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Sine Mora Review

By James Gilmour, on July 19, 2013
Last modified 9 months, 1 week ago


Sine Mora
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Unique time-based energy system.
  • Ingenious, multi-tiered boss battles.
  • Breathtakingly gorgeous.

CONS

  • Virtual stick controls are a bit iffy.

VERDICT

Though this version of Sine Mora stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the excellent console original in almost every regard, the virtual stick control system lets the port down a little. 


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Sine Mora is a game about time. In this beautiful bullet-hell blaster - just like in real life - it's a commodity you never seem to have enough of. As you guide your futuristic aircraft through the near constant barrage of neon bullet-sprays, you'll find yourself glancing not at an energy bar, but at a timer.

Every time you get shot in Sine Mora, valuable seconds are deducted from the clock. Let the timer reach zero, and it's game over. The only way to win time back is by destroying enemies - something you're going to be doing a lot of if you want to survive.

It's this tense balancing act which makes Sine Mora such a breath of fresh air. You're always under pressure to move in and attack in the hope of extending the countdown, forcing you to walk a knife's edge between tactical restraint and gung-ho recklessness. Factor in the varied enemies, the stunning 3D landscapes, and some truly-imaginative multi-tiered boss battles, and you're looking at one of the best shoot-'em-ups in recent memory.

There is a slight drawback, however. You see, Sine Mora was originally released on Xbox Live back in 2012. Spend a few seconds with the iOS version, and its console heritage becomes pretty obvious.

Rather than opt for a one-to-one touch-and-drag system, the studio handling the port has chosen to give us a virtual thumbstick. While this system works, and stays true to the feel and physics of the original game, it's difficult to achieve the pinpoint precision the game demands without a joypad. Though we were able to complete the game on the standard difficulty setting, we felt at a real disadvantage while tacking the harder modes.

That said, we still enjoyed the heck out of Sine Mora. Provided you're willing to adapt to the virtual stick, and don't mind the game's letterboxed widescreen format, you'll find Sina Mora a thrilling and innovative example of the bullet-hell genre. We just wish the controls were as refined as those pristine visuals.

Screenshots

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Comments

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nko_terato 7 months, 1 week ago

Amazing graphics. The background is superb! Gameplay and also nice. Good job

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istako 9 months ago

I really don't like Sine Mora, there is something about the presentation of the game which makes me despise it. As a shooter it offers really awesome takes on the genre and indeed - the levels and bosses are awesome, as is the time=health twist. But, for starters - why is the game entirely voiced in a made-up language? It would have been better if it was just in English - the subs are in English, why not the entire game? Ok, we get it, you took your time to make up a language, but you know what? No one cares and for me - it's annoying, especially when you give a thought for a second to the fact that the game INSISTS on pushing it's uninspired, washed-out and just plain boring story, which also is impossible to follow from the get-go. And also - I think games like this, on a touch screen with a virtual pad, are impossible to play. I have this on the Vita and there it's ok, but on the touchscreen it's just horrid. But I agree with the 4/5 score, it is a pretty fun shooter while it's not talking and it has an actual pad for you to play it with. I'd recommend to the studio to not try so hard next time.

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Bytebrain 9 months ago

First off, it's not a "made up language", it's Hungarian.
I find the story well above par for most games in the genre.

Reading the forum n toucharcade.com, they've submitted an update to Apple with relative touch controls, which solves what was my only real problem with the game.

Lots if other improvements in the update too.
I hope it gets approved soon.