Dual for Android and iOS puts a new twist on two-player gaming

It's like Pong meets Space Invaders, and the only way to play is up-close and personal.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

Pew-pew! Seabaa

Sometimes it feels like every new mobile game is just a variation on a theme. So is Dual, but it's a variation I haven't seen before.

For starters, it's strictly a two-person game, and the action unfolds in real-time. What's more, it requires the two players to face each other and stand more or less phone-to-phone. Half the challenge lies in keeping an eye on the other player's screen, not just your own.


Dual plays like a tilt-enabled Pong mixed with head-to-head Space Invaders. Each player has a ship of sorts that moves around the screen in response to how you tilt your phone. When you tap, the ship fires a missile that travels off your screen and onto the other one, hopefully scoring a hit on the enemy ship.

That's the pew-pew concept in a nutshell. But there's a bit of strategy mixed in as well. For example, if you tap and hold for several seconds, it "charges" your ship to unleash temporary rapid-fire. But while you're charging, obviously you're not shooting, and therefore you're more vulnerable.

Meanwhile, there's always the option of tilting your screen away from the other player's view, though he/she will likely do the same. This makes scoring a hit considerably harder, so at some point you really need to see that other screen -- and it may take some body language to score a look.

There's also a co-op mode called Defend, but the real news is that Dual works cross-platform on Android and iOS, leveraging either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to connect the two devices. The game is free, but you get only one ship (out of three available choices, each with different capabilities). The full version costs $1.99, but both players don't necessarily need to have it; a free-Dual owner can still play against a paid-Dual one.

The game relies on simple but colorful low-res graphics and really slick tap-powered menus.

Dual takes seconds to learn, and at first blush may seem overly simplistic. But it's a really fun way to engage with another live human, up-close and personal. Remember when games were all about that? Here's hoping this is the tip of the iceberg in a new genre of head-to-head competition.