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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review - Sequence

So I just finished Sequence by Iridium Studios, and long story short, I had lots of fun. I do tend to like unique games that throw RPG elements into other genres like Puzzle Quest: Galactrix which I've played on the DS, but this is the first time I've seen a game try a RPG mix with a rhythm game like Dance Dance Revolution or its many imitations like Flash Flash Revolution. Well, what Sequence did works out pretty well, albeit a bit complicated at first.

In Sequence, you play as Ky, who wakes up inside a tower filled with monsters, and guided by a voice through the intercom. The dialogue in this game is entirely fully voice acted, humorous, and quite entertaining. In order to make your escape from this tower, you must climb up to the last floor. Fairly straightforward story, and linear considering there's no map to really navigate through as you just need to craft a key to unlock the door to the next floors. To collect the materials you need, you just select what monster to fight to collect their drops. There's more to it than that, but I find that the dialogue does a much better job at telling the details than I could in this review.

The way the game works is... well, probably best described in this video.

The battles are definitely the fun part, and with the game's 4 different difficulty levels that you can set, any player should be able to jump in and have fun. I played through the game on the Hard difficulty, and felt that it was a pretty solid experience throughout. The available difficulties are... Easy, Medium, Hard, and Spasmodic. After a while, things start to get a bit crazy with arrows coming down all three panels at once, which may overwhelm some people who's still getting used to flipping through the panels, which is cool. I think most people who like these games are looking for overwhelming number of arrows coming down anyway, although you really can't hit them all in this case. Just gotta know how to prioritize, while juggling the three panels. Early on though, you can get away with 2 at a time, since if you're not casting a spell, your attack panel won't have any arrows, and if you don't need mana, you can ignore the mana panel until you start casting spells.

As you progress, you'll gain some levels as well as equipments to help your stats in withstanding stronger enemies' attacks, as well as being able to dish out more damage per attack. You'll also get scrolls which will teach you new spells, provided you can complete their tests such as getting a 100 combo on a certain song, or finishing a song with at least 80% notes hit, for example. I'm wondering whether if these are harder on harder difficulties though, as they appeared to have quite a bit of arrows on hard I think. I believe these test arrows are the same arrows you'll find in the mana panel for that song as well.

There were times where I was fighting the same monsters over and over to try to get their drops which got dull after a while, hearing the beginning of the same song a couple times in a row. Each floor only has 3 monsters as well, but progression isn't too slow. The game is roughly about 10 hours long. I seemed to have 14 hours clocked in, but Vicki was also checking the game out a bit too, so that may not be entirely accurate for the actual time I spent playing the game.

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by the turn of events. There were no particular "weak" areas other than playing the same songs many times, and even that wasn't that bad. Even if I don't get the item drops, I still get EXP which is always nice to have. EXP is used for both leveling up as well as currency to synthesizing items from crafting recipes and learning new spells as well. So it all works out in the end.

I would definitely recommend this game for those that enjoy playing FFR and/or Stepmania on the keyboard. The game IS also compatible with X Box controllers and gamepads, but I'm much more used to the arrow keys on the keyboard for this. Apparently this game is available on X Box Live as well as Steam, so... pick whichever version better suits you.

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