Grasshopper Manufacture and Digital Reality’s Sine Mora is the tale of fuzzy woodland creatures (with all of the dialogue in Hungarian, mind you) taking flight in aircraft to save their world from a murderous evil empire. Sounds like TaleSpin, only better, right? It is. Sine Mora is a bullet hell shmup with an interesting time-control mechanis that makes it stand out from the rapidly-expanding 2D shooter pack, and is one of the more refreshing genre entries.
The typical bullet hell shmup sees players getting absolutely obliterated by enemy firepower before they have an opportunity to learn attack patterns. Not here. Sine Mora is kind enough to let players slow down time as they see fit. Want to charge into enemy fire, slow things down, shift through the fray and come out, guns a-blazing? Absolutely no problem at all! It’s like playing a NES or SNES game that has life-saving slowdown, only this time you control exactly when it happens. Players also tote sub-weapons and an ability that lets them goes back in time to checkpoints, Braid-style. There are over 60 weapon and time device combinations.
Instead of having a lifebar or hit points, players are kept alive via a timer in the top-center of the screen. The catch is that while the timer counts down (as timers are known to do), taking on hits from enemies will deduct small, but extra cumulative chunks of time from the central timer. Take on enough hits or take too long to complete your mission and you’ll score a Time Over. Unlike fighting games though, there is no judgement victory, only death. The bright side though is that for every enemy killed, players can recover more sweet precious time.
In the event that you can’t destroy enough aircraft and machinery to offset the amount of times you’ve flown head on into enemy fire, don’t worry, you will re-appear at checkpoints with your timer fully replenished. And should you die at the hands of a level’s boss, you can go up against said boss in the game’s training mode. That’s right, Sine Mora is a shoot ‘em up with a training mode. This game just wants you to succeed at every chance.
Sine Mora is kind enough to let players slow down time as they see fit….It’s like playing a NES or SNES game that has life-saving slowdown, only this time you control exactly when it happens.
While Sine Mora is a fast paced action game, there’s a fair amount of drama to enjoy in the game’s back story and cutscenes. However, some may not want to combine dodging pretty colored bullets, shooting many aircraft, and high drama. For those of you who just want to shoot stuff, you can skip the cutscenes by pressing the left bumper. If that sounds like a mundane feature to you, let me remind our readers that we live in a day and age where half of the games we play come with mandatory cutscenes. The music was composed by Akira Yamaoka, who is best known for his work on the Silent Hill series — which makes sense given the game’s dramatic and tense tracks in the middle of combat.
So, there you have it. Sine Mora–a good game, through and through–mixes bullets and time manipulation. It’s available right now for only 1200 MS points, so go slow down time and take out a whole screen full of planes. You’ll be glad that you did.