Release Date: March 21st, 2012
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture & Digital Reality
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: [Reviewed: XboxLive Arcade Exclusive]
Genre: Side Scroller Shoot em Up
Rated: M for Mature
Sine Mora is an Xboxlive arcade exclusive published by Microsoft Studios and co-developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and Digital Reality. It is a typical Side scroller shoot’em up game with a twist. And that twist is Time. Will time be on your side?
Ever play a side-scrolling shoot’em up arcade game with an actual story? Well in Sine Mora not only do you get to have fun blasting away the enemy, you also get an extremely detailed story. At the beginning you are introduced to a short tutorial that includes the story of two factions, Layil Empire and the rebel nation of Enkies, whom are at war. The story has a very adult feel to it as it is mostly about a father who is trying to avenge his son’s death, but also includes the attempted genocide of an entire race of people, and a woman who survive’s a rape. This however does not mean your younger sibling or child cannot also enjoy blowing up enemies. Despite the vary graphic language I never really noticed it the first time I played. The game is very high paced and you tend to over look a lot of things about the game. However I would suggest if you are sensitive to vulgar language or don’t want your child around it then either turn down the volume or simply don’t let them play.
The gameplay focuses on time rather then health. In essence time is your health. On the top center of your screen you will see your time allowing you to be constantly aware of exactly how much time you have left. The only down side… If that number hits zero you die. Don’t panic just yet time can be earned while you play through the different stages of the game. KILL KILL KILL. Killing gives you time. With every enemy you shoot down the more time you get, but this doesn’t mean you need to rush around aimlessly trying to kill every guy in sight. You also need to reach check points. These points ensure your ability to continue on without having to completely restart the game, ultimately causing you to lose all accumulated time. With this ability to earn time also comes the loss of time. Every time you get hit by an enemy you lose time, essentially losing health. In order to maintain and increase your time you are going to have to play a little more strategic than you may be use to.
Along with time comes the use of power ups and sub-weapons. Each plane has its own unique sub-weapon. These sub-weapons can be anything from a laser beam to missiles. But be warned these sub-weapons are limited so despite how cool they are you will have to refrain yourself from using them up too quick. After all you don’t know when a boss might jump out of the shadows. Keep your eyes open for power ups. These appear in the form of small round tokens that come in many different colors and look almost as if they are floating. They are dropped randomly from enemies after they are killed. And since you never know when you may get them you will want to try and get them all. These little provide you with some very useful stuff like more energy for time capsule, upgraded firepower, and extra ammo for you super awesome sub-weapon.
Just when you thought time couldn’t be more important! You will be introduced to your time capsule. Your time capsule is very important as it allows you to slow down time. You will want to try and collect and save as much of it as you can for those challenging boss stages. The reason I say this is because even though slowing down time would be useful while playing through the level it is a vital aspect to beating the bosses. The bosses, rather than shooting one or two shots at you, shot huge waves of ammunition and missiles and lasers. At normal speed it is next to impossible to dodge these incredible patterns of weaponry. My suggestion is to slow down time right when a wave of shots gets near you and as soon as you have safetly made your way through return time to its regular speed. Keep following this pattern all while blasting the boss away with your weapons. This allows you to avoid being hit; resulting in lost time, as well as saving your energy until the end of the boss battle. If you use it all up too early it will be next to impossible not to lose a large portion of your time via damage taken.
Sine Mora has beautiful graphics and the scenery is amazing. They also have some incredible music that was composed by legendary Sound Director Akira Yamaokabut; known for his work in Silent Hill and Shadows of the Damned. You will however find yourself over looking all this with the high paced gameplay. So I encourage you to take a second to truely enjoy and marvel at these things as they deserve credit for it.
You also have an option of game modes and difficult settings to choose from. First off there is the Standard story mode. This has two settings, normal and challenging. If you are new to this type of game then I would choose normal but for all you veterans out there who want a challenge then I’d select the “challenging” mode. Keep in mind before selecting your difficulty that Sine Mora is very old school in the respect that you only have so many continues before you are forced to re-start from the beginning. If you are not wanting to risk replaying over and over you may want to think twice about selecting “challenging”. The Arcade mode provides you with some competition via a leaderboard. This mode is a test for all you hardcore fans wanting to see your true awesomeness. And if you discover you aren’t as awesome as you thought and maybe you discovered you completely suck you can always try your hand at the “score attack” and “boss training” modes. These modes allow you to try and improve your leaderboard rank.
Overall there is nothing bad that can be said about this game. It has everything a good game needs and more. So if you love flying games, side scrollers, shooting the crap out of stuff, manipulating time, fast paced games and awesome weaponry then this game is for you. Sine Mora is available now on the xbox live marketplace for 1200MSP and is a pretty good deal if you ask me.
Replay Ability: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5