Generally favorable reviews - based on 61 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 61
  2. Negative: 0 out of 61
  1. Mar 20, 2012
    Sine Mora is one of the best shoot 'em ups I've played in a long time. It not only sets the bar for XBLA shooters in general, but visually, it sets the bar for the whole marketplace.
  2. Mar 20, 2012
    Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture have created an absolute revolution in contemporary game design that proves beautiful, original things can still be done beyond the realm of first- and third-person shooters. It's just as brave and elegant as Journey, while being as accessible and fun as a cherished Irem classic. Even if you think this game isn't for you based on genre, Sine Mora may unexpectedly surprise and delight you.
  3. Mar 21, 2012
    With over 60 different weapons and time manipulation combinations, a great score and look and some cool new gameplay elements, Sine Mora is a shoot 'em up that cannot be overlooked by any fan of the genre.
  4. Mar 27, 2012
    A rare shoot 'em up that successfully draws in the entire spectrum of players, and it's hard to get too frustrated with the frequent deaths you'll suffer in arcade mode when it's all wrapped breathtaking in a presentation that swings effortlessly from 2D to 3D perspectives. Above all, it's simply fun.
  5. Mar 21, 2012
    Grasshopper Manfacture and Suda 51 have dropped a true gem onto Xbox Live, and it's one that is well worth your time and money.
  6. Mar 21, 2012
    Sine Mora is exactly what the genre needed, a game that balances fun with skill and challenge, and doesn't alienate the general gaming audience for the most nice of audiences. The developers at Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture put together a game that really strikes the right mix and will hopefully usher in a new era for the shmup genre.
  7. Hyper Magazine
    May 14, 2012
    A sublimely clever, well-designed, borderline impossible shooter. It will utterly consume you if you let it. [June 2012, p.71]
  8. May 9, 2012
    Grasshopper Manufacture prove once again they are the cream of the crop in making the extraordinary visuals. Only this time they add fantastic gameplay, which means this game is a masterpiece that is going to absorb you completely.
  9. Apr 27, 2012
    Sine Mora is one of the best games in the genre.
  10. Apr 6, 2012
    I'm usually not a huge fan of games like Sine Mora, but this one is really amazing. While it is a little pricy at $15, especially considering its length, I think that it is certainly worth the money. The story is also shockingly poignant, the graphics are beautiful, and the gameplay is challenging but precise and fun. Most importantly, it makes an intimidating genre open for new comers
  11. Mar 30, 2012
    Don't let the colorful graphics fool you though, Sine Mora is a shmup for the hardcore and is a unique entry into the fading genre.
  12. Mar 30, 2012
    No matter if you just miss the old days or if you are wondering why shoot´em´ups were a big thing back in then: Sine Mora is the way to go.
  13. 90
    Sine Mora is a brilliant shooter that doesn't burst immediately into life. But once you pick up the ways in which it tests you, dicks you around, and emasculates you, it'll be one of the best abusive relationships you've ever been in.
  14. Mar 29, 2012
    Sine Mora meets all the expectations. Right now it's the best and prettiest shoot'em up on current-gen consoles. It's an artisticly amazing game - looks great and has a fitting soundtrack by Akira Yamaoka. I hope that the whole genre will draw from this game. It establishes new standards.
  15. Mar 29, 2012
    Sine Mora has a complex story with a ton of options that make for an interesting experience. Things like time manipulation, power-ups and a lot of different weapons ensure for a broad game with a lot to offer.
  16. Mar 28, 2012
    A great game, and a must have for shmup fans.
  17. Mar 26, 2012
    There's little to nothing to really fault the game for, so shooting fans are highly encouraged to pick up Sine Mora on Xbox Live Arcade for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15).
  18. Mar 23, 2012
    Sine Mora has something for pretty much anyone interested in shoot-em-ups. Whether you're new to the genre or a seasoned veteran, there's a lot to love, and for its price, it's hard to turn it down. If you're at all interested in the genre or action games as a whole, there's no reason not to check out Sine Mora.
  19. Mar 21, 2012
    Overall, Sine Mora is a game that is accessible enough that newcomers need not be scared away, yet deep and challenging enough that long time veterans of the genre will not feel short changed, it is not an easy balance to get right, especially with this type of game, yet Grasshopper and Digital Reality have done just that. Simply stunning.
  20. Mar 21, 2012
    Sine Mora's unique time mechanic serves a dual purpose. It gives less dedicated players a chance to enjoy one of the industry's more vibrant genres while simultaneously giving hardcore players a new spin on an age-old formula. I heartily recommend it to either group without delay.
  21. Mar 21, 2012
    It tweaks the recipe just enough to create an uncommon shooter. The visuals set a new standard for the genre, providing sights heretofore unseen in an arcade shoot 'em up.
  22. Mar 21, 2012
    When it comes to quality Sine Mora has practically zero peers this generation. If you've been craving a true modern classic since the days of Gradius V and R-Type Final then Grasshopper Manufacture and Digital Reality have provided the best possible reason we can imagine to return.
  23. Mar 21, 2012
    Visually engaging and packing enough variety to see you through to the end and beyond. Proof that, in right hands, classic side-scrolling shooters are far from dead.
  24. Mar 20, 2012
    At 1200 Microsoft Points, this isn't a particularly cheap experience, but for those devotees who will spend months, even years, forcing every last twitch and dodge into their muscle memory, it's money well spent. Clearly not one for casual players, this is a heartfelt love letter to one of gaming's thoroughbred genres and one that fans of the right temperament should experience without delay.
  25. Apr 24, 2012
    Quotation forthcoming.
  26. Mar 21, 2012
    This is one of the best games for Xbox Live Arcade. A fantastic shoot 'em up and a tribute to the old school games.
  27. Mar 21, 2012
    Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture managed to port the old school genre of side-scrolling shooters into the modern age of videogames. Sine Mora is definitely worth downloading, not just for genre fans, but also gamers new to it.
  28. Apr 2, 2012
    Sine Mora is not only a breath of fresh air from a developmental perspective, adding new ideas to a old, yet ofter over-used genre, but it's also fun. Few games nowadays manage to look good, play well, and still offer a level of enjoyment on par with games that haven't existed since the Nintendo 64 era, but Sine Mora manages it.
  29. Mar 29, 2012
    Quotation forthcoming.
  30. Mar 28, 2012
    Sine Mora infuses classic shoot 'em up gameplay with time manipulation and a grim narrative that sets it apart from its peers in all the right ways.
  31. Mar 23, 2012
    Sine Mora is a shoot 'em up, a classic genre here refreshed thanks to the ingenious manipulation of time and especially to a refined technical sector. Lights, explosions and huge airships follow one another relentlessly on an always inspired and colorful background, while we're moving in a frenzy trying to dodge thousands of enemy fire coming from every direction. The game is not recommended to the detractors of the genre, which would find the high level of difficulty too much frustrating. All the high score lovers should instead pay these 1200 Microsoft Points with a smile on their face.
  32. Mar 21, 2012
    The entire game is surprisingly replayable after some time to unlock hidden characters and weapon combinations.
  33. Apr 2, 2012
    Sine Mora combines the best of 2D shooters with a dark storyline you have to see to believe. The result is an exciting action game that will remind gamers everywhere why they loved R-Type, Gradius and countless other horizontal shooters. Even with a short running time, Sine Mora is still a must-own shoot-em-up for the Xbox Live Arcade!
  34. Mar 22, 2012
    A welcome return to the "bullet hell" tradition, but offers enough new content and goodies like leaderboards and extra modes to keep it from being just another offering in the genre. It might be too tough for some, but hey, you gotta learn your skills somewhere, right?
  35. Mar 22, 2012
    Along with an awesome soundtrack and a smart sense of style, you'll at least enjoy the atmosphere being beaten to death on its more challenging areas.
  36. Mar 23, 2012
    Kudos to Grasshopper and Digital Reality: I didn't think that a side scrolling shooter could look this marvelous. This is a well-executed take on bullet hell action with a clever integration of slow motion.
  37. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Jun 5, 2012
    Incredibly polished. [Issue#85, p.102]
  38. May 9, 2012
    Sine Mora is a pretty good experience. Any kind of player could enjoy this game, from the casual to the hardcore one. The gorgeous graphics, the awesome design and a simple but effective gameplay, are enough to keep you glued to your console for months.
  39. Apr 17, 2012
    To adventurous gamers of all stripes, and certainly those that count themselves among the genre's enthusiasts: pick up this one, sine mora.
  40. Apr 11, 2012
    If you're looking for an arcade game and fancy blasting stuff in gorgeous spectacular fashion, Sine Mora is something you should check out. It doesn't matter how proficient you are with the genre, as the game will teach you the ways of a shoot-em-up. If you are already knowledgeable about the genre, then ramp up the difficulty and see if you can get yourself through its meaty challenge.
  41. Apr 3, 2012
    All in all, Sine Mora succeeds in applying a different concept to a side-scrolling shooter and it works. There might be a few questionable thoughts about the storyline, but it certainly does not shed any negative light on its chaotic and addictive gameplay.
  42. 80
    Sine Mora is incredibly pretty, and it features an interesting story and some unique gameplay elements. However, the checkpoint system will inevitably lead to frustration, even on the easiest difficulty. Additionally, this game is pretty short, and shouldn't take more than a few hours for those who don't spend a lot of time dying and redoing big portions of the campaign.
  43. Mar 30, 2012
    One of the most accessible entries in this most cultivated of genres. It's gorgeous and welcoming, built on time-honoured design but given a contemporary sheen, making it arguably the first truly modern 2D shoot 'em up in many a year.
  44. Mar 29, 2012
    It's another shining example of a European developer handling Japanese IP with care, remixing and refreshing the genres Japan's native developers often struggle to enhance and honour.
  45. Mar 27, 2012
    An awesome shoot'em up created by an amazing team. It isn't perfect, but provides challenges for also new players and high-level gamers.
  46. Mar 23, 2012
    If you're not a shooter fan because the genre doesn't appeal to you, Sine Mora probably won't change your mind. If you've stood on the sidelines because of intimidating difficulty levels, however, it's worth giving it a shot. You won't coast through the experience, but it remains fair and (most importantly) fun throughout.
  47. Mar 22, 2012
    Probably the best-looking 2D shooter ever made and an excellent genre introduction for the uninitiated. Not to mention a great advertisement for East/West collaborations.
  48. Mar 21, 2012
    I get the sense that Sine Mora was made by people who love the best of the older shmups and want to present what made them great to the merely curious like me who are never going to play old side-scrollers on the NeoGeo or Dreamcast or whatever. And one of the highest praises I can offer Sine Mora is that perhaps more than any other such game, it makes me want to get better at 2D sidescrolling shooters.
  49. Mar 21, 2012
    If you've ever enjoyed a shooter, you'll enjoy this a lot, and at the least, give the demo a shot to see if you like the time-based gameplay.
  50. Mar 21, 2012
    Sine Mora feels like an old-school shoot 'em up with a twist and modern beautiful graphics. This is highly recommended for both n00bs and die hard fans of the genre.
  51. Mar 21, 2012
    Sine Mora, crucially with Digital Reality's contribution, strikes a deft balance between madness and shoot-em-up fun.
  52. Apr 8, 2012
    Digital Reality wants to breathe new life into the shoot-'em up genre with Sine Mora. At a glance they succeed with beautiful backgrounds and lots of variation. Other satisfaction can only be extracted from getting the best high scores, because the story is simply all over the place.
  53. Mar 21, 2012
    If you like challenging games and retro gameplay this is a game to watch, and you probably have been expecting something like this for a lot of time. However, if you answer no to any of these questions you'd better let it go. This is a really challenging game, even in its lowest difficulty, and can become frustrating if you are not an expert gamer.
  54. 75
    It's a solid package, but we have some gripes: ship movement often feels slightly oversensitive, and it's sometimes difficult to tell why you took damage, especially if the environment isn't clear on what is and isn't a hazard. Dropping powerups when you take damage is also incredibly irritating, as you'll likely take more hits struggling to retrieve them.
  55. Apr 6, 2012
    It excels in some unlikely areas, with lovely presentation values and intricately detailed backdrops. It's a fun diversion and while it's not entirely up to par in terms of mechanics, it also doesn't make itself redundant by centralizing all the focus to the one area that's already been perfected.
  56. Mar 27, 2012
    Sine Mora puts a cool twist on the shoot 'em up genre with its application of time and interesting storyline.
  57. Mar 21, 2012
    A good game, though not necessarily a standard bearer for shoot em ups. It's got a unique art style, tinges of Grasshopper's profane quirkiness, and offers some rather challenging wrinkles on the genre formula. Don't believe for a second that "casual friendliness" means putting a controller in the hands of your game-dabbler buddies and expecting them not to either melt down or wave a white flag.
  58. Games Master UK
    Apr 27, 2012
    Only average gameplay. [June 2012, p.79]
  59. Mar 28, 2012
    The game looks marvelous, and it's an impressive effort in this little-seen genre, but the gameplay is wrapped too rigidly around mechanics that feel a bit at odds with one another for me to feel good recommending it wholeheartedly.
  60. Mar 27, 2012
    A traditional Shoot'em Up served by a magnificent script and enticing storyline, with the added blissfulness of Akira Yamaoka's soundtrack. Too bad the hitboxes and readability of the levels and ennemies are less than stellar.
  61. Mar 26, 2012
    Visually Sine Mora is stunning, when it comes to gameplay it will wear you down. I can only recommend it to hardcore shoot 'em up fans, the rest of you ought to be a bit more careful. However, this game is a good reminder of how good it is that games has become so much more forgiving during the last 20 years.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 58 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 58
  2. Negative: 11 out of 58
  1. Mar 21, 2012
    "Sine Mora" is a horizontal shoot'em up, with a "Diesel-Punk" theme (whatever is this) that has a different approach in the genre,"Sine Mora" is a horizontal shoot'em up, with a "Diesel-Punk" theme (whatever is this) that has a different approach in the genre, highlighting the manipulation of time in the gameplay. The game was developed by Grasshopper Manufacture Inc. (Japan) and Digital Reality (Hungary); the former one is the same that launched "Shadows of the Damned", and was founded by Suda 51 (of "No More Heroes").

    The story: Ronotra Koss is a vengeful serial killer who's blackmailing a girl and smuggling military robots, a ghost cell of rebels time travelers is determined to invade Siriad the flying fortress that keeps the peace and prosperity of your planet. Argus Pistel, the emperor's most talented mercenary attempts to reach them and for them this complex story of honor, morality and ties (a little confuse?).Graphically, the game is superbly well done, in a hand-drawn cell-shadding style, with watercolor tones: it has different design, with ships that are similar to WWII aircrafts, and other elements of the Industrial Era, that are very detailed visually, in all senses: the same applies to the enemies and even their shots, that have widely varying effects, never being boring.The design of the Bosses is a thing apart, are always very nice, being that as you fight against them, some pieces of them are destroyed systematically, with evident damages. The backgrounds of the scenarios are very well-crafted, in 3D, and the action that occurs in the background blends with the action plan, for example, enemies and bosses that are destroyed as they passes from the main plane of action, are seen behind catching fire and falling.The cut-scenes are done with the game engine. Overall the whole game has a look that holds one of the best Shoot 'Em Up, graphically, that I've ever played.

    The soundtrack music is very engaging and well crafted in the game, and was composed by Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill), the sound effects are cool, consistent with what is happening on the screen such as explosions. The dubbing of the characters are good, but not show much emotional expression, and some dialogues are a bit confuse - these dialogues have the classic look of Japanese RPG: text at the bottom of the screen with a drawing of the character (the characters are anthropomorphic animals, hand-drawn, although in a strange way. The game has a 3D perspective and graphics, despite being essentially horizontal, as in classic shooters, the player controls the ship in a scenario that constantly moves in a pre-determined path, with directions that may change with decisions to be taken. The game has 07 stages with 13 bosses, and the basic difficulties in the game are Standard and Professional, being the later as hardcore as other known "hardcore" Japanese shooters. The main modes of the game are Story and Arcade, being Arcade without cut-scenes.A major factor in the game, is the time: it is set on top of the screen, and each enemy you kill, it increases again, because if it reaches zero, the game ends; another factor that decreases your time is your life, when you get hit, it decreases.

    You have one main weapon that can accommodate up to 9 upgrades, that are released in the screen when you kill some enemies, but if you're hit, they are released and can be caught back. It also has a very powerful sub-weapon, but with limited number of shots, and that is the key to defeating enemies or bosses in difficult stages.There are several objects in the game to be caught, other than the bonus of a main weapon, such as a capsule of "Speed ??Up", which slows down time with the RT, ammunition for the sub-gun, etc.

    At the end of each stage, you are graded according to their performance on stage, taking into account the remaining lifetime, damage taken and destroyed enemies, with grades A, B and C, where C is the initial note be improved. Other actions that increase your score is the number of shots and bonus tokens that are released by the enemies. Some activities, such as using time capsules, reduce your final score, in addition, your Grade in the phase can be seen too on the gameplay screen. The game has only one use in Xbox Live: post a Leaderboard.

    The shots of the enemy, are of various colors, and you use a shield, with a color that protects you against specific shots of the same color, and you also have the ability to control the time, so it gets a decreasing speed (slow motion) or you can turn it back - between the variations of weapons, the game has more than 60 variations of the final weapons.

    Overall this is an excellent shooter, one of the best I've ever played, great graphically and with some interesting and innovative features - the low points would be the characters (I found no way to see, but it is my personal opinion), some dialogs and the requirement of the timeout phase that annoys me a bit.

    But disregarding this, I have no criticism (these strange things in the game are typical of Suda51) - my score: 8.8 / 10.0.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 22, 2012
    Huge shmup fan that owns all of Cave's work and more. This game is absolutely fantastic. It's sad that a small group of fanboys will discreditHuge shmup fan that owns all of Cave's work and more. This game is absolutely fantastic. It's sad that a small group of fanboys will discredit it because it's not vertical and wasn't made by Cave or isn't Touhou, but it's their loss. Don't make the same mistake I almost made in underestimating this game.. This game requires you to fight the level itself, time and some pretty awesome bosses all on the same level. The story mode slightly annoyed me because I don't like cut scenes and interruptions in my shooters, nor do I care for a 'life bar", but that quickly goes away when you move onto Arcade and Score attack, which both force you into Hard and Insane modes by default. Think of the story mode as nothing but a tutorial and a introduction for non-seasoned, because you start dying to everything just like you should in a normal shmup immediately. It does away with cut scenes outside of the little camera pans and visual flair that even Einhander had. It's enough to make the game pretty but not enough to stop the action like the jarring speeches in Story mode. I've read some issues with controls being too touchy, but I believe it comes from people not understanding the ships have a hitbox that's relative to the ship chosen. This was the game's fault in making you wait till Arcade mode to really see them. I started doing a lot better with "touch" dodging once I understood where it was. Again..the story mode is just really deceptive and put-offish to people like myself that come from bullethell type games and want to jump right in but it has it's place. For that combined with the fact that I do wish a couple of the levels were longer with better pacing, I can't give it a 10, but a 9 is still amazing for a game that I finally didn't have to pay insane amounts to import. Full Review »
  3. Apr 11, 2012
    Quite a fresh take on the Shmup genre, this game has a lot to offer: gorgeous graphics, a wide range of unlockable ships & weapons, grand bossQuite a fresh take on the Shmup genre, this game has a lot to offer: gorgeous graphics, a wide range of unlockable ships & weapons, grand boss fights. It also comes with sloppy foreground - background separation, way too small target collision and a negative feedback loop that borders on unfair. Full Review »