Growing up with a brother and a sister but only one console between the three of us meant that much of my childhood was spent in never-ending three way tournaments of Doctor Mario or tag-teaming Bubble Bobble. When renting games over the weekend, preference was always given to games with a co-op option, it didn’t matter if it was competitive or multiplayer. Just as long as two out of the three kids were occupied at a time.
On mobile, however, most multiplayer experiences are enabled by WiFi or social networks, with each person playing on their own device, often on their own time. So when Thai proto-indie studio Exceed7 told me their 2 player competitive game, Duel Otters, was to be played together on one device, I was definitely interested.
Best suited to tablet sized devices, but probably still 100% playable on your average iPhone, Duel Otters is basically a series of competitive mini-games played with each person holding one end of the device. Each mini-game constitutes a round and the first to win three rounds wins the match. Rounds can either be assigned randomly, or selected manually at the beginning of each match. There is also a single player mode where you compete against an AI component, which is good for practicing, but the real fun definitely happens when competing head-to-head against your friends and loved ones.
This initial release includes 7 different mini-games, ranging from a video game version of air hockey to counting games, to hot potato. There are also a couple of games where players have to rush to push items towards the other player, meaning that those with big fat fingers have an obvious advantage (Rick). All of the games are lightening quick, so expert reflexes and hand-eye coordination are a must. There are already plans for a further 7 mini-games to be rolled out in an update, with a sneak-peak included in this version.
Rick and I were both shocked at how much fun we had playing the game, and I still break it out when we’re stuck somewhere waiting or have a few spare minutes to kill. Duel Otters would be an excellent game to break out while line waiting at a convention or at your next house party. The art is also super-adorable and fun and even the music drives home a carnival-esque sense of silly fun.
For a first effort, Duel Otters is remarkably polished and well designed, but most importantly it is extremely fun to play. The instructions on how to play the games can be a little obscure at times, but a little trial and error never hurt anyone, as long as your opponent agrees to play fair.
Duel Otters is available on iOS for $1.99 with an Android version to follow shortly.
However, the developers have kindly provided me with 7 (!) download codes for the iOS version to give away to my readers. The giveaway is open from now until midnight October 20th.