Developer: THQ Nordic

Publisher: THQ Nordic

Release Date: 10/10/2017

Price as of Article: $29,99 £24,99

Story

Sine Mora Ex has a very dark story and touches on themes such as War, loss of parents and blackmail amongst others. It’s at times really difficult to follow due to the time travel aspect and it flipping from one part to another. One side of the story focuses on a father who is on a mission of revenge to avenge the death of his son.  It really feels at odds with the gameplay here but it was good to actually have a really adult theme. It will take you a few playthroughs to connect everything going on. I was not captured by it.

Audio

The Audio in this game is decent enough but I found it to be a little sad sounding and whilst I understand it’s supposed to reflect the story with its tone again it didn’t really seem to fit the style of the game. If you have watched or read any of my reviews before you will know music is really important in my reviews.

Music can really help elevate a gaming experience as well as hinder it. While I would not go as far as saying the music hinders the experience it does not propel it to new heights either. For something which is fast and frantic like this, I would expect the music to match and it doesn’t. On a brighter note, the sound effects are all really rather good and the bosses certainly sound scary.

Visuals

The visuals here are in fact stunning with their steampunk setting, they are bight and colourful. The barrage of bullet hell bullets coming at you look great but are of course deadly. Each shot is accompanied by fantastic lighting effects. The ships are drawn wonderfully and the backgrounds look detailed. What really impressed me was how smooth this game ran in both handheld and in docked mode. The bosses are gigantic and take up most of the screen. I have to say they were an absolute highlight in design from the first ship you encounter to the incredible looking spider boss. Each has their lit up weaknesses you have to aim for and take down.

The bosses were designed by Mahiro Maeda who is an absolute legend when it comes to anything Anime. Animations are absolute pure quality here. The bosses are hard and are exactly what you would come to expect.

Gameplay

The main mode here is the story mode, This is slightly different from other shoot em ups in where your enemy is time. Get hit by a bullet and you lose time. Lose too much time and its game over.  You have to do your best to dodge the bullets so you don’t lose too much time. It’s great the developer tried something a little different here but I am more traditional and would have preferred a health bar.Sine Mora is a 6-year-old game but here we have some new modes added which just don’t add that much to the original experience.

You have the Co-op feature where one of you can control the movement of the ship and the other the guns. You have a boss training mode which pits you against bosses so you can refine your skills and a versus mode which is for 2 players to fight each other which I think was probably the worst of the new modes. Furthermore a score attack mode and of course a range of difficulty options. One of my main gripes with this game is a number of times you get interrupted and the transitions when reaching a boss to fight. It’s imperative with a game like this that the flow is continuous and not interrupted but design choices the developer has made every few minutes.

It felt like just as I was getting into a flow the game would stop to a standstill to fire some story at me or to introduce a boss and it just didn’t work.

It’s all very stop-start in the main story mode and while Arcade mode is slightly better it does not eliminate the issue I have with it entirely. Some of my favourite shoot em ups of all time like R-type, Gradius and Don Pachi kept me entertained because of the constant nonstop action. There is a fast forward for those like me who cannot stand to be interrupted in Arcade shooters like this but even then it’s rather annoying and like the story itself doesn’t fit this type of game.

value

Here is where I have the biggest issue with this game. When it first came to the switch it was priced at £29, 99 and now £24,99 which is still too expensive. You can pick up a physical version for around £20 if you shop around.

Even so, you can pick this game up on a PS4 for around £12 so you have to decide whether the portability is the most important aspect if you own one of the other consoles. I still think the original game is just as good as this one. The developer has added some modes which for me are very hit and miss.