Sequence

At the time I was challenged to review Sequence, I hadn’t yet reviewed an RPG from the indie scene.  I used to be huge into the genre so it’s a bit strange that it took me this long to play one for review.  The only previous one I bought was Breath of Death VII, which was well before I even thought of Indie Gamer Chick.  I thought it was pretty good.  I’m kind of surprised I never went back to see what other stuff people cooked up.

Sequence is a bit of an oddball because it mixes rhythm games like Dance Dance Revolution with RPG elements.  You play as a dude who wakes up in a tower and has to fight monsters and historical figures.  You’re aided by some chick on an intercom who talks you through the whole thing.  The highlight of the game is the banter between the two.  Well maybe “highlight” is too strong a word.  I’ll say that it’s the best part of the game, sort of like how getting stabbed by Longinus was high point of the crucifixion for Jesus.  The dialog is just too obsessed with being referential and sarcastic.  It speaks in what I call “Sitcomese.”  It renders both characters completely unlikable by the midway point of the game.  They also drop the smugness at random intervals and get all touchy-feely.  It’s bizarre, like watching a funeral in the middle of a circus.

The gameplay is fairly messy.  There’s three grids where notes drop in and you have to shuffle between them and match arrows using the D-pad or face buttons.  One grid is defensive, one restores mana, and one casts spells.  Your only offensive options are spells.  Once you cast one, you go to the spell grid and hit the notes.  Miss just one note and the spell fails.   While you’re doing this, the other grids keep dropping notes, leaving you open to take damage.  There are spells that allegedly can slow down the defensive grid, but I found them to be miss-or-miss bigger.  Whenever I tried to cast a spell, it seemed like only then did the defensive grid light up with notes.

About halfway through I had an epiphany that in RPGs you can’t prevent all damage.  Once I figured out that I would just have to take it like a champ, it did improve the game.  Marginally.  The biggest flaw with Sequence is the item creation system.  You synthesize items using materials dropped by baddies.  Only thing is, you have to use up experience points to do it, and it’s not guaranteed to work.  You have to spend more XP to increase the odds of successful creation, resulting in you deleveling.  And you can never reach 100% odds.  This was a dick move supreme with extra dick sauce.  And I swear to God this game hated my guts because I failed more at 75% odds than I did at 50% odds.  It’s completely transparent that this was done to pad out the game.  But a dick move is still a dick move and in the case of Sequence I found this to be the fatal blow towards any hope I would recommend it.

The sad thing is the storyline is good enough that I wanted to push through to its conclusion.  Sequence is written well enough that I did finish it, and found the ending to be satisfying.  It damn well better have been.  After ripping my hair out from failing to create items even with the odds pushed to 80% (the highest I went on principle), and multiple rage quits, I was pretty pissed off by time I reached the finale.  I also was deeply embarrassed for myself that I had chosen to set the game to easy and forgot to switch back before I left the third floor, which is the point of no return for adjusting the difficulty.  I meant to.  I really did.  What?  Stop looking at me like that.  Stop, stop, stop!

I’m not sure I could really recommend Sequence to anyone.  The RPG elements are too shallow and annoying for fans of that genre.  The music is, quite frankly, pretty horrible.  It’s generic and rarely fits the personality of the monster it’s supposed to represent.  Most of it sounds like something you would hear in an elevator.  In Hell.  Overall I just didn’t dig the concept.  What’s next, mixing pinball with real-time strategy?  Who would be that stupid?

Sequence was developed by Iridium Studios

240 Microsoft Points got the beat, they got the beat, they got the beat, yeaaa, they got the beat in the making of this review.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

8 Responses to Sequence

  1. Jason says:

    P.S. You probably won't believe me, but I actually coded the game to lie slightly about the percentages; you have an even slightly higher probability of item success than is listed. (For a listing of 75%, for example, you actually have a chance of 79% or so.) This leads me to believe you are literally the unluckiest person existing on the planet Earth.

    Congratulations.

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  4. I’m playing Sequence right now and I really, really love it. It’s a strong contender for my favourite indie game, and if it was twice as long it would give most XBLA games a run for their money in my book.

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