Sequence [Review]

Music meets adventure in this unusual hybrid from Iridium Studios

Released not too long ago for Xbox Live Indie Games, Iridium Studios brings us Sequence. A sleeper-hit music-based, role-playing game that brings us back to the classic days of gaming mixed with a little bit of pop culture for flair. The guys over at Iridium say that they are dedicated to the production of high-quality, original software, and they did just that. Get those thumbs ready because Sequence is dropping arrows….  Lots and lots of arrows.

The game throws you right into the story as fast as possible. They quickly introduce you to the main character Ky and his surveillance camera-using friend or “shepherd” as they call it, Naia. You essentially wake up inside of a creepy industrial tower as a form of lab rat of sorts.  The only way out is to reach the top via help from your new found friend Naia, who has her own underlying story to discover as you play. Quite simply put, Ky must fight his way through monsters and quirky bosses and reach the top of the tower or he’ll die inside it.

The story progresses as Ky amasses specific ingredients from fallen monsters in order to unlock the boss door on each floor and ultimately challenge the boss beyond it to progress up to the next level. The player can also unlock special upgrades and discover new spells using the game’s synthesis system and the random items dropped from fallen enemies they have collected. This adds not only to the replay factor of the overall game, but also allows players to enhance their capabilities if they find a current monster or boss just a little too much to take on at the present time.

Unlike your average adventure game, Sequence takes the player through its imaginative cloak-and-dagger world via a truly interesting and unique battle system. It uses 3 windows to view the falling arrows done in the vane of classic Dance Dance Revolution, with each window corresponding to a different aspect of battle. The blue window serves as a mana well. With each arrow matched up correctly, the player will receive mana points. In the red window, the player must match the falling arrows as they appear to either block or lessen the blow of an enemy attack. And last, but not least, is the green window. This window is where all activated spells will produce arrows the player must match in order to officially cast them or suffer the penalty of wasted mana points.

Beyond the three windows, the player must keep track of the spell circle at the bottom of the screen. This circle, controlled by holding the analog stick in the direction of the desired spell, grows in detail as the player progresses. As they cut their way through floors and floors of enemies, the player’s spell circle will grow to allow more and more spells to be equipped at any given point. While all of this may seem like a daunting task to keep track of at first, the game does a fantastic job of easing you into it and describing any new gameplay elements in detail via humorous story sequences between Ky and Naia.

The controls are one of the best technical aspects of the game. They are quick, responsive, and feel like they should. The player not only is given thorough descriptions of the controls as they progress, but the game itself only ever so slowly introduces new control mechanics to keep things fresh and interesting without bombarding the player with too many changes at once. The controls are easy to pick up and in no time at all, you’ll be casting spells, blocking attacks, and building up mana on the fly; and in quite the stylish manner.

Being a musical role-playing adventure, sound has much to do with the experience; and that is where Sequence really shines. Sporting a solid – and often times hilarious – voice-acted cast, a wide variety of slick sound effects, and a twenty-eight song soundtrack, Sequence has set the bar high, really high, for indie gaming. The music is varied in both speeds and styles to avoid too much repetition, and it really helps the game stay fresh and interesting. Mixed in beautifully with the tense action on screen, the audio truly brings this game to life. Each of the voice-acted characters has their own personality that truly shines through audibly to the player to fully expand the world’s overall sense of reality.  Even the in-game sound effects come across with crisp detail. The audio department at Iridium Studios has definitely proven their worth in Sequence.

That said, the one feature as a gamer I truly wish this title had was competitive multiplayer. The computer does a fantastic job of keeping you on your toes with special guardian boss moves, special items, and weapon effects, but I personally think they truly missed a great opportunity for a brilliant way to add large amounts of replay value to an already great title. Imagine building up your character and challenging your friends in online duels; casting spells and dodging incoming attacks all in real-time. I’m sure the fine ladies and gents at Iridium Studios had their reasons for not having multiplayer, but one can’t help but wish they did.

While music games may not have been your “thing” in the past, Sequence has found a beautiful medium between music game and role-playing adventure. It’s fun, inventive, and a truly enjoyable experience. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for something new and off the beaten path.

Aaron Tomko
Aaron Tomko
Aaron Tomko

Guest Writer

Aaron has played games since before he could stand and has been doing so ever since. He is currently seeking a degree in game design and creates his own art.

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