By: Armaan Khan
Do you have at least a passing interest in rhythm games? Can you tolerate electronic music? Do you enjoy a well-written script that contains humor at every turn? Are you willing to play an RPG that requires hours of grinding? Can you watch this How to Play video and not be turned off? If you answered yes to all those questions, then you’ll love Sequence. It’s one of the most fun and refreshing gaming experiences I’ve had in a very long time, but it isn’t a game everyone will enjoy.
Sequence puts you in the hoodie of Ky, a college student who wakes up one morning to find himself trapped in a tower filled with a monsters. He is informed via intercom that he must defeat the guardian on each of the tower’s seven floors, after which he will be set free.
Every floor plays out in the same way: you’re given a bunch of recipes for items that you need to craft before you can successfully defeat the floor’s guardian. Once that’s done, you can unlock the door to the guardian, fight him or her, and move up to the next floor. In order to craft the items, you need to collect ingredients by killing monsters. The twist is that instead of your standard action or RPG battles, these monsters are defeated by playing a rhythm music mini-game. Notes fall from the top of the screen in time to the music that’s playing, and you have to press the correct keys at the correct time in order to cast spells, defend from enemy attacks, and recover mana. The How To Play video goes into more detail, but that’s the gist of it. It’s an incredibly fun and polished experience, but there are two caveats you need to keep in mind.
The first and more important one is the music. If you hate electronic music in any form, you’re not going to enjoy this game. The initial tracks are especially annoying, but they do get better as the game progresses, with the final one – a purely piano piece with wildly varying rhythm – being the best of the bunch. Still, it’s mostly electronic, house, and some ambient, so if you’re not into those styles of music, you’d best stay away.
If you can tolerate the music, however, you’ll have to face the second caveat: the repetitive grind. There are only three monsters per floor, and you’ll have to face each one multiple times in order to get the ingredients you need. Even after you get all those ingredients, you have to keep fighting to collect XP, which is needed not only to level your character, but also to perform the actual item crafting. Crafting has a chance of failure as well, and if that happens you’ll need to grind for more XP in order to try again. You can easily spend over an hour on each floor, fighting the same three monsters over and over again to get everything you need. Personally I love that kind of thing, but not everyone does, so keep that in mind if you’re considering buying this game.
If you can put up with those two negative points, you’ll be rewarded with one of the funniest, well-written scripts that has ever graced a computer game. I found myself laughing out loud at the characterizations, the dialogue, and even the item descriptions. Everything about Sequence contains a savvy sense of humor that is a refreshing change of pace from the dour heroes and storylines that tend to pervade RPGs these days. I actually looked forward to every cut scene, and they work nicely as a reward for getting through the grind.
As fun as it is, I should point out that the game does feel like a console port. The interface was clearly designed to be navigated with a controller, and while the developer made a wonderful attempt at implementing mouse controls, the effort falls short. Navigating the menus and various subscreens requires way more clicks than should be necessary, and I found myself just using the keyboard by itself. On the plus side, you can remap the keys to your liking, which is a feature I found to be quite useful, but that’s pretty much the only configuration options you’ll find available to you.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
Sequence is the kind of game you hold up when people ask, “What do you expect for a $5 indie game?” It demonstrates that a limited budget and low price point doesn’t have to translate into poor production values and sub-par gameplay. It’s fun and funny, polished and addictive, but it’s also a game that isn’t going to appeal to everyone. If you answered “yes” to the questions I asked at the beginning of the review, you’ll find your money to be well spent.
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