Sine Mora Ex is a horizontal side scrolling shooter game, which fits comfortably into the category of shoot-em-up. Digital Reality has co-developed this Switch version with Grasshopper Manufacture. Whilst gamers may have already experienced this on pc, join me for this Sine Mora Ex Nintendo Switch review.

The Switch version brings true portability to the gaming experience. Follow my review and find all about this time travelling steampunk inspired shoot-em-up.

Review Side Quest

What’s the BEST arcade style shoot-em-up you have ever played?

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How does Sine Mora Ex play?

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The scrolling and shooting aspect of the game feels like its straight out of the arcade era of Neo-Geo cabinets that brought many shoot-em-ups to the arcade and home computing experience of the 80’s. There are several levels of difficulty that allow the tailoring of the game to suit different audiences and I found the standard campaign to be somewhat challenging.

I never got better than a D rating!

After shooting your way through waves and waves of enemies you’re informed that “Time is stabilising” and your timer stops and you get an active cut scene where the horizontal scrolling switches to a 3d style view. I particularly liked this feature, whilst it felt a bit like parts of the Matrix movie it did give me slight rest from the hectic shooting action.

Sometimes it’s to show you all of the terrain or target you’re attacking and other times it’s to grant you an early glimpse of a boss your about to encounter.

Spend your time wisely…

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Collecting and upgrading your craft is key to success, destroyed enemies drop resources that also upgrading of your weapons.

This gives more fire power, higher fire rating and wider dispersal of weapons. A secondary weapon type can be used as an almost ‘Defender-like’ smart bomb to clear the approximate area around you if needed. The main weapon secondary to your continuous stream of brightly coloured balls of death is the use of time.

By using up some of your time bar power you can slow down time to grant you advantages over your enemies; You can use it to avoid the hail of enemy bullets or to allow yourself to kill them quicker.

Time to unleash to dots of war…

One of the over aspects of Sine Mora Ex that I should mention is that the game fits into the shoot-em-up sub-genre of ‘Bullet-Hell’!

By this I mean you should expect to have a lot of enemies bullets / projectiles to dodge! There wasn’t quite the quantity / intensity of bullets that produced a headache or required an epilepsy warning, but the screen did flash a lot.

Fortunately, your craft is small and it’s got a particularly kind hit box so its relatively easy to dodge a screen-full of bullets.

Boss fights are something that are regular and they usually trigger the onset of ‘bullet-hell’. I will talk about boss fights later as there one part of the game I really liked.

Presentation and Graphics

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As I discussed earlier the graphical look of the game follows a Sci-fi and steampunk crossover theme. Your craft is typically a mix of old style plane with sci-fi weapons. The game itself graphically looks nice and each level has different backgrounds, enemies and themes.

I particularly liked the under water level where your craft becomes a submersible and you must avoid proximity mines and enemy’s submarines. The character voice acting and story follows the really nicely presented theme of military, cyber, steam punk, sci-fi.

In TV mode the game looks best and it also plays very well in handheld undocked mode. My only complaint with undocked mode is that the screen being beings smaller often felt over crowded by the “bullet-hell” and I found I had to strain my eyes more.

Sine Mora Ex is one of those games that looks really nice to watch someone play. If it was in the arcade it would have people crowded around the machine. Saying that there’s nothing graphically wrong with it. I saw no graphical slowdowns, glitches or artifact problems, I was granted a visual feast! On the occasion I wondered if the game could be put in demo mode, maybe I was thinking too much about my days in the arcades of the 80’s.

The soundtrack to the game really got me in sync with action, it’s composed by Akira Yamaoka who has previously gained acclaim for Silent Hill game sound scores. The soundtrack fits the game really well.

Main Features

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Sine Mora Ex has the standard story mode which includes the updated english voice acting dialogue and the original Danish from the PC version. The story follows the constant eb and flow of time where one faction tries to right the wrongs they committed during atrocities of world war. Story mode allows restarting from your current furthest progress and selection of each completed stage.

The Arcade mode (which is aimed at more experienced gamers) allows selection and customisation of your plane and the choice of pilot and their specific sub weapon. I liked this mode as it allowed tailoring of different playing style based on the combinations. During playing these modes

I often found the whole ‘Time’ element drawing my attention away from my enemies and at the same time increasing the tension of the experience. If you get it all wrong and run out of time, your craft is destroyed and the message “Your time has passed” pops up. Like most shoot-em-ups you can add credits to continue in the style of the old arcade days.

The other part of the game that features heavily are boss fights. I was really surprised how often these happened. Roughly twice a level this occurs and each boss has different mechanics, different styles of fighting and required different tactics. I liked the spider boss who fires a web shaped ‘Bullet-hell’ at you leaving tiny gaps to avoid being hit.

In Game Achievements

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Gamers who regularly play on other current gen consoles will have noticed that the Nintendo Switch does have achievements. However, Sine Mora Ex has in game achievement for the gamer who likes to be rewarded that bit extra for pushing themselves. This is a bit of harmless fun and focuses around the enhancement of military ranking for the players characters.

Story mode allows a second player to join in and help out ‘Player One’, you don’t get your own craft though! Resources being a bit tight in the military grants you with a small pod that looks a cross between a pile of junk and small asteroid!

It has one bonus it has 360-degree field of fire, as it operates strictly as a support unit it has no special abilities and explodes for each cutscene, only to immediately respawn afterwards! It most importantly allows cooperative play which I really enjoyed in the story mode, but be warned you fight together and die together, so don’t become a bullet magnet!

Additional features

Additional game modes that are included in Sine Mora Ex are the ‘Score Attack’ mode. This allows replaying of previously completed levels with the main goal being to complete as fast possible with the usual Time reduction mechanic. ‘Challenge Mode’ focusses on more specific encounters that you will have completed in the Story Mode with a slightly different theme.

I liked this mode as it provided an opportunity to pick up and play the game for a short time instead of committing to the story line progress.

The other feature is the ‘multiplayer mode’ or ‘versus’ mode. With use of an additional controller you and a friend get to play specific mini games which either focus on controller rotational combat platforms, races and a resource protection game.

Boss Training mode is basically what it says, you can replay any boss you’ve beaten and practice and train against them. It’s fun for a while, but I felt it lacked the progress enjoyment of getting to boss and beating them that the story mode had.

Should you play Sine Mora Ex?

Have you played to version that was on the PC or other consoles before it was brought to the Nintendo Switch? If the answer is yes, then you may want to stick with those versions and save your money.

If you want a version that you can take on the bus or train with you then this version would find a good place in your games collection. I enjoyed playing this game and have played similar games on the Nintendo Switch. If you also like a game that you can pick up and play on the sofa without a big commitment, then this will fit you well.

Gamers who should…

Enjoy this game will be those who enjoy challenging side scrolling shoot-em-up – bullet hell games. If you want a couch co-op fun game then this will tick the boxes.

Gamers who probably shouldn’t…

Consider this game are those who dislike the genre of side scrolling shoot-em-ups. Stay well clear if you don’t like that genre of game.

Similar games…

Lovers in Dangerous Space-time shares the shooter genre with a really good multiplayer supporting 4 players.

The Good The Bad The Bugs
Shoot ’em up gameplay is great Voice acting Occasional freezing
Tailoring of difficulties Cut scenes
Time mechanic is great

About This Sine Mora Ex review

Game Reviewed: Sine Mora Ex digital download, provided by publisher
Review Format: Nintendo Switch
PEGI Rating: 16

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