Let The Two Sides Of Your Brain Fight It Out In DuoBall

I don’t think a game has ever made me hate my brain so much. DuoBall is a “cooperative game for your brainsides” by Holger Borum, a game of synchronicity, coordination and timing. The goal is to navigate and position the two player-controlled objects in a way that the beam they periodically shoot between them will pierce a certain spot designated in each level. If the objects are too close together, or if there’s an obstacle like a wall or a moving platform obstructing the beam, they will explode and the level will reset.


The hard part is learning how to navigate these objects simultaneously. WASD controls the green ball, and the arrow keys control the yellow. The later stages will have you trying to synchronize each ball’s path in different directions, trying to pull off complex moves while maintaining a certain distance between the two, and making sure that the beams are not obstructed between maneuvers.

What’s most striking about DuoBall is the slick level design. At the start of each stage, the path to victory is clear immediately, but the core mechanic actually hinders, rather than facilitates, your ability to get there. It’s less You vs. The Environment as it is You vs. Your Own Brain. I suppose most puzzle games follow this sort of structure, but as hinted at before, I’d hesitate to call DuoBall a puzzle game, necessarily. There’s nothing to solve other than your own sense of coordination.


The game’s difficulty ramp is as smooth as its design, too. The way it transitions your use of simple techniques to some of the more complex ones feels natural, and the only real roadblock you’ll run into is your own ability to pull them off. Your brain understands what you need to do. Communicating these strategies to your hands is where it flops. This gets super easy after a while, though, and you’ll feel dumb for ever having been challenged by it in the first place!

You can download DuoBall here for Windows and Linux. It is not available on Mac.