Back in 2012 (pre-Mayan apocalypse), a sexy dieselpunk style shooter named Sine Mora plastered itself across the PC, console, and Vita world. Ranking somewhere in the mid-80s on Metacritic, this game surprised many gamer veterans by being a whole hell of a lot of fun. Well, it’s 2013 and Sine Mora has officially been ported to mobile.
In Sine Mora, you play the pilot of a futuristic biplane who banks and rolls across industrial landscapes in a quest to destroy gigantic, mechanized abominations. While holding your finger solid on the trigger, your single goal is to keep up with the background as it scrolls inexorably forward whilst dodging bullets coming your way. Oh yea, and destroy everything you can. Fortunately for you, your ship has a shield. Unfortunately for you, it constantly runs out of power. In order to recharge your shield, you’ll need to kill things and race to checkpoints on the way to the next boss fight. The action in Sine Mora is frantic with bullets spinning and spiraling around the screen like the fourth of July on acid. In order to survive or (dare you be so brave) thrive, you’ll need tight reflexes and a steady finger. Sadly, no matter how tight and steady you try and be, this port is missing one critical component… a functional joystick.
Try as they may, action games on mobile that sport the infamous “d-pad” have a really rough time working as promised. Sine Mora requires precise timing and constant movement to dodge all the flying bullets, and the virtual d-pad it provides makes the game insanely frustrating. During my time play testing, it was rare to achieve any sort of smooth movement around the screen. Instead, I’d zip from spot to spot erratically hoping to somehow evade the incoming barrage. To top it off, at least once every few minutes my thumb would move outside of the pad’s range resulting in my ship freezing in place. Two seconds of idling results in a rather hasty demise.
A Sight To Behold
D-pad aside, Sine Mora is visually stunning and constantly challenging. Cut-scenes drive the story forward, propelling you right into the action. Picking up weapon upgrades and sub-weapons will give you an edge in combat, and if you’re lucky you can even screw with time itself. Any given scene goes a little something like this: Watch a short cut-scene, slaughter minions for a couple minutes in a free-for-all on your way to the boss, and then fight the boss himself. Bosses in this game are sights to behold; giant behemoths of riveted metal paneling brimming with turrets and rocket launchers.
Different game modes can be played in an attempt to add some degree of replayability. Story mode (the default) gives you all the action tied nicely together with the dialogue and cut-scenes while an alternative “arcade” mode removes the scenes and delivers a constant firefight. As you progress through the game, you’ll also unlock achievements that let you replay key boss battles to sharpen your skills. Beneath all of the game modes is a ranking system that grades and compares your performance against other players in the online leaderboards, so practice practice practice. If you care about leaderboards, that is.
With over 50 different weapon combos, gorgeous graphics, and intense combat, Sine Mora will keep you entertained over the course of 7 unique stages. Add the fact that the virtual d-pad will screw with your progress at every turn, and you’ve got a game that will definitely keep you busy. At $5.99 on the Play Store, this game is slightly higher than the vast majority of junk out there, but then again… it’s not junk. If you can forgive the erratic control scheme and have a device capable of running it smoothly, Sine Mora is well worth the money.