Clap Clap Stomp Stomp
If you follow releases in the audio gaming world you’ve more than likely heard about Sequence Storm. There has been quite a bit of talk about the game, and for good reason. It is one of the few games to be both a video game and a fully accessible audio game. The real question is how good of an audio game is it? Smoke and Hannibal are together again in a dual review to answer this question.
The copy of the game which is being given away was donated by the developer SPECIAL MAGIC GAMES LLC. This will not reflect on the review or final score given to the game.
Thanks to Connor (@quakelover) for having Smoke stream this. Without him this review and giveaway would have never happened.
pitermach’s guide on setting up Steam with a screen reader
- Developer: SPECIAL MAGIC GAMES LLC
- Version being reviewed: 1.1.8
- Platform: Windows
- Trial/demo: yes
- price: $14.99
- View the game on Steam
- View the game on Itch
Developer’s Summary of the game
EXTREME RHYTHM ACTION meets FUTURISTIC RACING in this story-driven game. Press the buttons in time to the music to build up speed and power. Use special abilities to speed past the competition. Earn credits by completing missions and customize your racing rig. Race 46 increasingly twisty tracks with 5 difficulties each, offering something for everybody from casual to crazy. Challenge your friends in split screen mode.
STORY CAMPAIGN: Follow Elijah Gale through 60 missions, with three difficulties. Elijah is a down-on-his-luck engineer who accidentally finds a lucrative new career as a “daemon.” Discover a world where megacorporations have found a new use for human minds; doing their digital bidding in The Sequence, where speed is the only thing that matters. Earn credits and upgrade Elijah’s rig.
ARCADE MODE: In the arcade, you can practice tracks, race for time, or aim for high scores.
ACCESSIBILITY: Advanced accessibility features enable players that are visually impaired or blind. Additionally, there are options to simplify the game in various ways.
TRACK EDITOR: Import music and create twisty tracks and note patterns.
Lets give it a play
This review was recorded by Smoke. The rest of the review is the thoughts and opinions of both Smoke and Hannibal. This audio clip is only to give someone an idea of what the game is like and to support the review.
For those who have played rhythm games in the past, this will be familiar, but still unique. For those like Smoke who have never played anything in this genre, Sequence Storm is the perfect rhythm game to start with. The game play is simple yet complex as you progress through the levels and tracks.
The point of the game is to stay in rhythm with the notes to increase your rig’s speed. As you increase speed you can boost, drift, and draft with other racers to win the races. You get paid credits based on your timing, your finishing position, and for bonus objectives on each track/race. You can then spend your credits on stats for rig health, cornering speed, top speed, and acceleration. There are also equipment upgrades you can add to your rig, each one of which is upgradeable for a price. A shield, boost modifier, drift modifier, a numbing module for reducing negative effects on missed notes, and a speed leecher to take speed from other racers. As you buy more stat points they get more expensive. The same applies for equipment as you level it up.
When starting the game you go through a series of tutorial races and tracks which walk you through everything you need to play the game. The tutorial is well thought out, and It is all you’ll ever need to get up and racing. The free demo includes the tutorial, and it is more than enough races to see if this is a game you’ll enjoy.
The game has built in support for keyboard and game pads. Smoke uses a keyboard and Hannibal uses his XBox controller. It just comes down to what you prefer.
There are only 8 musical sounds/notes you need to press. On the keyboard D=bass, F=snare, J=clapper, and K=high hat. Then there are high and low record scratches both on the left and right. U and I are the high and low on the right while R and E are the high and low on the left. Then finally your kick drum is the spacebar. On the controller your bumpers and triggers are the base, snare, clap, and high hat. The analog sticks are used for the right and left scratches. Your kick drum is the X on a play station controller or A for XBox.
This covers the rhythm part of the game, but there is also the racing. To boost by default you hold H. But in the settings you can change boost to one press of H, then hyper drift to one press of G. This is how we both play. You also have to steer…yep steer around electric barriers, around corners in boost, around other racers, and to discharge your shield or to pick up special items on the track.
In a time where simplicity and games which are easy to beat in a couple hours run rampid, Sequence Storm is a very nice change. It is quick to pick up and play on standard, but you will always be able to challenge yourself with different missions, tracks, and increased difficulties.
Smoke & Hannibal’s thoughts
On hearing about Sequence Storm Smoke just sort of shrugged and ignored it. There have been rhythm audio games and they have all been essentially the same thing. Press some buttons when you are told to, do that over and over. People seem to enjoy this so it has a place in the market. Sequence storm isn’t this however. This takes the rhythm part and expands on it in a perfect way. The combination of racing and rhythm makes this very enjoyable to play.
A lot of games have a learning curve to get going. Normally this is either very steep or very shallow. Sequence Storm is a well thought out escalation of difficulty. The time it takes to learn the controls and get playing is instant. After that the game progresses in difficulty wonderfully as you go through the missions. With a total of 60 missions in story mode this works out to a hell of a lot of play time. This isn’t something we see in many audio games and it is nice to see the progression so well thought out.
There is a lot of balance and customizability built into the game both for those who don’t have a history of playing rhythm games, and for rhythm experts. This goes farther than the different levels of difficulty. You can also change the amount of notes you have to play with, the panning of the notes, the frequency of the notes, as well as disabling things like note holds. This gives each and every player choices to tailor the game to exactly how they want it, and allows for personal progression which keeps the game new and challenging.
The work the developer has done to make the game accessible is second to none. Even during the week this review was written there have been two additional accessibility updates. One for a radar and another which added special sounds for notes which require a hold. This is not a partly accessible game, this is a fully functioning accessible audio game. This cannot be applauded enough. The game has full SAPI support and everything else including the story and the game play and features are 100% accessible and easy to understand. Just the accessibility menu has 27 different options at the time of writing this. It covers everything to custom audio options to setting up your high contrast just how you want it. The accessibility features aren’t just a selling point in Sequence Storm, rather they are a main feature of the game.
Smoke and Hannibal have both enjoyed the story mode, For smoke this is quite unusual. Normally the story is just window dressing for the actual game, and it can be ignored quite easily. Here the story is actually quite interesting. We won’t put in anything to spoil it, but you can expect some interesting twists that will make you want to keep playing to find out more. Neither of us have fully beaten the game, and we are both looking forward to seeing what happens with the characters.
It is really nice that the game can be fully enjoyed with a controller or a keyboard. This is quite normal for a lot of non audio games, and it is nice to see it in a fully accessible one too. A lot of the time audio games add controller support after the fact and it is quite spotty. Here it was clearly something thought of from the start and it is completely equal to playing with a keyboard.
The game is also not graphic intensive. Smoke is running an older I5 processor with onboard graphics and it runs the game without any issues. Hannibal isn’t using a gaming PC by any means and it runs perfectly for him. Smoke is on Windows 7 and Hannibal is on 8 with no problems. Even if you don’t have the latest and best PC you shouldn’t have any real issues running the game. You should still read the recommended computer specs before purchasing, and of course play the free demo first.
One thing that would be nice is the ability to see how many missions you have completed. We have looked but have not found a stat which shows this. It is one of those things that could be built into steam, but again we haven’t found it on there. It would be nice to see how far you have progressed in the story, but not knowing doesn’t detract from the game.
The main suggestion we’d have for this game is the potential for an additional online verses mode. This is a light suggestion however as it may already be possible through Steam, but if so it is not clear how it would be done. The description mentions playing against friends in a split screen mode. If it was also possible to link up with friends online and play against one another it would be amazing. Being able to race against real people would make the replay value infinite. We don’t know if this is even a possibility, but it would be something really cool added down the road. All single player games have a finite amount of playability, however online games can last forever. What is better than talking smack while competing against some friends?
Conclusion & Rating
There isn’t much more to say. This is just one hell of a game. It is a fresh take on an audio game genre that sorely needed it. This is a perfect game both for those who dislike rhythm games and for those who love them. That isn’t an easy balance to reach, but here it is done perfectly. Whether you are a rhythm nooby like Smoke, or someone who enjoys the genre like Hannibal this is a very enjoyable game. You have nothing to lose by picking up the demo…it’s free after all. After getting a feel for the demo, you’ll know if it is something you’ll want to purchase. For the price you can’t beat it. Both Smoke and Hannibal bought the game, and they have no regrets.
Smoke’s Score: 9.75 / 10
Hannibal’s Score: 9.5 / 10
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Competition Closed: The winner will be drawn on Monday September 16, 2019.
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