Duet is deceptively straightforward. The player controls two balls – one blue, one red – that sit opposite each other on a circle. Levels are comprised of sets of falling blocks, and your task is to navigate the balls around them by spinning the circle left and right, swinging one and then the other out of the way.
Straightforward, yes – but not easy. Touching any block spells death, your ball bursting and leaving a grisly blue or red stain that persists through your next try and the many that follow. Some levels you might complete first time – some with quick reflexes, most with luck – but many more will end coated with the splattered evidence of your constant failure.
As you advance through the (mercifully) short levels, the game begins dropping harder and harder obstacles in your way: blocks that hide other blocks, blocks that spin and blocks that fall at different speeds. More collisions. More restarts. More paint. But for all the punishment it inflicts, Duet never feels unfair – when you fail, it’s your own sluggish reflexes and prodding fingers you’ll be cursing.
That balance is key. A stupid mistake on the first block is annoying, a fatal slip on the last is hateful - but that makes pirouetting through unscathed, even on your 20th attempt, feel hard-won. The final rush of snatching victory does much to make up for the futile, paint-spattered rage that preceded it.
Duet is out now on iOS.