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The Sequence [2] – tricky machine-building puzzler

Developer: Maxim Urusov
Price: $2/£2
Size: 134 MB
Version: 1.0.3
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Get The Sequence [2]

The Sequence 2 might look and play like an abstract puzzler, with its arcane symbols and arbitrary rulesets. But when it clicks and whirs into full operation, it feels surprisingly grounded in the real world.

Ultimately, The Sequence 2 has you building machines. Weird-looking machines that don’t seem to serve any purpose other than to carry stuff from one point to another, but machines nonetheless.

Standard blocks and push or pull

In fact, not only are you slotting into place the physical gears and conveyor belts of these machines, you’re also programming them at the same time.

The idea is to transport a series of discs from their spawn point to the labeled docking bay(s). To do this, you must slot various transport mechanisms into the hexagon-based grids that constitute each level.

You can preview moves step-by-step

You start off with simple push blocks, which shunt the disc around in a single direction of your choosing. Soon, you’ll get the option to reverse their operation and pull the disc (and eventually each other) into position. Rotators join the fray, enabling you to carry the disc around in a circular motion.

All of these blocks do their thing in numerical sequence according to the order in which you lay them down, though these can be edited after the fact. Eventually, you’ll be given the ability program two phases of action for each movement block. By this point, your brain should really be starting to hurt.

There are often multiple possible solutions

While it goes out of its way to ease you into its systems, The Sequence 2 is not an easy game to play. Its controls are messy, and its tutorial screens aren’t always particularly clear or helpful. It could really use a line or two of descriptive text here and there.

You won’t be picking up and playing The Sequence 2 for a brief minute or two here and there like many top iOS puzzlers. Not only is it rather tricky to grasp, but its levels can take some time to play – especially the more elaborate ones. As we’ve mentioned, you’re essentially building little machines here, and that involves a fair amount of forethought and/or trial and error, not to mention careful construction.

The option to program a second layer of sequences is where the fun really starts

Before long, much of your time will be spent previewing the initial stages of a potential solution, editing on the fly before jumping back in to take a look at the effects of your changes. It almost feels like editing a video at times.

This is not a game that will ease your aching brain with invitingly bright or attractive visuals, though. There’s the faint whiff of early era App Store to its presentation, with cluttered symbols and a somewhat ugly black textured background. The spacy electronica soundtrack is very pleasant, though.

The Sequence 2 is not the easiest game to get your head around, then. But for those looking to really dig into deep problem-solving challenges, it could be ideal. If you can set your mind to learning its particular way of doing things, you’ll find an abstract puzzler of uncommon depth and surprising physicality.