Time – it’s a thing that everyone wants just a few seconds or minutes more of in each day to play the extra match of CoD or Battlefield, or just enjoy that quiet moment. But time stands still for no man and in Sine Mora this is clearer than ever as it takes a fresh look at the 2D hell shooter format and adds a very interesting twist. So is Sine Mora a powered up combo hit or is it just a dot eater?
Sine Mora is developed by Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture exclusivity for Xbox LIVE costing 1200 Microsoft points and sees Theodore Reiker join forces with Suda 51 and anime director Mahiro Maeda, who has worked on anime movies like Neon Genesis Evangelion as a character designer.
Reiker credits Battle Garegga as the biggest influence on the game and that the anime Royal Space Force helped shape the storyline, while game play was influenced by Einhander and Progear, as well as games from studios like Raizing and Seibu Kaihatsu. So the development team had a good idea of what there were wanting from the start and the end product is one of the nicest looking and most fun arcade games I’ve ever played.
Sine Mora tells a very complex story, which is a real surprise for a 2D shooter. The story revolves around genocide and follows the tale of a group of animal pilots, but they are a bit more hardcore than your standard group of animal pilots (looking at you – Star fox) as they often drop the F bomb during conversations. The story does seem a bit long winded at times as before each mission there is a screen of text to read though as well as periods of in game talking after sections of gameplay. That being said, on the easiest difficulty the story mode will take you around 90mins to complete and difficulties above that taking five hours and over to work through, so there is a lot of game to be found in the story mode.
Once you have completed the story mode you unlock an alternative narration which you can go back through. The game also has Score attack modes as well as boss training where you can improve your performance and can try to better your score. The mode you’ll spend most of your time playing is arcade mode and this is where you seperate the boys from the men as Sine Mora ups it 20 gears and goes from a challenge to hard as nails, and will really test your skills and abilities. On top of this, the arcade mode is linked to the leader board system so you can see where you stand with the best in the world.
The first thing that strikes you when playing the game is just how good it looks. Although the game is a 2D shooter, it is rendered with full 3D backgrounds and this adds real depth to the look and feel of the game, especially when you are battling the games bosses. To defeat them you’ll find yourself having to destroy different areas on them to bring them down, which sees you flying around the huge enemy. This really gives the game a sense of scale. The games graphics are truly stunning and are a real standout feature with some of the nicest levels I’ve ever seen in a game, from underground factories to islands of the coast, no two levels look or feel the same.
Sine Mora features a really different twist on the standard 2D shooter gameplay style which really makes it standout in the crowd as instead of dying when you are hit and having to restart the level, Sine Mora uses time.
Stages must be completed before the timer counts down to zero and any time you have left on the clock is rewarded to you as a bonus. Time is added or taken away by destroying enemies or if you take damage. Suda 41 has called this “a unique time manipulation mechanic”. As well as the time mechanic, the game also features more standard shooter fare like a host of pickups to upgrade your planes fire rate, as well as the ability to slow time down which lets you dodge incoming bullets and attacks.
Sine Mora is a little too pricey at 1200 Microsoft points, but if you give the trial a go you’ll see just how good it is, not only in gameplay but in the way the game looks. A must for fans of 2D shooters and definitely worth a look if you’re looking for something a bit different from the normal with a great art style.