by Andrew Hallam
previewed on PC
Digital Reality brought us games such as Platoon, War Front: Turning Point and were also the people behind Imperium Galactica. But after the lacklustre Field Ops, the company seemed to be going in a different direction, developing games for iPhone and steering away from hardcore gaming. We had begun to fear the worst but things are about to change as the company readies not one but three new arcade titles: SkyDrift, Sine Mora and Black Knight Sword. It would seem that Digital Reality is working on a strong comeback. Can they? I'd say the odds are just about right...
Of the three titles, the most promising looks to be Sine Mora. Digital Reality aims to take arcade games back to their roots by making Sine Mora a true old school shoot-em up. Set in a rather steam-punky universe, Sine Mora sports a unique take on this classic genre, adding time manipulation as one of its core gameplay mechanics. Sounds intriguing, right?
It's Only A Matter Of Time...
Sine Mora revolves around time, a fact already hidden in its title. The literal translation from Latin of these two words is “Without Delay”. The game is host to two gameplay modes, Story and Arcade and in each you are presented with a timer that constantly counts down from 30 seconds. The game’s simple yet ingenious aim is to destroy waves upon waves of enemies to gather points and - you guessed – each point adds to your available time. Each kill means more time to slaughter a rich assortment of bi-planes and steam powered octopus-tank-things and while easier enemies will gain you only a little time, harder to kill ones can up the time dramatically. It is really a simple formula which should work great for encouraging new players to mash the fire button while still being rewarding enough to keep hardcore players interested. It's a win-win!
While scoring points to remain in the fight a while longer isn’t a new mechanic within the shoot-em up genre, the idea of time manipulation is. As you work your way through the throngs of enemies blocking your path, you build up power which can be used to unleash some rather interesting powers. Reminiscent of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, you'll be able to pause and reverse time. Better still, you can even use time to throw enemy attacks right back at them. I will admit that it sounds a little strange and it is difficult to explain, but let me assure you that it surprisingly well in-game and forces you to re-think your usual strategy playing similar arcade games.
To add to the game’s appeal, the art design is absolutely something special. Digital Reality have spared no expense in making Sine Mora a truly beautiful game, straying away from the greys and browns most of its peers seem to be so fond of. Instead, it offers a vibrant colour palette of greens, purples, oranges and blues that matches surprisingly well with the overall steampunk design of characters and locations throughout the game.
It's So Mora-ish
On top of the cute yet dazzling visuals, Sine Mora is a pure arcade title at heart that just oozes fun and can't help but stick out from the crowd. It’s a great ‘pick up and play’ game that couples time manipulation with fun, simple to learn yet challenging gameplay and is sure to be a hit with hardcore gamers and newbies alike. With 7 unique levels, each with their own set of sub levels, there should be a lot to keep fans occupied for weeks.