Published on May 15th, 2011 | by Derek Strickland, Contributor
Sequence XBLIG Review
Platform: Xbox Live Indie Games
Price: 240 MSP ($3)
Developer: Iridium Studios
Sequence is a unique mash-up that combines both RPG elements and rhythm-based dynamics featured in games like Dance Dance Revolution. Successfully joining the RPG and Music genres of gaming may seem like a stretch, however Sequence is quite original in it’s implementation of the mechanics, providing gamers a unique and enjoyable Xbox Indie gaming experience with its mashup of role-playing and melody.
Players start the game off as Ky, a young man who’s awakened in a strange place with symbols and glowing glyphs on the walls. Ky is then trained via intercom by Naia, who aims to help Ky make his way through the enemies in the Tower itself. The Tower is used to train certain individuals, many of which don’t survive the lethal hordes of enemies within.
Naia assists Ky on his journey through the seven levels of the Tower, each ascending level becoming progressively more difficult than the previous. Naia promises that if Ky can reach the seventh level and conquer what lies within, that he’ll be set free. Along the way our hero meets quite zany characters who are known as the Guardians–each of them having their own distinctive traits.
Will Ky unlock the mysteries of the mythical Tower and reach the seventh level to be set free, or will he perish like dozens before him in the hallowed walls of the monolith?
The basic mechanics of Sequence require players to carefully and precisely press a direction on the analog stick. the D-Pad, or the four face buttons (ABXY) in sync with the scrolling arrow indicators on the screen.
The object of the game is to use all three Fields to your advantage, keeping up with the beats and arrow indicators as best you can, casting spells against enemies and bringing their HP below zero to eliminate them. Players must weigh their choices while playing this game and take consideration while choosing which Field to clear at which time, planning tactical strategies in order to be victorious.
There are three windows, or “Fields” to keep track of in the main display: the Defensive, Spell, and Mana Fields all pertain to different in-game elements and players can switch between them by pressing the right and left triggers (RT & LT). The Defensive Field is related to the amount of damage that is given to a player, as each precise response prevents damage, while a failed attempt subtracts from the player’s HP pool.
The Spell Field itself is a bit complicated, and casting spells isn’t as easy as simply selecting them on a list and pressing A. Instead players must select the correct spell using the right analog stick, then press RB or LB to “cast” the spell–but you’re not done just yet. In order for the spell to be officially cast, players must successfully catch each “Gem” indicator that falls. If you miss one, the Mana is wasted and you have to re-cast it again. Spells can range from offensive direct damage to defensive healing abilities, each having their own cool-down rates.
The Mana Field is useful to players as every match yields one mana point, and mana is expended when using Spells. There are no negative effects from failing to clear the gems on this field.
Vertically scrolling (or falling) gems are differentiated by colors, each depicting more damage in the Defensive Field: Blue is 2x damage, Green is 3x, Yellow is 5x and Red is 10x damage, where one damage point is the default. Players are also timed in each battle, adding to the frenetic pace of the game as players, must be quick as well as precise.
In terms of RPG mechanics and elements, Sequence possesses quite a few aspects that gamers will recognize–the HP and Mana pool for example, and the attributes (Offense, Defense), level progression system with EXP, in-game equipped items (Active Weapons, Armors, & Accessories) as well as a battle summary after each fight.
The in-game interface takes some getting used to, and this game is definitely fast-paced, reminiscent to a mixture of DDR-like vertical scrolling arrows and the rhythm-based music games where reflexes and timing are key factors. Sequence utilizes creative dynamics and RPG elements to deliver a satisfying and original Xbox Indie title–with a memorable cast of characters (Ky, Naia, & The Guardians) and a robust RPG character development system this game offers quite a bit to players.
Sequence also offers fully voiced dialogue between the characters within the game, bringing the simple illustrations to life with their own personalities and traits. The way the characters interact with one another is quite entertaining especially since the voice actors themselves are quite skilled. This is a nice touch that is hardly ever featured in Xbox Indie RPG titles.
Sequence could also be considered a puzzle game of sorts, as players must constantly divert their attention to keep up with the pace.
While the game takes a bit to get used to (even with the included Tutorial), it offers quite an original and different gameplay experience for gamers and Sequence is a type of game that isn’t seen too often on the Xbox Indies marketplace. Overall it uses quirky and humorous character personalities to supplement gameplay, while also offering an expansive RPG system of spells and a unique rhythm-based concept-where quick reflexes are key.
Players must focus on multiple prompts and fields, making the game into sort of a fast-paced puzzle game with enjoyable beats and harmonious musical tracks. I highly recommend this title to gamers who enjoy unique games such as mash-ups or hybrids.
For more information on Sequence and the studio that developed it, Iridium Studios, please visit their website.
+ Original Concepts & Game Mechanics
+ Unique Blend of RPG & Rhythm-Based Gameplay
+ Enjoyable Music Tracks & Artwork
+ Humorous Characters & Dialogue
– Hard to Get Used To
– Complicated In-Game Interface