Playing “Sine Mora,” I did a lot of dodging two-second bullet patterns before blowing off part of some kind of boss Megazord before pseudo-cutscening around to another of its limbs. The arcade and score attack modes have you doing pretty much the same thing, but they’re way way harder, which is cool. Completing one of these stages skillfully (all S+ Rank, all the time) mostly requires you to know when to flex your muscles; if you string out your time-slowing juice and your mega-attack ammo far enough, you can just bunch up and charge through all the scariest bullet patterns. It’s not an easy game, but you don’t quite have to be a genius.
Playing the game gives me the feeling that Regular Reviews are probably freaking out about how good The Graphics are, though I’m just gonna say that, yeah, it looks good enough for me. Some of the bosses look hilarious enough. I like the creaky, lurching airship things in the first level. The underground train thing is pretty alright. The cave segment with the worms looks dull and plays dull. My favorite part of the game - maybe not visually - is the spiral maze near the end, that has you navigate it while it rotates on its axis. It’s a strange little puzzle.
The story is just pretentious enough to be funny, the graphics are just great enough to be pretty good, and the rules of the game are just complex enough to be engaging; if there’s anything that makes “Sine Mora” really remarkable, it’s its eccentric pedigree. The guys that made it are a team of Hungarian RTS experts, Grasshopper Manufacture’s Goichi “Punk’s Not Dead” Suda (of “Killer 7” most famously and “Shadows of the Damned” most recently) is listed as a producer, and the guy who scored “Silent Hill” did the soundtrack, maybe. If you’re the kind of guy that knows those names, that’s a pretty weird group!
Even if you don’t know those names, “Sine Mora” is nice and chewy, and you can sense that there is a strange handful of creative minds at work even if you go in cold. I’ve played some better shooters than “Sine Mora,” but I’ve played a hell of a lot of worse videogames, too.
3 stars out of 4
Ben Hornsby wonders whether he’s tough enough to handle Deathsmiles.