Melbourne composer and Gotye multi-instrumentalist Tim Shiel. Nine unique and mesmerizingly beautiful compositions ensure an immersive experience for you at every step of your journey.


- Full iCloud support - sync your progress across all your devices.
- Universal App - play on your new iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and iPad mini.
- Compete with Game Center on the Survival leaderboard.


Selected for the Indie Showcase at PAX Aus and a finalist in both Game Design and Audio for the Freeplay Festival. This is another award-winning title from the team behind Time Surfer & Bean’s Quest. We call Duet a “Hex-like” in honour of Terry Cavanagh’s contribution to the medium of games and exploration of genres.


Tim Shiel is a composer/producer based in Melbourne. Tim is known to some as Faux Pas, the moniker under which he released a steady stream of constantly shifting electronic music for many years. He is also known for his work as a broadcaster at Melbourne independent radio station 3RRR FM, and for his recent role as multi-instrumentalist in Gotye's live band.

Article By

Ruben Berenguel is finishing his PhD in Mathematics while writing in mostlymaths.net about being a 'geek of all trades'. He also happens to be the senior editor in the What's on iPhone network: any complaints go to him!

ruben has written 174 awesome app reviews.

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