Sine Mora is a steampunk side scrolling shooter where time manipulating is its chief gameplay mechanic. This shoot ‘em up for Xbox Live Arcade game was developed by Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture. Published by Microsoft Game Studios. If you never heard of Grasshopper think No More Heroes or Shadows of the Damned. There upcoming game is Lollipop Chainsaw.
Sine Mora maybe more contained in its delivery compared to many of Grasshopper’s games, but make no mistake, this game is good. Growing up during the arcade generation you couldn’t help but play side scrolling shooters. Now Sine Mora is a tad bit different and I’ll get into the reasons why in a bit. 1200 Microsoft points or $15 US dollars can nab you Sine Mora. The game is out now if you’re wondering.
I played Sine Mora’s demo via my Xbox 360 (obviously). The main title page had the following menus, Play Trial, Unlock Full Game, Leaderboards, Achievements, Help & Options and Exit Game. Under Play Trial you had sub-menus of Play Game, Story, Arcade, Score Attack and Boss Training. You can only play the Story mode in the demo. Its good to see this game has so many gamemodes which ultimately equates to good replay value. The default button layout via the Xbox 360 gamepad: LS-move, D-pad-move, A-primary weapon, B-sub-weapon, Start-pause and RT-time capsule. Controls are tight throughout the fast paced slo-mo frenetic action of Sine Mora. The game can be difficult but its fair and never cheap thanks to the controls and gameplay design.
Upon starting the game I witnessed a cutscene with full Japanese voiced dialog explaining the protagonist time manipulation ability and a battle that was about to be fought. I don’t know Japanese per say, they had English text on the screen as the voice narrator did his thing. The Steampunk inspired visuals of the floating fortresses and small planes immediately stood out against the lush cloudy sky and sea. The colors “pop” in this game, not to mention the game runs smooth as warm butter. I didn’t get much of the story. Every character had a odd name and looked like a alien or weird cross-breed animal. The team the protagonist is on is called Cobalt King. The story doesn’t seem like much of anything. The gameplay is where the fun begins and Sine Mora doesn’t dissapoint in this department.
You start Sine Mora flying your little time manipulation steampunk plane in a tutorial. You learn how to do the basics like move and use your primary and secondary weapons. Enemies range from all types and move in different but predictable attack patterns. The camera zooms in or out depending on where the game takes you. The camera can and will rotate when fighting bosses which is really cool. Power-ups come in different colored orbs and can replenish ammo, shields and upgrade your primary weapon. I played Sine Mora normally but used the time manipulation gameplay aspect when i got in trouble (when cornered and a million projectiles flying my way). The gameplay and controls never stuttered when in slo-mo and its easy to dodge and take out enemies.
The bosses are huge in Sine Mora. They can take up half the screen in a platform-like state. Bosses also have (well some have) Greek Mythology names like Scylla. The good thing is that you do get to fight a few bosses in the demo. I fought a boss that had different tiers with cannons and missiles shooting at me. The camera would zoom around the giant rigset in the sea to shoot more angles. You basically have to shoot whatever is shooting at you on the bosses. If a gun shoots you, you shoot it back etc. I also fought a long train boss in the cave. Knowing where to shoot bosses in Sine Mora is easy. Beating them is a different story.
Sine Mora’s demo catapulted me into a few unique settings where shooting badguys became visually stunning. You start out over the sea with clear blue skies and sunny. Next you make your way underwater, yes under water. All of the settings not only featured a rich diverse setting but also different types of enemies and bosses to interact with. You then make you way to the cave section where you shoot giant worms that borrow out of the cave. Sine Mora has a really solid presentation. The gameplay was addicting, challenging and imaginative. The settings and enemies kept the gameplay fresh and weapon upgrades are scarce but useful. I can’t say much about the story and characters since they weren’t a focus in the demo.
Sine Mora’s demo is what it is. It showed me a beautiful side scrolling and addicting shooter with time manipulation gameplay. I really enjoyed the steampunk vibe, gameplay and challenge of this Xbox Live Arcade shooter. This type of games are old school and shouldn’t be missed by young and old gamers. Thanks for reading.