Game of the Week: Sequence

Rhythm fraction.

The creative and commercial health of the download gaming market has been a regular theme for this column - to be fair, that's usually in weeks when there's not much interesting in the shops. But the day when some App Store or Xbox Live Arcade game trounces a triple-A monster in our little weekly beauty pageant is surely not far off.

Not only is this week's physical media line-up rather unprepossessing, it's also physically absent from our offices, and therefore the website. Notably, I'd love to be able to tell you whether Kalypso's historical actioner The First Templar is any good, but it hasn't turned up.

Tolerant and flush 3DS owners after a pre-Ocarina time-killer might want to take a gamble on the novel and not entirely terrible Steel Diver. But Diablo addicts after their next methadone fix are advised to endure their cold sweats a little longer. Mythos too obviously betrays its mongrel heritage; Darkspore is better, but a curiously flat affair that underuses its best asset, the Spore creature creator. The forthcoming Dungeon Siege III and Torchlight II are better bets.

Otherwise, you'll be heading online for fresh bits to crunch. If the idea of being in Terry Gilliam's head while he has a good time on mushrooms and plays with some Meccano appeals, then try the irrepressibly surreal Cargo! The Quest for Gravity. If you would prefer to ruin your vision for life and have a gigantic "x1000" laser-scorched into the back of your skull, consider Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury.

Meanwhile, this week's Download Games Roundup found our indefatigable digital hero Kristan Reed (or "granddad", as we like to call him) in even more than usually nostalgic mood, invoking the spirits of Matthew Smith, Nodes of Yesod and some Amiga game nobody else can or would remember.

It's no surprise that veteran reviewers like Kristan feel at home in the download and mobile gaming scene, where dimensions come in twos, high scores matter, a 2.99 price tag makes you think twice - and diamonds can be found in the rough.

But it's download gaming's capacity to innovate, not to resemble 1985, that really sets it apart. And it was in the untamed wilds of Xbox Indie Games that we found the most interesting new game this week.

Sequence

It's not high art, or even rocket science - but that doesn't change the fact that some of gaming's best moments come simply from grafting two unexpected genres together and sending a jolt of electricity through them to reanimate the unlikely corpse. Step forward this week's Dr Frankenstein, Iridium Studios, and its delightful monster, the "rhythm RPG".

Sequence's launch trailer.

"Behold the ice cream pizza of the gaming world," Kristan wrote in our Sequence review. "Sequence is an outstanding effort. Not only does it outclass practically everything else on the Indie channel, there's nothing else quite like it out there. For two quid, this has to be the bargain of the year."

Of all the chaotic shanty towns of the download gaming gold rush, Xbox Indie Gamesville is probably the hardest to scratch a living in. Its founding fathers ran the railroad tracks to their shiny corporate arcades instead, the streets are thronged with rowdy snake oil salesmen hawking avatar games, and genuine talents like Radiangames get tossed out like drunks from a saloon bar fight.

But the effort and polish put into Sequence mark its creators out for big things. What's that sound? It's the chink of Iridium's spurs coming down main street, while everyone goes deathly quiet.

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