Format: PC(reviewed), PS3, Vita
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Developer: Digital Reality
ESRB Rating: M
Sine Mora is a new indie shooter that blends old school side scrolling shoot 'em ups mechanics with some cool time manipulation innovations. With the recent PC release, it was the perfect time to get my hands on it.
Story, Presentation, and Core Gameplay:
A strong narrative in a shoot em up has never been expected, but Sine Mora breaks the trend of hollow characters and uninvolved stories in old school shmups. This has to be one of the most convoluted tales I've seen this year, a story of revenge and wars that never end. You'll be following a man that seeks revenge for his son who was shot for not carrying out his military duties. The story will constantly jump from this storyline to another, where you'll follow a group of a partisans who wants to overthrow the empire that enslaved their people. Its surprisingly engaging throughout the game's lengthy Story mode, its always a nice surprise to find a great story wrapped around a game that puts it's emphasis on gameplay. The game features a lot of in game text and dialogue that help progress the story. The dialogue is spoken in Hungarian, there is no English in the game's story( besides the subtitles), and its very intriguing that the developers went the route of not localizing it for other territories. Once it's all said and done, the game will have you thinking about the complex tale well beyond your playthrough. The game is gorgeous, some of the best 2D art out there to date. With a ton of vibrant and lush colors to observe, your HD sets will be popping with effervescent environments. Every aspect of the game's graphics is incredibly sharp, the many character models are all impressively detailed as well. Even though the game is played on a 2D plane, the game utilizes it's 3D engine by periodically sweeping the camera in and around mountains and plains. This effect only makes the game better, and further highlights the impressive visuals the game sports. The music is wonderful, composed by Akira Yamaoka, it has a lot of dark tones in it, it can really be eerie at times.
The gameplay, while still being a standard shoot 'em up, puts a lot of focus on the time mechanics. The time ticking down at the top of your screen acts as your health bar, but since its always counting down, the challenge is even greater when you take bullets. You can't die by one stray bullet in Sine Mora, if you take hits, more time gets knocked off your timer. As you might have presumed, if the clock hits zero, you die. The game is definitely tough, if you aren't great at shoot em' ups, you'll be restarting quite a bit. When you go on the offensive and starting shooting enemies, time will be added back to your clock. Being passive and dodgy is not a good strategy in Sine Mora, since time is always winding down, being aggressive gives you the best chance of completing a level. The boss battles are nothing short of epic, large bosses will fill the screen as you fire an endless number of bullets at 'em. If you want something different, the game has an Arcade and a Score Attack mode to help appease the veterans of shmups. Arcade mode being the toughest, only giving you 15 seconds and starting you at the beginning each time, only the best players will seek refuge in this mode. The game plays well, each pilot has their own weapons and special weapons, as well as their own special abilities. The game will feel very familiar to any fan of shmups.
Sine Mora is great shoot em up, and with some cool new time mechanics, it makes an old genre feel new and reinvigorated. Its just a plus that the game features some breathtaking visuals and a great soundtrack. Sine Mora is another terrific indie game, and an even better shmup.
S&S Rating: 8.5/10