Rhythm, RPG Mashup
Rhythm games as a genre have been on a steady decline as of late as people are losing interest in trying to become a rock star in front of their T.V. with a fake guitar. When I was still in college I was even playing Dance Dance Revolution pretty often and even made a report for one of my classes on the effects of those types of games on ones general health. It was good while it lasted but it's now just a fad of gaming days gone by.
In comes Sequence. This gem caught my eye during the Steam holiday sale and I decided to check a trailer out for it. I watched a second trailer and then immediately bought the game. That's how funny and intriguing it sounded to me. It was only $1.50 and plus it combines two genres I really liked. It also reminded me of Puzzle Quest, which had done something similar years ago combining Bejeweled with RPG elements, which I really liked playing. How could I lose? Here's the rundown of game.
Just like any other rhythm game, you have a screen that shows arrows coming down that you have to hit with your keyboard or controller as they hit the bottom. Only difference in Sequence is there are three panels you have to switch between that do different things depending on if you hit or miss arrows.
The Red panel is your defense. If you miss arrows on here, you take damage. Arrows will also have different colors that can deal more damage to you depending on the color, blue, purple and green being the least and yellow, orange and red being the worst.
The Green panel is for casting spells. If you miss arrows here you won't get to cast your spell you chose. There are a variety of spells including damage, healing and barrier type spells. You start with two and by the end of the game you can have up to six spells at a time. Spells have a cooldown on how often you can cast them and require mana to cast.
The Blue panel is for regaining mana. You will notice arrows streaming down like crazy here which looks overwhelming at first. You only gain mana back by hitting arrows which by gaining mana you will be able to cast your spells again. There is no penalty for this panel if you miss an arrow though so don't worry about missing to many.
So where's the RPG elements you say? You gain experience after battles or from items which raises your level and stats and makes it easier to defeat enemies. There is also a crafting system that requires materials you get from monsters and experience you gain in battles to craft things. Each level, seven in all, gives you a set of recipes to work with to get further into the tower and make your way out. Each level consists of three monsters you farm for materials to craft things with such as the key to the next floor, weapons, armor and to learn new spells. After unlocking the floor you fight a boss then continue until the end.
That all sounds confusing probably and it will be at the start until you get used to the controls. The big challenge is managing when to take hits to cast spells and when to protect yourself from the onslaught. Just when you think you get things down you end up facing boss abilities. Randomly in any monster battle you are in a boss will interfere and try to make you lose such as blocking you from switching panels, hiding the arrows half way down the screen and so on. Bosses will also do this during their encounter so you'll have to get used to it and learn to counteract it.
Story, Soundtrack and Art
You play as Ky who wakes up in a strange tower with no memory of how he got there. You're guided only by a voice over the intercom, named Naia, who is your only hope of getting out of this place alive. The script is fully voice acted and at times seems a bit cheesy but for the most part is hilarious and amusing with lots of sarcastic remarks, witty humor, and pop culture references. I honestly didn't know what to expect with it and thought it was just a pretty basic fight your way to the big bad and escape but the game has a pretty weird twist half way through and an even weirder reveal at the end.
The soundtrack is hands down just amazing. Music composed by Ronald Jenkees, who does most of the battle music, and Michael Wade Hamilton aka DJplaeskool, who does most of the menu, cut scene and title music. I highly recommend looking up their tracks and here are some of my favorites:
Ronald Jenkees - Stay Crunchy, Derty, Disorganized Fun, Super Fun
DJplaeskool - Rapid Fire and On Cue
The art is also original and hand drawn by Wendi Chen from the characters to all the backgrounds. She did a really good job and even though it doesn't seem like you're in a tower at times, it still gives off that otherworldly vibe and makes you feel like there is something more going on.
This is a pretty solid game that takes some good reaction timing along with eye/hand coordination. It's pretty easy to pick up for anyone with the four difficulty levels and allows people to have fun with it without actually deterring away from the story. I actually had very few issues with the game, one being the limited soundtrack for which you can play and having to grind through monsters to get your materials for crafting is a hassle. But even with that I don't mind listening to the music provided all the time and I've seen worse farming for materials in other RPG's before.
I highly recommend people to pick this up if you love playing rhythm games, role-playing games or just for a unique gaming experience. It's available on XBLA, Steam and Gamersgate for $5 which after playing it the game is easily worth $20 or more. It's also compatible with keyboard, controller or dance pad which I'm not even sure how a dance pad would work for it with how hectic the game play can get sometimes.
As always thanks for reading and enjoy the game if you do decide to pick it up!