Sine Mora. What the hell did I just play? Framing what amounts to no more then a seeing eye test of bright lights, flashing lasers, and more moving excuses to buy a new controller around a story about time travel and one father's desperate fight to save the life of his son, Sine Mora is like a sentient headache you can't put down, constantly pulling you back in with it's slick graphics and short form style.
I am not going to attempt to accurately recount the story beats of Sine Mora. Suffice it to say, and you can pick this all up on the six black screens with white text that the game provides between chapters, Rontra Koss, flying buffalo, is like Liam Neeson levels of pissed at the death of his son. I can understand that, being a father myself. Going back in time... somehow, he blackmails a Cheetara equivalent into helping him program an air terminator into reversing the fortunes of his son, while also carrying out vengeance on the guy responsible... for a death that hasn't happened if he stops it. Wait, what? Oh Yeah, LASERS!
And sweet mother of Mergatroid are there lasers. Lasers, and rockets, and death beams, and worms that shoot green explodey things. Picture it this way. If you were the pilot of a plane, and could think of ten things that you would not like rushing at you while you were flying, much less trying to shoot things, the developers of Sine Mora, would throw those ten things at you, at once, in waves, that repeat, so that you can try to slide through the needle thin holes, and shoot whatever is shooting you.
Thankfully, those same developers felt compelled to give you a time slower down thing (not as cool as a Flux capacitor, but then I doubt they thought of it while hanging a clock over a toilet, right?) that slows down time for a few seconds. The hope is that it is long enough to give you an edge in some of the harder encounters. I can tell you that it's not. There is also no “health” in the game, per say, but a time mechanic which clocks each encounter. Beat it within the time, and you're cool, but each hit you take, whether by laser or ocean floor (grrrr) takes time off the clock. This becomes especially important in the games Arcade mode, where replays come with different penalty and time constraints, because you just didn't have enough to worry about.
So in summation: Fly, shoot, dodge, shoot, dodge, shoo-dodge, dodge, dodge, dodge, shoot.
Considering the backgrounds are made of lasers, and the foregrounds are made of lasers, and everything is trying to kill you all at the same time, Sine Mora is really nice looking. It gets really good marks on being bright and almost cheerful while shooting you with neon colored death. Not once did I run into any slow down or frame rate chugging, even when the screen was simply decimated by a laser light show that would drive anyone that hasn't been playing video games for years into a coma where they would still continue to see the lights.
I kid though the above paragraphs, but there is a lot of truth there. Sine Mora is a quality title, from the look to the feel of it, and there could be a lot of useful comparisons between it and other members of the bullet hell genre. I am not qualified to make them. I played this game in a bubble, and while it only lasted, for at most, an hour and half for a beginning to end playthrough, I could easily see what the developers were going for, how well they achieved their goals, and just how much time would need to be poured into this game to even be comfortable with what the heck was going on.
All that aside, I had a good time with it, and will keep it installed on my PS3 for the foreseeable future, for just those occasions that I need to be reminded that games outside of my comfort zone can be fun too.
If you want a real serious, good review of what this game has to offer, check out Allen's vita review here. Otherwise, know that it is worth every single one of the ten dollars this is asking for. If you have the chance to pick it up, even if you have virtually no interest in a shoot'em up, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice by not doing it.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!