On a console that should have an inconsiderable amount of original shoot ’em ups, Sine Mora EX is a great addition to the platform. I myself am late to playing this game as always but that did not stop me from enjoying it. The price for a physical copy was perfect at Target but unfortunately for me I had already decided to purchase most of my games digitally. The digital price on the eShop was more than a copy of a game so I held off. Thankfully I’m part of an awesome review team that could obtain the code for me to play and talk about, thank you Two Beard Gaming! Let’s get on with this side-scrolling shooter.
Your name is Ronotra Koss and you have the ability to travel through time. This is a good time to mention your ability to slow down time during gameplay. Time is of high importance as it doubles as your health. Taking damage will deplete time while dishing it out will increase your time required to complete levels within. There is an entourage of people and names to mention but it was too deep for me to care to understand. My goal is to just shoot things and kill enemies right? I appreciate the sentiment of this game in trying to make a deep story but I really am only concerned about playing a shmup. Hold the L button to fast forward through text/visual sequences and get straight to business. Honestly I just don’t care about the story, let’s play.
The graphics are fanTASTIC! Maybe the only drawback to fast forwarding through all the malarkey in text is missing the very pleasing visuals. Screenshots won’t do them justice, it’s just an interesting addition to what is usually a very simple genre graphically. While in handheld mode I found myself holding my Switch close to my face, enjoying the 3D cutscenes of my plane circling bosses to gain a head-on approach. Introductions to bosses are epic, it shows the name of the boss and slows down gameplay for you to be intimidated. The end of each stage will give you scores and a final letter grade. If you’re free to use a television I would recommend trying docked mode as it exploits the spoils of what a great job the folks did at Digital Reality/Grasshopper Manufacture. Your plane soaring through the skies and inching eerily close to you, almost popping from the screen. Just a heads up you will lose track of your plane while being enticed by the fluidity of movement by the bosses and landscapes.
I deem Sine Mora EX worthy of being labelled a “bullet hell” game because it delivers with ferocity. Grip your controls tighter as your screen is filled with blue and red enemy death shots. Use your pilot’s special weapon like slow down, to endure seemingly impossible situations. Bullets will switch and twist then circle their way back to your plane. Difficulty can be chosen before starting an adventure but you can also decide on novice or advanced routes in-game. Power-ups are found by destroying enemies to give you points, time, better guns and more. It’s pretty forgiving in that once you get shot you will lose your increased shot, but you will have a chance to regain them as they scatter from your plane. That part is not as forgiving.
Replayability is relatively high:
- 4 difficulties
- 4 game modes
- 6 chapters
- 7 stages
- 50+ weapon combos
There were times I thought the game was a bit unfair because I could not nail down the hitbox on my plane, but sure enough I found the explanation in the main screen area. I appreciate that so much because it’s the first time I’ve seen it IN the video game. I once tweeted about my scepticism on another games hitboxes and luckily the developer tweeted me back with details about them. This was not the case as Sine Mora EX is happy to lay out the fine print without remorse. What a fantastic addition to the finer things in games.
Another detail I find not only intriguing but fascinating is how the game will allow you to turn the tables in direction. This is a left-to-right shooter. BUT there are times when it allows you to move from right-to-left. Take a moment to embrace this introduction to change. Taking charge of all angles of bullets is one thing, but flipping the script on flow of movement is a daring feat. They pulled it off well and it feels very natural I must say. I made audible gasps and reactionary sounds when this happened. Very pleased with the sudden change of pace.
Sine Mora EX is an incredible shoot ’em up game to add to your wish list. Great to pick up and play a level on your lunch break or practice on a particular boss with your feet up at home. It provides interesting 3D video sequences that keep your attention between gameplay chapters. I’m so used to games in this genre that aren’t using the most impressive graphics so this game was surprising and very enjoyable. I loved this game and would recommend that you pick it up.
Beard Score: 8/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Sep 26, 2017
No. of Players: 2 players simultaneous
Category: Shmup, Action
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Digital Reality / Grasshopper Manufacture