Before anything else, I think it won’t be too bold admitting that Sine Mora EX is the game which makes me love side-scrolling shoot’em ups. And hereupon, you will witness how that happened.
Sine Mora EX is a side-scrolling shoot’em up that set in a unique and challenging world in which time is a great deal. And, to be honest, the time factor is just one of those things which makes this game great.
Sine Mora EX is developed by Digital Reality, Grasshopper Manufacture and Gyroscope Games and published by THQ Nordic. It is not hard to image what kind of game it is when these names are involved. But, while reviewing a game, names does not matter. What matters is the experience beyond anything else.
The game is out for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. It is a side scrolling shoot ’em up in which we control an airplane while mayhem is going on on the screen. While Sine Mora was out in 2012 as a ‘bullet hell’, Sine Mora EX is now out as an extended version of the previous one.
Sine Mora, if you are too lazy to look it up, means ‘without delay’ in Latin. It is not clear that if they mean the game does not delay or if you must not delay while playing it, it is clear that both of them are crucially important for your experience.
You want a story? Here, take it!
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a deep story from Sine Mora EX. So, you can imagine me when I found out that the game indeed offers a great story. While playing Sine Mora EX, we witness two pilots running at different points in time. The first story puts us in the shoes of a father who is burning up with revenge since his son was murdered by the Empire as a result of refusing to drop a nuclear bomb on the Enkies during an attack.
The second story, shows us the side of the Enkies, actually the last surviving Enkies who are plotting a revenge on the Empire, also. Thanks to the great prophet Enki, we are able to use the talent of manipulating time. But, how we got this power as a dead son’s father, is where the story gets deep. Yes, yes. You will not find any spoilers in here, but with no doubt, Sine Mora EX offers a great, deep, emotional and complex story based on revenge and love. And, a great plot twist!
Shmup? Sure, bring it on!
Along with being a stainless side-scrolling shoot’em up title, Sine Mora EX also offers “classic shooter sensibilities with contemporary presentation”. At the very beginning, you will be welcomed by a screen which is offering you these modes: Story, Arcade, Score Attack (for experienced players), Challenge and Versus. The game also offers local multiplayer and local co-op along with single-player.
One of the most impressive add-ons to the game is the factor of time manipulating. Enkies’ time manipulating skills ensure a great gameplay experience and a different point of view to the genre. Oh, how I love it when they add something brand new to something so familiar. This action has the power of changing everything and creating a brand new experience.
Time, in Sine Mora EX, works differently. I say that with the estimation of you all know how time works for us. While playing Sine Mora EX, you gain time if you hit your enemy. You are rewarded with extra time if you can smash one of the parts of your enemies. And, if you don’t have enough time, you will start again from your last save point. Somehow, this time thing does not put a burden on your shoulders. On the contrary, it is fun to play with time.
‘Kill to earn time’ is maybe the downside for you, but it is not the only feature. With just a left mouse click, you can slow time. Your ship will work the same, but the enemy and their shiny laser bullets will get slower. Using this feature will also provide you a beautiful sight and an opportunity to take screenshots since it is no easy thing to take one when there are waves of enemies and bullets on the screen.
You may need to get used to the idea that there is no health bar in Sine Mora EX. Instead, the time will decide your fate.
A pleasure to the eye!
Okay, we need to stop here for a minute and take some time to absorb the incoming information. If you are familiar with The Animatrix – The Second Renaissance, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 or Blue Submarine No. 6, you will remember the name Mahiro Maeda.
Mahiro Maeda is the anime creator behind all these great works and thanks to him, we are now able to kill beautifully designed bosses. I believe, each one of them was one of the most beautiful things I have laid my eyes on for a long time. Killing each of them was a unique pleasure. Every stage has two bosses which will not disappoint you at all since each is a work of art and your screen will liven up with amazing cinematics.
Along with that, the backgrounds may remind you the works of Hayao Miyazaki who is a brilliant talent which will never be forgotten. It is so bright and calming back there, while the war is so furious and fast on the front. 2D and 3D elements are dancing while holding hands, and it is not a bit disturbing. Enemies to the east, enemies to the west, enemies to the south and enemies to the north, but the north remembers? No? Okay, but this is exactly what is going on while playing Sine Mora EX. Thanks to 2D and 3D rendering, the movements of our ship and enemies ships look impressive.
Look mom, one hand!
Well, it is obvious that controlling our ship is easier than controlling a bike. Controls of Sine Mora EX will cause you no troubles. With just your mouse or your controller, you will be able to unleash hell.
Maneuvers of the ship are smooth as silk. The controls are not lagging behind and very responsive. This is very important since the gameplay is fast and furious. If it is too fast, there is always the option of you slowing the time. If you got the bar filled of course. Nothing is cheap in this cruel world.
It gets easier moving through the gaps between the bullets if you slow the time. By killing enemies, you will be rewarded with little shinny items like tokens which will increase your fire power, money, shield, etc. And, every time you get hit, your fire power will decrease and leave you as tokens. But, do not worry. It is a high possibility that they will find a way back to you. Bouncing here and there. It is important that when you reach the boss you have increased fire power since they are not like common enemies and can even open fire from their asses. Yes.
Soundtracks, voice acting and sounds are always in a harmony with the gameplay. Again, we must thank some great people who are doing great jobs. The music of the game composed by Akira Yamaoka, Sound Director of Silent Hill and Shadows of the Damned.
Fire it up, let the engines burn!
Sine Mora EX’s weapon system is also a great deal. With power-ups you collect during the game, your weaponry will change. After you collect ten weapon upgrade, the feature which was temporary will be permanent.
The sub-weapon deals great damage on enemies, yet it is not limitless. So, you may want to keep it safe and hidden until you face the boss. The sub-weapon changes into a vast laser beam or a large number of mines or a huge explosion.
While playing Sine Mora EX, I encountered no bugs. Yet, I forgot how the time passed. Even if you can slow the time while playing the game, you can not slow it down in real life. So make sure you don’t get lost in the game or your cat may get angry since you forgot to feed it.
Sine Mora EX is a great way to kill time and also a great way to take revenge on some good-looking bosses. The artwork, the music, the fast-paced gameplay and the satisfaction will provide you a splendid gaming experience. If you like what you read and saw, you can go ahead and visit Sine Mora EX’s Steam page by visiting here.
- Deep and twisted story with a plot twist
- Mouth-watering visual, glorious art design
- Offers Native 4k at 60 FPS
- Great music by Akira Yamaoka, great sounds & voice acting
- Great boss designs by Mahiro Maeda
- Enjoyful time manipulating mechanism
- Smooth controls
- Bullet mayhem it is!
- Sometimes gets so hard it hurts
Sine Mora EX was reviewed using a Steam key provided by the publisher.