I started up Sequence not really knowing what to expect. I didn’t hear much about this indie title developed by Iridium Studios and bought it on Steam by chance. Turns out it’s one of the most unique games I have played in recent years. You need to buy it if you haven’t already.
Sequence is a mix of genres I never thought I’d see: RPG and rhythm. You battle enemies and level up while increasing your attack and mana points. However, the attacks are executed differently than a standard RPG. Depending on which attack you want to do, you have to spend mana to have that attack’s arrows appear on your attack window. Next, you time it well and hit each arrow to complete the sequence and land the attack. The arrows come down Dance Dance Revolution style. This takes down the enemy’s health points, however the same can be done to you. Your opponent will do their attack and it’s up to you to switch over to your defense window and defend yourself. This works then same as attacking: land each arrow to complete the sequence and you won’t get hurt. The final window is for mana; this one is used for accumulating more mana when you’ve used it all up with attacks.
The challenge in all of this relies on a number of factors. Enemies can attack while your own attack arrows are already coming down. So at times you’ll have to sacrifice your entire attack by missing a move, or get hit and lose health points. The song can be a really fast one that’ll require you to move and think fast while switching windows and hitting arrows. This can get a little crazy in the harder difficulties. There are so many keys to constantly hit, it can be overwhelming. Not to mention if you’re low leveled and fighting a boss. But all in all the combat is like nothing I’ve ever seen.
When the battle is done and the experience is distributed, you have chances of picking up items. These can be ingredients to recipes for new powers, weapons, or armor. If they’re useless to you, you can desynthesize them. This yields experience points. Synthesizing is another story, here is where the frustration arises. Items aren’t always easy to get from enemies. There are rare ones with a very low percentage to drop. So then, after fighting the same enemy a ton of times to get the remaining ingredients to a recipe, you can attempt to make the item. There’s a chance you can even fail while synthesizing. This is combated by giving up experience points to make the percentage higher (95% maximum). Some items have a high difficulty rating resulting in you giving up copious (fucking ridiculous) amounts of experience and dropping down a couple of levels just to ensure you won’t fail. It’s really the most annoying thing if you’re completing the game totally and attaining every item.
Despite its frustrations the gameplay is fresh, fast paced, and fun. I know that sounds like a stereotypical quote for, like, a racing game. But it’s just different.
[+Surprising and fun gameplay] [+Easy to jump into] [+Unique hybrid] [*Harder difficulties provide a big challenge] [-Grinding for items and synthesizing them can be disheartening]
Sequence shines with its sound. Obviously, a rhythm game would. The soundtrack is great and really gets you in the mood to hit those arrows. There’s a piano track that made me feel like I was actually using my skills to launch a poisonous attack on the enemy. I have no piano skills, so that felt good. Visually it’s a good looking game. Most is hand drawn, and the effects attacks do look cool. I wish the cutscenes were actually scenes and not just the characters standing to the sides as text appears below them, though. The story is interesting. Without any spoilers, it’ll be a good reason to keep you going. If, you know, the amazing gameplay didn’t hook you. The voice acting was an odd choice for the characters. Each character is likable and you feel like you learn a lot about them in the span of the game. It’s not an epic story, it won’t tell you every aspect about their lives, but you’ll know a lot about them. I’m looking at you, Ky, you damn Gator. The bosses are the best, eccentric in ways you couldn’t imagine. One of them speaks only in “text adventure speak”. Another is a matador. So amazing. Sequence features a very interesting story with commentary on soul mates, fate, and whether people are inherently in control of their lives. It may not be apparent at first, but when it is you see it’s more than just hitting notes and fighting monsters.
[+Interesting story] [+Great soundtrack] [+Lovable characters that are written well] [*Cutscenes aren’t actually scenes] [-Voice acting is a bit off]
It’s $4.99 on Steam and 240 Microsoft points on XBL. I beat it in ten hours, and that’s with acquiring everything. Grinding and synthesizing and all, this gave me more hours than most $59.99 games do these days. Though it may not have much replay value except for maybe going back to do another difficulty or get every item, I think it’s completely worth it for those prices. No multiplayer, but it’s not meant for that (though it would fit well). You’re going to play something new and refreshing that deserves more recognition than it’s gotten.
[+Cheap] [+Decent length] [*No multiplayer] [-Barely any replay value]
I adore this game. It was my random hit of the year. No idea what to expect and I got one of the best games I’ve played in recent months. The characters, the story, the music, the gameplay, everything wrapped up together to give players a new hybrid that both RPG and rhythm game fans will love.
[+Surprising and fun gameplay] [+Easy to jump into] [+Easy to jump into] [+Unique hybrid] [+Unique hybrid] [+Cheap] [+Decent length] [+Interesting story] [+Great soundtrack] [+Lovable characters that are written well] [*Harder difficulties provide a big challenge] [*No multiplayer] [*Cutscenes aren’t actually scenes] [-Grinding and synthesizing items can be disheartening] [-Barely any replay value] [-Voice acting is a bit off]