Sine Mora is developed by Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture and based in a Diesel Punk world. The game is based in a 2D/3D world that is under threat from Ronotra Koss who is going to destroy the world through mass genocide. He’s kidnapped a young girl who is of great importance and you need to stop him before he destroys everything.
As you progress in true shoot ‘em up style you will need to fight your way through waves of enemies to reach your goal. You will also have to fight your way through several varied boss fights, which consists of dodging endless amounts of projectiles to reach your goal. You may encounter the same boss several times, but this game offers a channel for new or experienced players. There are a few different mechanics, which add to the experience, but they might not be necessary for veteran players.
The music and audio are very well balanced and suited to the game’s setting. There is always an upbeat fast paced theme set around boss fights, where as there are subtle tracks based around the progression and levels. The general sound effects you heard throughout the game don’t stand out too much so the sounds of your gunfire don’t distract you over the music and explosions. The audio track is extremely well done, far more arcade titles should follow suite and learn from games like Sine Mora.
The visuals are an interesting mix of 2D and 3D elements, which give an interesting depth to the level design. Everything you do is based around a 2D design; where as the levels and enemies/interactions are 3D. There are very few shoot ‘em ups, which use this sort of style, but it’s quite refreshing to see something different for a genre that’s been around for so long. The world that you experience is very well crafted and has a very interesting and unique visual style. There are very few games that dig into the world of diesel punk but more should. All the enemies are and boss fights are very well suited to the genre and add more depth to the world being believable.
Everything is very clear, crisp and high-resolution. You don’t run into any issues with frame rates, screen tearing or any slow down which. So everything you see is always in real-time and fluid. With the amount of stuff that’s going on at any given time this game runs extremely well and offers and engrossing experience for all.
The writing for the game is done very well. But it’s quite hard to grasp what’s going on as you progress. Each chapter is broken up with an introduction sequence, which is spoken in Hungarian. This is of no surprise as Digital Reality is a Hungarian based studio. Though this can be a distraction id adds to the world as it makes you feel like you’re looking in to an unknown world, that’s unless you speak Hungarian.
Though the story is based around survival and stopping a mass genocide. This may not seem clear to start with as if you skip the cut-scenes to experience the action, you will miss a lot of the story. The in-game dialog doesn’t really hint and what’s going on, just your objectives and the sense that other characters are working with you at the same time.
If the story was broken up into a few short cut-scenes with the option for an English dub of the game’s story would shine, but it does take a few attempts to work out what’s going on.
Just like any shoot ‘em up you have two very basic but affect mechanics, avoid projectiles and shoot. Sine Mora has a rather large variety of upgrades, planes, characters and a few extra additions that I’ve not seen in other shoot ‘em ups. You’re graded on everything you do, but you’re also graded on time as an addition to your performance. At the end of each stage you’re rewarded with unlocks based on you scores, which is a nice bonus but it means you have to get very comfortable with the game to do well.
You have a range of extra abilities, which you can use for a limited time, but these can be replenished through picking up the various floating upgrades. If you’re new to the shoot ‘em up scene then this title may offer something a little different to what you would find out there on the market. It gives you two difficulties, normal for the new players and insane for the experienced that love the genre. I’m not much of a shoot ‘em up game player, but even on normal I found the game to be most enjoyable. After changing the difficulty I then realized how punishing the game can be if you’re not an experienced player.
As you would expect from a game like this, your objective is simple, get through the waves of enemies, defeat the boss and learn the patterns to become a more experienced player.
If you’re looking for something slightly different to play, then this may be the game for you. Its price may seem a little steep but it’s well worth the money and there is a lot on offer. The game may punish you to start with until you get over the rather steep learning curve between normal and insane, but once you master everything the game is extremely rewarding.
This shoot ‘em up may seem a little slow-paced for the more advanced players, but the overall package created is well worth the time if you’re really into the genre.