Review – Sine Mora EX
Side-scrolling shooter Sine Mora first hit the Xbox 360 way back in 2012, then made its way to the PS3 the following year. A critical success, the game never received a sequel but it’s now spawned a remaster that hit PC, PS4 and Xbox One this week: Sine Mora EX.
Like the original release, Sine Mora EX is a departure for the traditional ‘bullet hell’ style of games in which gamers must avoid being overwhelmed by intricate patterns from by dozens of enemy bullets on screen at any given time. Where most shooters of this ilk task the player with hoarding shield energy, Sine Mora uses a time-based mechanic wherein levels are allotted a set amount of time to complete them and being hit drains time away, while killing enemies adds more to the clock.
There’s also a score multiplier to worry about – kill enemies using the primary gun and it’ll climb, but using the secondary weapon or a time-slowing special ability resets the bonus. Enemies will also drop points to collect, as well as power ups like temporary shields, additional time, or an upgrade to the primary gun – an upgrade that will drop from the ship should it take damage. This simple mechanic turns every bit of damage taken into a panicked attempt to gather up rapidly-scattering weapon powerups before they disappear.
The story behind Sine Mora EX is still nearly indecipherable, partly due to the way it takes part from two perspectives and partly because it’s out there – mixing a revenge tale in with a rebellion story. The dialog is well-written – and well delivered by a vocal cast with some variety to it – but it’s hard to keep track of a story during all the chaos.
Fortunately, the game carries on past the end of the campaign, with Arcade and Challenge modes to keep gamers entertained. Boss fights offer up a fistful of unique contraptions to blow apart, and there’s always higher difficulty levels to try and master. The remaster also provides local co-op play in the campaign for two players, a nice addition for those seeking some longevity out of the game.