Over the last five years, I’ve reviewed a number of shoot-em up’s and time and time again I’d reference back to the 2012 hit Sine Mora as a fantastic balance of presentation and gameplay.
Now in all it’s glory, Sine Mora returns for the latest generation of consoles with Sine Mora EX, releasing on Xbox One and PS4, with the PS4 Pro getting sharp 4k gameplay at 60 fps.
Sine More (Latin for Without Delay) is the combination of two separate stories, about the empire killing off a race known as Enkies.
One story line you play as the last remaining Enkie as the Empire are trying to wipe them out, and the second, you control a father hell-bent on revenge against the empire for mudering his son who refused to drop a nuke on the Enkies.
The two storylines play parallel, but are in different time-frames, so visiting the same area will often mean the place looks considerably different. This does leave a little confusion between the ever changing character switching, but the core gameplay of shooting everything in sight certainly makes up for it.
AS a true bullet-hell shooter, Sine Mora (EX) will often leave the screen packed with orange and blue projectiles, anyone who’s played a similar title will know there’s a lot of skill and rhythm required when dodging countless waves of enemy fire, but Sine Mora gives you a time mechanic where you hold the right trigger to momentarily slow down time to help evade the incoming fire.
Easier difficulties mean less fire and it feels like slow-motion is always at your disposal, but crank the difficulty up and you’ll find yourself having to carefully manage your powers.
Getting hit isn’t always the end of the world, but you’ll have to scoot around to pick up any weapon power-up’s you’ve collected if you want to take the challenge to the numerous well made and giant bosses.
As you’ll see from the screenshots, Sine Mora doesn’t just rely on the gameplay to impress, the graphics are among the best I’ve seen for a side-scrolling shooter, and the 3D transitions between sections, around boss battles and flipping from air to sea mean the game looks and feels far more advanced than the 2 dimensional shooter at it’s core.
Little details from dust filling the air as your bullets hit the ground, enemy ships moving from the background into the foreground and bright, colourful and well drawn graphics throughout, there’s very little to complain about.
Audio is almost as impressive especially with the inclusion on English language rather than the Hungarian found in the original, this makes the storyline that little easier to follow, and while there’s some text to read between levels, the majority of chatter in game is narrated, so you can spend more time concentrating
Sine Mora offers a selection of modes that will keep you busy long after the story, and unlike many games, it’s one story I’d happily play through for a third time, let alone a second, and Arcade offers a wide range of sections from straight forward battles to challenges that make Ikaruga feel like a childrens game, there’s also time attack, boss battles and versus mode which means SHMUP fans will find more than enough here to make the purchase more than worthwhile.
Those who spent plenty of time with the original release 5 years ago, should still find there money’s worth, even if only for returning in the current gen, but anyone who missed out on the original, can’t call themselves a shmup fan if they don’t go out and get Sine Mora EX.
Bottom Line :
Sine Mora EX is one of the most complete, attractive and enjoyable shmup games ever made, while remaining accessible and fun for newcomers it’s still full of challenges for even the most experienced gamers.
Gameplay : 9.0
Graphics : 9.5
Sound : 8.5
Story : 8.5
Value : 8.5
Overall : 8.8 / 10