Duet Game is one of those games that's so challenging that the frustration level is high, but when you finally succeed is that much more satisfying. Your goal is to maneuver two objects in sync past white blocks by rotating either clockwise or counterclockwise. On the surface, the concept is simple, but once you get into the game, the challenge is anything but.
Voted by The New Yorker as one of the most elegant iPhone games of 2013, Duet Game only reached into the top 100, then fell back into relative obscurity. But a recent price drop has sent it into the top 10, and with this game's super-addictive nature, it's likely to stay for a while.
Learn the ropes
Duet Game eases you into the gameplay mechanic with early levels that help you get used to controlling the two dots (one red, one blue). They are tethered together at opposite ends of a circle (if you picture it as a clock, the dots are at 9:00 and 3:00). As blocks float down the screen, your job is to rotate the dots simultaneously by touching the left or right side of the screen, and to maneuver both dots past each obstacle. It's hard to describe, but a glance at the screenshot at the top of this review will give you an idea of what Duet Game is all about.
What starts as a fairly easy training session gets increasingly challenging as you progress, requiring you repeat a level several times to get it just right. There are nine chapters in all, with six levels in each chapter. If you mess up during a level and one of the dots hits a white block, you'll quickly "rewind" back to the beginning of the level to start again. So, as you get into the later chapters, it starts to be a game of trial and error until you've mastered the obstacles of a level in order.
If you've finished the chapters (what are you, a ninja?) or want to try something different, you also can play endless mode. You'll still get breaks in between groupings of blocks (just like the levels), but each wave is randomly generated so the challenges are always different.
In endless mode, you get three lives to go as far as you can, and maneuvering through obstacles without hitting anything slowly regenerates your health. I like this setup because it means you can mess up a couple of times as long as you play well for stretches to keep adding points to your overall score.
This game is not terribly advanced graphically compared with other games in the App Store. With only dots and lines floating on your screen, it's obviously the gameplay that takes center stage. But with an impressive electronic musical score and changing geometric backgrounds, the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts.