- This article is about the video game. For the meta-award, see Sine Mora (meta-award).
Sine Mora (シネモラ, Shine Mora) is a shoot 'em up video game developed by Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture for Xbox Live Arcade. The game was published on March 21, 2012 for the price of $14.99. Sine Mora supports stereoscopic 3D and was initially slated for a PlayStation Network release as well, before Xbox 360 exclusivity was announced on December 8, 2011. Ports were later released to Steam on November 9, 2012, then PlayStation 3 and Vita on November 20, 2012 in North America and the following day in Europe.
Joining the game's design team was anime director Mahiro Maeda, whose credits also include character designs for Neon Genesis Evangelion, a franchise Grasshopper worked into a video game adaptation in 2011. Director Theodore Reiker noted that between the two studios, Sine Mora "on a personal level is about the various bonds between people – families and friendship."
Sine Mora is set on the world of Seol, a planet that is ruled by the Layil Empire. The Empire, while large and prosperous, is also relentless in its enslavement and extermination of the Enkie race. The story focuses on two groups who rebel against the Empire separately and for different purposes, with both stories eventually converging. One group is led by Ronotra Koss, who seeks vengeance for the execution of his son at the hands of Empire officials; the other is a phantom cell of Enkie rebels led by Akyta Dryad. Both groups are pursued by Argus Pytel, a high-ranking agent of the Empire. As many characters are Enkies and therefore capable of time travel, the story hops back and forth between timelines and from past to future and back again.
Stages in Sine Mora must be completed before a timer counts to zero. Remaining time upon clearing a level is rewarded with bonus points. Time is added or deducted for vanquishing enemies or taking damage, contributing to what SUDA51 calls a "unique time-manipulation mechanic." Players must shoot their path through the many foes they encounter, and the game contains six additional, alternate weapons, including a large beam and seeker missiles. Players are also given the ability to slow down time. Powerups are said to replenish ammunition and the player's ability to slow time; red orbs can also increase the player's rate of fire, number of beams launched, and even the spread of the player's gunfire, however these orbs are lost when the player takes damage. 13 bosses are fought in Sine Mora, and are described as much like platform game bosses, in that "there is a weak spot, a trick, certain logic for the fight and almost always multiple phases in the combat," with continuous dissection, as opposed to standard shoot 'em up bosses where "all you need to do is to shoot the boss and avoid the curtain of fire it is sending at your way. Survive several changing patterns, and it's done." Sine Mora allegedly contains "60 combinations of planes, characters and time-manipulation devices."
The easiest difficulty of Sine Mora is said to be a 90-minute playthrough, while the higher difficulties may last in upwards of five hours. An "alternative narration" is unlocked upon the game's completion. Unlocking all achievements in the game is said take up to 50 hours of gameplay. Sine Mora will not receive downloadable content.
Digital Reality creative director Theodore Reiker formed the basis of Sine Mora four years before the game was developed, beginning with the idea of a title with steampunk art direction. Reiker hoped to build the concept into a video game with the help of a Japanese studio. Some time later, through a mutual friend Reiker was able to contact Grasshopper Manufacture to relay his ideas, however Grasshopper was well into the development of Shadows of the DAMNED; nevertheless, the studio spoke of an interest in working on smaller titles in the future. Reiker pitched his shoot 'em up to Grasshopper and Digital Reality CEO András Peller, both of whom agreed to sign onto the project. Reiker promptly assembled a team of 10 Digital Reality staff and worked on the game independent from the rest of the studio, spending 14 months developing Sine Mora.
Reiker cites Battle Garegga as the biggest influence on Sine Mora. The anime Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise helped shape the storyline, while gameplay was influenced by Einhänder and Progear, as well as video games by studios Raizing and Seibu Kaihatsu. Reiker originally planned for a gloomy theme in the vein of the film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, while Grasshopper proposed a darker concept Reiker compares to the video game Truxton; the final product of Sine Mora represents a compromise between Digital Reality and Grasshopper's own ideas.
Originally developed for Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade, Sine Mora was soon slated to appear on PlayStation Vita, later confirmed to extend to PlayStation 3 as well. This version added a new character named Wilhelmine Muller, a character pulled from the G.rev video game Under Defeat, in addition to a "new special weapon and new chronomes" and a new "Challenge Mode," judging players on evasion, aim, time management, weapon handling and gunner usage. Two weeks before the game's PlayStation Network launch, Sine Mora also surfaced for Microsoft Windows through Steam.
Sine Mora will be release on the iOS and Android in the month of July. A company named Pocket Scientists is handling the port.
A demo of Sine Mora first appeared at gamescom 2011. This was made playable the following week at Penny Arcade Expo Prime 2011; the first 50 players who completed the demo at this event were awarded T-shirts labelled "tempus fugit," a Latin phrase meaning "time flies." A Facebook page for Sine Mora has also been established to promote the game; every Monday a new "concept versus reality" photo shows the similarities between concept art of Sine Mora and the way the same scene is actually rendered, while each Thursday a new character is revealed. Currently unveiled are the characters Argus Pytel, Ronotra Koss, Myryan Magusa, Akyta Dryad, GARAI 74/22876, Durak and Lynthe Ytoo, and the war machines Bokumono, Kolobok, Matouschka, Smogger, Tsuchigumo and Merenstein VI. Shortly before the game's release, a contest was held on Facebook where the person who guessed the game's launch date would win a free copy. The game's soundtrack, composed by Akira Yamaoka, was teased one month before the game launched.
Jim Sterling of Destructoid commented on the game's demo that, "Sine Mora is on track to be a fantastically fun downloadable shooter. The graphics are terrific, there's a silly story at play and the bullet-Hell action is fast-paced and surprisingly varied. In my one demo session, I fought giant skytanks, went underwater, and shot at big worms in a subterranean cave. With three planes to choose and plenty of levels with shifting scenery, I can't wait to try out the full game."
- Sine Mora Coming March 21. IGN. February 23, 2012.
- Sine Mora to cost 1200 MS points – new trailer. Johnny Cullen. VG247. February 28, 2012.
- Suda 51 announces Sine Mora, a new XBLA/PSN shooter featuring "unique time manipulation". Tyler Wilde. GamesRadar. August 18, 2010.
- PlayXBLA Exclusive: Sine Mora!. PlayXBLA. December 8, 2011.
- Sine Mora coming to PS3 as well. JC Fletcher. Joystiq. June 21, 2012.
- Sine Mora takes flight on PS Vita 'soon'. David Hinkle. Joystiq. June 4, 2012.
- Evangelion designer getting bossy on Sine Mora. Hiroko Yamamura. Destructoid. January 31, 2012.
- Sine Mora Exclusive Developer Interview. Ian Fisher. Shogun Gamer. February 1, 2012.
- Hands on with Sine Mora. Jim Sterling. Destructoid. August 27, 2011.
- PAX Prime 2011: Hands-On with Digital Reality’s Sine Mora. Tabitha Wang. GGSGamer. August 30, 2011.
- Sine Mora: Play the Definitive Version on PS3 and PS Vita Today. Ferenc Nagy-Szakáll. PlayStation.Blog. November 20, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. August 24, 2011.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. January 5, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. January 12, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. January 19, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. January 26, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. February 2, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. February 9, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. February 16, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. February 20, 2012.
- Sine Mora Facebook page. February 28, 2012.