Before the Echo

Before the Echo

Very unique spin on an otherwise commonly used rhythm game mechanic.

Anyone who has played rhythm games is all too familiar with the standard mechanic of having 4 columns of arrows falling in tune with the music. Sequence manages to make a very strong tactical/multi-tasking game out of it by having 3 seperate grids. One grid is the mana grid, which you use to get mana to cast spells - it’s very common to miss lots of beats here in preference to landing beats on the other 2 grids. This is also where the beats primarily follow the song. Another grid is the defensive grid - beats that fall here and you don’t hit will reduce your HP until you hit 0 and lose. The other grid is the spell grid. At any time you have the mana for it, you can choose to cast a spell - the effects vary from dealing damage to the enemy, healing, lifestealing, hitting the enemy with damage over time, giving yourself a mana boost, boosting the strength of the next spell you cast. Each individual spell has its own beat combination that doesn’t change with the exception of inverting a few presses, left instead of right, etc, and also significant changes between difficulties. All these different spells are balanced by difficulty of input, how much blank space is there in between beats (to allow for swapping to other grids), as well as cooldown before you can cast that same spell again. Anything less than 100% on a spell input results in it failing, going on cooldown, and using up mana.

Real player with 21.8 hrs in game

Read More: Best Music RPG Games.

I received this game as part of one of the Humble Bundles, and I’m glad I did! I really enjoyed this game, and I would highly recommend it. :) I also think it is worth the $5 on Steam.

To give you a general idea of this game, it is similar to Step Mania only with an actual storyline. If you don’t know what Step Mania is, it’s basically DDR (dance dance revolution) for the PC. However, Sequence is kind of refreshing because it isn’t just arrows flying up the screen to music. In this game, you have three different sets of arrows that travel down the screen, and you have to switch between the sets. One is your defense, one is your attack/magic, and the other is your mana. This keeps things interesting and sometimes challenging (depending on the difficulty). Yes, you are battling enemies instead of “dancing” to music like you would in Step Mania.

Real player with 19.6 hrs in game

Before the Echo on Steam



Sentris is definitely worth looking into if you have any interest in creating music. It reminds me of my days playing with software such as FruityLoops, but puts its own unique spin on things. I’ve enjoyed playing through the provided songs and am starting to create my own unique setups (as well as attempting to emulate some more widely-known music too).

“What is Sentris in 2 Minutes?” Video:

Overall the game is a lot of fun, and quite a versatile tool once you get to grips with it. That said, there are a few features I would love to see implemented going forward. Primarily these are just additional expansions for added versatility when creating songs. It would be great to be able to select notes outside the standard scale that I choose, and to apply effects (such as reverb or echo) to specific instruments during remix.

Real player with 7.6 hrs in game

Read More: Best Music Colorful Games.

I played an early version of this game at PAX last year and could not get my head around it. I dropped blocks haphazardly in to a wheel, not understanding what I was supposed to be doing and not enjoying the sounds I was creating. I walked away feeling embarrassed that I had failed to ‘get’ Sentris.

The tutorial in the release version immediately got me on the right track and removed my doubts about this game. Within five minutes I was creating funky loops that went beyond the tunes the game was feeding me and I felt the thrill of composition that I know the designer was aiming to inspire. There is a real satisfaction in building loops layer by layer and it is especially cool to see how the sound evolves as later layers start to push earlier ones out of the loop. The way the progression of songs helps you learn what the game has to offer in terms of depth is almost perfectly executed, the only thing that I struggled a little to figure out was how to change octaves in freestyle mode (you have to climb or descend the scale to reach the octave you want to play in).

Real player with 5.0 hrs in game

Sentris on Steam

The Ballad Singer

The Ballad Singer

As much as I would like to recommend this game, I just can’t. I could say that it has beautiful graphics, is fully voiced, has an intricate story with 4 characters, who sometimes cross with each other, has nice soundtrack and several QoL features, like ability to double the speed of narrator’s voice to speed up the game.

But all of this gets completely ruined by absolutely unfair death mechanic and BS choices. At the beginning of the game you’re warned that you will die here, a lot, that’s why developers created fate system. You have limited amount of fate points, every time your character dies you can either continue the game as other character or restart your last choice. Both of these options consume 1 fate point. Ok, so you decided to create a game that revolves around constant danger and death traps, fine. Surely, you will spend extra time making these deaths logical, so only if player actually made a mistake they would die, right? No. Most of choices in the game that lead to your death are absolutely random and, unless you already know which one is the right one, you will die not because you’ve made a mistake, but because you drew a short stick. Here are few examples, technically spoilers:

! I am an “elf” in the middle of the forest who needs to get to the cabin in the distance and sees two roads: a big, stone one or small, trodden one. She has to pick one. I chose small, trodden one. Game then tells me that I spend some time walking on that road and noticed that it leads in completely other direction from the cabin and that day is closing to the night. Now I’m faced with another choice - continue on this road, or go back and choose other road. I, thinking that this new piece of information is game hinting me that I chose wrong, choose to go back and pick the big road. And I died. Because apparently there’s some shitty death trap on the big road. How was I supposed to know that? There were no hints, there was actually a fake hint that made me choose the wrong road.. Another example -

! I am a mage and am currently fighting a giant water elemental. She (yes, she has gender) creates a water wave and I need to defend myself. There are three options: make a tornado, create stone wall or create a flame shield around me. Now, the last one is obviously a bad desision as I’m fighting a water elemental who, surely, can easily fight fire (also, earlier in the game, we already used another water elemental to fight fire elemental, so it’s logical even in game). This would be a logical death choice. Developers could choose other two choices as “right” ones - they will allow you to continue the fight, but give different texts or future options, because the fight would progress differently. That would be cool. But no. Only one of these choices is correct - tornado. Why? Why the fuck should I pick tornado, except by random? I picked the stone wall, because surely, the stone wall can stop water wave. No, you died, fool. And, despite me playing only for two hours, the game gave me tons of such choices already. They, aside from making the player angry, completely ruin the immersion. No, you’re not a mage trying master the elements, you’re an idiot, sitting before your PC and who was unlucky to pick the wrong choice, so now you have to reload and make the “correct” one and it’s correct because developer said so. A death should be a result of either one very dumb and obviously wrong decision, or a series of bad decisions with hints that you’re doing everything wrong. Not what we have here.

Real player with 15.9 hrs in game

Read More: Best Music Hand-drawn Games.

If you came here with one thumb on your lighter, ready to lose yourself in some heart-wrenching ballads, I’m afraid I’ve got bad news for you. I didn’t encounter my first ballad until at least 3 or 4 hours in, and it was pretty underwhelming when it finally arrived.

Yeah, their choice of titles doesn’t make a lot of sense, and neither do most of the other choices in this game.

Well, I can’t say I wasn’t warned. They always told me not to judge a book by its cover, and that’s exactly what I did. Can you blame me, though? On the surface it looks great. It’s got that Extremely Fantasy, D&D manual sort of vibe. Everywhere you look you find fierce monsters and sharpened blades, towering dragons, fireball-hurling wizards and pots of stew consumed in shady inns full of adventures just waiting to happen.

Real player with 7.8 hrs in game

The Ballad Singer on Steam

Hidden Animals: English - Spanish

Hidden Animals: English - Spanish

A nice game as such, but containing unforgivable mistakes in the vocabulary that it’s supposed to teach you, and badly optimised in my opinion.

I bought this game for my 9 year old daughter, who likes hidden object games and is quite good in them - but there aren’t that many suitable for children, so I was happy to find this one. Since we are neither English nor Spanish native speakers, I was prepared to translate for her and the game wasn’t meant as an educational tool, but she learns English in school, so I hoped she would also pick up a few animal names while playing. But very early she got frustrated by the fact, that it seemed simply impossible to get three golden stars and thus uncover more pieces of the bonus puzzle, no matter how quick she was or how hard she tried (I tried to help with that and didn’t succeed either) - so she stopped playing because it was driving her to tears, and I bought her Hidden Animals Photo Hunt instead to make up for this disappointment.

Real player with 7.3 hrs in game

Hey, want to have a good game? Check this indie out! :)

In Hidden Animals you will learn animal names too, while finding them - I don’t even know why they don’t teach languages like this; awesome idea. Speaking of awesomeness I liked the music so much, that I just had to stop at the main menu, just to listen. Nice pictures, user-friendly design. I also liked that it was a good fun my daughter as well: she likes animals and stages can be completed in minutes.

Real player with 4.8 hrs in game

Hidden Animals: English - Spanish on Steam