Sine Mora Ex (XBOXONE)

smenxgI quite like the occasional bullet hell shoot-em-up. Flying around, blasting everything in sight and dodge trillions of bullets along the way… I’m pretty bad at it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it. I keep going, ‘cause practice makes perfect!
Case in point: Sine Mora Ex. I’m blasting away and dodging plasma bolts, grinning from ear to ear!

Sine Mora Ex was previously released sans the Ex in the title. This remake not only looks better, but also adds extra story content… to a story that frankly left me scratching my head for the most time. Between each of the 7 levels a piece of the story is told from one of the characters’ point of view. Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t follow any of it. Here’s what I did get:
Planet Seol is torn by a war between the Layil Empire and the Atarach Kingdom of the Enkie race. As the war escalates, the Empire decides to nuke the Enkies. One bomber pilot, Argus Pytel, refuses to drop his nuke and is executed on the spot by his crewmates. I get to play as Enkie resistance fighters or as Ronotra Koss, Argus’ father. All want, unsurprisingly, revenge against the Empire.

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While this basic plot seems simple, different intrigues and intercrossing timelines just make this a confusing mess. I quickly give up trying to make sense of it and rather concentrate on blasting and watching the awesome graphics.

Because this game is seriously good-looking! Backgrounds are like paintings, enemies are superbly designed and the different playable planes are just the coolest. Add to that an awesome soundtrack and I’m good for a few hours. The different difficulty levels just beg for a replay and once finished with that, you can co-op the game once again with a friend or tackle the arcade mode.

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But not only the visuals make Sine Mora Ex a nice addition to the shmup genre. The game mechanic is a breath of fresh air as well. For once I’m not bound to a damage meter that makes my plane explode once it reaches zero. Time is the deciding factor in Sine Mora. Every part of a level has a time limit. Every time I get hit, time counts down faster and once the timer reaches zero: boom. Fortunately, I can rewind time using special powerups.

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A brilliant shooter. Shame the storyline needs a Wikipedia page of its own to be understood…

Jan

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