Sequence Review

Sequence has some great ideas, but they're wasted on a boring and overly linear role-playing game.

Sequence's combination of rhythm action and role-playing-game spellcasting seems a strange combination, but it's a striking mix, rewarding you with an addictive battle system that's both fun and clever. And yet this ingenuity is squandered, surrounded on all sides by lacklustre RPG elements. The right elements are all there--a levelling system, spells, crafting--but the game is one-dimensional, sending you along a one-way path filled with endless grinding and characters so stereotypical it's a wonder how they exist outside of the 1950s. Without freedom of choice, you merely go through the motions, working towards a goal that you did not seek, nor care about, making Sequence more proof of concept than a complete experience.

Calm the raging storm with the power of rhythmic tapping.
Calm the raging storm with the power of rhythmic tapping.

Your one-way journey might be a little more enjoyable if there were an interesting story behind it, but sadly that's not the case. You play as Ky, a smart-aleck teenager who is so immensely unlikeable that you spend most of the game wanting to punch him in the face. He awakens imprisoned in a tower, with no recollection as to how he got there and only a series of sarcastic jibes to see him through. The reasons for your incarceration are explained in part by Naia, a similarly snarky teenager who guides you through the tower via an intercom. It turns out that Ky has been specially selected for testing and has to make his way up the seven levels of the tower battling monsters to gain his freedom.

Those battles are the saving grace of Sequence, employing a system that's a clever blend of two genres so familiar that it makes you wonder why nobody has done it before. The heart of the system is in its three tiles: one for defence, one for spellcasting, and one for gathering mana. Arrows scroll down each of those tiles, and as in Dance Dance Revolution, you have to press the corresponding direction on your keyboard or controller in time with the music. If you're on the defence tile, missing a command means you lose health, while you only gain mana on the mana tile for every correct command.

Cast a spell using the magic wheel in the centre of the screen, and you have to follow the magic tile; miss one of its commands, and you fail to cast the spell and forfeit any mana used in the attempt. All this happens in real time, so you have to flick between tiles constantly, which introduces an element of strategy. Knowing when to cast a spell, mount a defence, or gather mana is key to a successful battle. It can get incredibly frantic, particularly when fighting against higher-level monsters, but the system is so fluid it's always heaps of fun.

Sometimes, all that stands in the way of your freedom is a giant bouncy ball.
Sometimes, all that stands in the way of your freedom is a giant bouncy ball.

Behind each battle is a piece of music to play to, and unfortunately that's where things start to falter. While the tunes themselves are decent--a range of synth-filled electronica--there simply aren't enough of them. The same piece of music is used multiple times for different monsters, with the monotony exacerbated by the fact that there's a lot of grinding required to progress. On each stage of the tower, Naia gives you a recipe for a key that is required to move up a level. The parts for a key come from just three monsters that populate each stage. You're not guaranteed to get those parts when you defeat a monster, and so you're forced to repeat the same three battles, with the same pieces of music, over and over. It's even worse if you want to learn new spells or equip yourself with new armour, weapons, and accessories to increase your defensive or offensive stats. Those require parts too, often the same ones used to make the key, so you're back to battling the same three monsters again.

This wouldn't be so bad if there were different areas to explore, people to talk to, or side quests to complete, but you're ushered down a one-way path with no room for deviation. You're just given a list of items to gather and then told to battle monsters--which you select from a list--to move on. There's an attempt to break things up with a boss battle at the end of each level, but the bosses themselves are horrible stereotypes--a Mexican matador who speaks of nothing but tacos and fajitas being the worst offender. The characters at least look nice, with a comic-like style that's vibrant and interesting, even if they remain largely static throughout.

This is one lady you don't wanna mess with.
This is one lady you don't wanna mess with.

Sequence is a disappointment--a game with some good ideas that fails to build on its initially impressive showing. The rhythm battle system might be marvellous, but when it's deployed in service of an RPG that's so vacuous and so repetitive, any enjoyment is quickly replaced with boredom. It's immensely frustrating that such innovative ideas have been so recklessly squandered. This is a game to try for that singular wow moment, perhaps--just don't expect to stick with it for long.

The Good
Innovative combination of rhythm game and RPG
The Bad
Lead characters so irritating you want to hurl things at them
Far too linear, leaving no room at all for exploration
Endless grinding
Not enough songs
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Mark is a senior staff writer based out of the UK, the home of heavy metal and superior chocolate.
5 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for dillydadally

I have to agree with the other commenters and say I don't know how you give this game a 5. I think he missed the point of the whole game somehow. He expected it to be a totally different game than it attempted to be - some sort of open world RPG game?

This is really a pure rhythm game done very well infused with an incredible story. There's a little bit of RPG mixed in too in brilliant ways, but it never attempts to be some sort of pure RPG. The story also happens to be incredibly well written and I didn't find the characters annoying.

I can agree that there could be a little more music, but the music that is in there is literally so good that the game became famous for its music alone. You'll hear stuff from its soundtrack all over the internet in other videos and streams on

I feel like he wanted the game to be some sort of real RPG and it never attempted to be anything like that - it's a Rhythm game infused with an excellent story and a few RPG elements. All in all, I'd give the game an 8.5. It's definitely worth a try, especially because it's a cheap indie game.

Avatar image for Reaped_Psyche

Iridium Studios got bored after a while, so they decided to make a second game! They also had some dirt on Wil Wheaton (Star Trek, Eureka, The Big Bang Theory), so they got him on board, too.


There Came an Echo is a game in which you, the field commander of a small squad, use your voice to direct your units around a map to accomplish various objectives. There's a list of predefined commands, which might include "open fire," or "Corrin, head to Bravo 3." Limiting the dictionary to a few hundred entries helps to improve voice recognition, as the system (unlike, say, Siri) doesn't need to differentiate a large number of words.

Still, those aren't the only things you'll be saying: for every existing command and unit, the player can define a custom phrase that acts as an alternate. For instance, instead of "Grace, hold position", you might choose to say "yo girl, hold up", or instead of "weapons free", you might say, "not the gumdrop buttons!" You'll be able to direct your troops in a style completely your own.

At various points throughout missions, your units will make various observations and come back to you with questions. "Sir, I've got a clear shot on an enemy target thirty meters away. Should I take the shot?" "Sir, do you want me to link back up with Grace? She's under heavy fire." You'll need to survey the situation and give an informed "affirmative" or "negative". It's a dialogue, not a soliloquy.

Finally, there will be numerous environmental factors that you can affect throughout the game. Previously placed mines can be detonated remotely: "Mines 1, 3, 11, detonate." Automated defense systems can target specific units: "Turret B, target Enemy Unit 5." There are myriad possibilities for these types of interactions within gameplay, and these are just scratching the surface.


Avatar image for MKID232

They're 24!

Avatar image for riotinto876

This game isn't perfect, but it surely isn't a 5 either. the story is very good and entertaining and the gameplay is very good. Mark, I am disapoint.

Avatar image for SCWoodson007

A very poorly written review. I strongly disagree and will probably write a review soon so I'm not arbitrary with my disagreement. I'd give this game either a 9.5 or a 10. Mark glanced over the story, but in my opinion (which I understand can vary from person to person) is the best story I've ever enjoyed in a videogame. Please, if anyone's interested in this game, don't take this review to heart. Pick it up and have a great time with it.

Before the Echo More Info

  • First Released May 5, 2011
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • + 2 more
    • PC
    • Xbox 360
    Sequence features mechanics from both traditional role-playing games and rhythm-based games.
    Average Rating39 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Before the Echo
    Developed by:
    Iridium Studios
    Published by:
    Iridium Studios