Sine Mora

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Sine Mora
Sine Mora EX cover.png

Title screen

Developer: Digital Reality
Music: Akira Yamaoka
Program: Person B
Art: Person C
Release date: Template:Collapsible list

Sine Mora (シネモラ,Shine Mora) is a horizontal-scrolling shoot 'em up video game developed by Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture. The game is a 2.5D shooter; gameplay is restricted to two axes while the environment is rendered in 3D. The setting has been described as diesel punk inspired and features anthropomorphic characters.

The game was well received by critics, with aggregate scores of 84.05% at GameRankings and 83/100 at Metacritic, two video game review aggregators. Critics found the story confusing, but praised the overall gameplay. Specifically the shoot 'em up mechanic, time-based mechanic and boss battles received high marks. Reviewers also lauded the game's visuals.

On March 3, 2017, THQ Nordic unveiled Sine Mora EX (シネモラ EX,Shine Mora EX) an extended version of Sine Mora for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows and Xbox One. The game was a surprise announcement to debut in PAX East 2017.[1] It was released on August 8, 2017 and the Switch version released on September 26, 2017 in North America and October 10, 2017 in Europe.[2]

Gameplay Overview

Sine Mora (Latin meaning, "without delay") is a side scrolling shoot 'em up game. The player controls an airplane along two axes while attacking enemies. The gameplay world is rendered in 3D, and at key points an in-game cutscene plays in which the camera and plane move. These are often transitions into another part of the gameplay world, but are also used to give the player a new perspective for things such as boss battles.[3] The plane's primary weapons can be upgraded, and players are equipped with a limited-use, more powerful secondary weapon to eliminate more on-screen enemies at one time.[4] Consecutive kills with the primary weapon will increase the game's score multiplier, while use of the secondary weapon or time manipulation will reset the multiplier. The player's final score is determined by a number of factors including kills, damage taken, and powerups collected.[4]

As the game is marketed as a bullet hell shooter it features four difficulties: normal, challenging, hard and insane. The normal difficulty reduces the on-screen ordnance from enemies, while the insane difficulty is geared towards those who are veterans of the genre. In this difficulty the ordnance on the screen is much higher, forcing a greater difficulty level.[5] In addition, four game modes are included: Story, Arcade, Score Attack, and Boss Training. Story mode is the primary mode of the game and allows the player to see the narrative as the game progresses. On the standard difficulty players are given eight continues, while the Insane difficulty yields only five. Completing levels on the more challenging difficulty unlocks an alternate narrative.[4] Arcade mode removes the narrative cutscenes and limits the player to only three continues. Score Attack mode allows players to replay any stage previously completed with only one life. The objective is to achieve the highest score possible and complete the stage. Players do not progress to the next stage after completion in this mode. Boss Training allows players to practice and/or replay any unlocked boss battles. Continues in this mode are unlimited.[4]

Sine Mora does not use a traditional player health mechanic. It instead plays on the aspect of time. Each level is given a set amount of time which continues to tick downwards. Taking damage will temporarily speed up this process, while eliminating enemies will add time back.[6] Powerups in the game can provide bonuses such as shielding, extra time, and upgraded weapon.[6] Players can choose from multiple characters and planes, and the combination of choices determines the vital statistics during play. Characters are not tied to a specific plane, rather characters and planes each have unique attributes, the combination of which determines the statistics.[6]


The game uses analogue controls, so the directions are more fine-grained. A D-pad can also be used, but the left analogue stick is much more preferable, especially for some tunnel sections where precision movement is critical.

In multi-player modes the right analogue stick is used for the rotational gun.

Button layout Type A on Nintendo Switch:

  • A: main weapon
  • B: sub-weapon
  • ZR: time capsule
  • X: half-speed (slower movement of the plane)
  • Y: role switch (in co-op mode)
  • R: half-speed (slower movement of the plane)

Button layout Type B on Nintendo Switch:

  • A: main weapon
  • X: sub-weapon
  • Y: time capsule
  • B: half-speed (slower movement of the plane)
  • ZR: role switch (in co-op mode)
  • R: half-speed (slower movement of the plane)

Button layout Type C on Nintendo Switch:

  • A: main weapon
  • B: sub-weapon
  • X: time capsule
  • Y: half-speed (slower movement of the plane)
  • ZR: role switch (in co-op mode)
  • R: half-speed (slower movement of the plane)

Unlockable Secrets

Progressing through the Story campaign (on any difficulty) gradually unlocks different planes, pilots and, of course, stages to play in Arcade and other modes. It also unlocks the Encyclopedia, which you can then find in the Help & Options menu.

Progressing through the Arcade mode (on any difficulty), unlocks alternate plane colourschemes for Merenstein VI and GE-22 Liberator planes as well as some art[7]

Finishing the Story mode on Challenging difficulty unlocks the Alternate Story mode.

Finishing the Alternate Story mode (on any difficulty) unlocks the alternate plane colourscheme for BS4-VR Soprano.

There are also in-game achievements (at least in Sine Mora EX), most of which have multiple requirements and rely on previous ones, so it pays to read the details.

Characters / Ships / Styles

There are several ships and pilots in the game. In the campaign mode, the pilots and ships change depending on which one suits which stage during that part of the story; in other modes you can chose both, after you have unlocked them by playing through the campaign story.


  • Merenstein VI – Sine Mora School issue
  • BS4-VR Soprano – Amplified 95FS version
  • GE-22 Liberator – Standard Layil Air Force issue


  • Argus Pytel – sub-weapon: Seeker Missiles
  • Akyta Dryad – sub-weapon: Azimuth Battery
  • Durak – sub-weapon: OA-62-Sonic Sword
  • Lynthe Ytoo – sub-weapon: Zebaoth Driller
  • Ronotra Koss – sub-weapon: Punk Spirit
  • Myryan Magusa – sub-weapon: Gemini Drone
  • Garai 74/22876 – sub-weapon: A-B-C Cluster Bomb
  • (Wilhelmine Muller – sub-weapon: UD Bomb; cameo pilot from Under Defeat, limited to PS Vita version)


This section describes the weapons that you use in the game and elaborates on them further. Stuff like standard shots, focus shots, bombs, weapon pickups that differ in functionality, options, etc. This can be omitted if not relevant to the game in question.


In Sine Mora there are several items that drop and can be picked up:

  • red orbs with three horizontal stripes – firepower (primary weapon upgrade)
  • orange orbs with up-facing arrow – extra time (additional seconds)
  • light blue orbs with down-facing arrow – shield (activated on impact)
  • dark blue orbs with left-facing arrow – capsule (replenish gauge)
  • green orbs with a right-facing arrow – sub-weapon (replenish stock)
  • violet orbs with a plus – time extend (activated upon death)
  • spinning score tokens – score bonus (collect them for bonus chain)


The primary weapon can be upgraded in 9 steps. Each red orb picked-up increases it by one step.

When hit, you will also drop the red orbs you collected so far, but they bounce around the screen for some time, so you have a chance of picking them up again.

On the other hand, the primary weapon’s upgrades are permanent and all that the player managed to keep by end of a stage, are carried over to the next stage, even if the next stage (in Story mode) is played with a different character and plane.

Score tokens

The value of the score tokens rises with each successful collections, which is shown by the token’s colour (bronze, silver, gold) as well as the score number on them.

The first token will be bronze and worth 1.000 points. Then 2.000, 3.000, 4.000, and finally 5.000.

After that the tokens will be silver and be worth 6.000, 7.000, 8.000, 9.000, and finally 10.000 points.

Then the tokens will be gold and worth 20.000, 40.000, 60.000, 80.000, and ultimately 100.000 points. If the player continues the bonus chain, all the next tokens will be worth 100.000 points.

If the player misses picking up a score token that is floating on the screen and it drifts off-screen, the bonus chain breaks, and the next score token you pick up will again be of minimal value (1.000), starting a new chain.


In Arcade mode, the game ranks the player. At the end of a stage, it shows how much time the player spent in each of the ranks – A,B, and C.

Player rank is also indicated in the HUD below the score counter.

At start, the player starts at rank C and with time the rank will automatically rise to B, and eventually A. The higher the rank, the more numerous and faster the enemy bullets get. The longer you last at a higher rank, the more bonus points you receive at the end of the stage’s scoring calculation.

The player has some control over the ranking, as they can speed up the rank change by firing continuously and picking up specific power-up tokens.

If the player is hit, uses the sub-weapon or a capsule, the rank meter will drop a bit.


If a game features a loop system, elaborate on it in detail here. Otherwise, omit this section.


The two main ways of obtaining score points are destroying enemies and reaching a checkpoint with as much time as possible.

Consequitive kills raise the score multiplier. The multiplier is reset if the player uses the sub-weapon, a capsule, or is hit by enemy fire.

Additional score can be picked up through score tokens, which can be chained. See Items section for more detail on score tokens.

Bonus score can be gained at the end of the stages, based on player performance – hit ratio, numbers of hits taken etc. are taken into account.


The ships steer a lot better using the analogue stick, since it allows for much more precise movement, as you can also control the speed that way.

The most important part with surviving the game is getting hit as little as possible to avoid losing time and killing enemies to get time back. If you get hit gather as many of the powerups that you can safely. Extra firepower is very important, but being too greedy and getting hit repeatedly while trying to pick up powerups could have you lose more time than you have to spare, especially in boss encounters.

Playing for score, emphasises perfect routing even more and punishes use of sub-weapon and the time capsule (resets the multiplier). In addition to avoid getting hit (checkpoint bonus, stage-end bonus) and killing as many enemies in quick succession (score multiplier), while relying as much as possible only on the main weapon and not wasting bullets (hit ratio bonus). Do not forget about chaining score tokens and not not dropping the chain, as maintaining it can net you quite a substantial amount of points. Also read about the ranking system.

More detailed strategy is in the Sine_Mora/Strategy subpage.


Sine Mora features two plots running at different points in time. The first features a father bent on taking revenge on the Empire that executed his son for being the sole pilot that refused to drop a nuclear bomb during an attack on the Enkies. The second features the last survivors of the Enkie race also plotting revenge on the Empire for destroying them. The game stages are often set at the same locations, in noticeably different states due to being set in different eras.

After finishing the main story, an alternative story mode (mostly a different ending) unlocks in the menu to play.

Since its intriguing and twisted story is an important part of Sine Mora, to avoid spoilers, the details are separated in the Sine_Mora/Story subpage.

Development History

Sine Mora was announced August 18, 2010. It was developed via a partnership between Grasshopper Manufacture and Digital Reality.[8] Grasshopper was responsible for the art direction and sound design, while Digital Reality handled the 3D assets, programming, story and game design.[9] The game is available on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 via their respective downloadable networks.

The art style for the game is diesel punk inspired. The boss battles for the game were initially designed in large part by Mahiro Maeda, an anime artist known for his work on The Animatrix, Kill Bill, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.[10] Gez Fry directed the game's art and designed the characters, with input from Yoshiro Kimura. The characters were designed as humanoid animals due to Fry's impression that the game was "not crazy enough."[9] "Our characters were originally human characters" stated Theodore Reiker, Creative Director at Digital Reality. "One day he approached me with the idea of having anthropomorphic characters — animals."

Reiker cited several bullet hell shooters, such as Battle Garegga, Einhänder, and Under Defeat as influences for the game. "Sine Mora is our tribute to the amazing games that we played over the last 30 years" said Reiker.[9][11] The designers originally voiced the characters in Hungarian as a placeholder for other languages, however the idea appealed to them so much that they kept the language and provided translations via subtitles for non-Hungarian speaking players. Akira Yamaoka of Grasshoper Manufacture, best known for his music in the Silent Hill series, scored the game's music.[6] Yamaoka was inspired by 1970s electronic music and used that to create the score to match the diesel-punk setting.[12] Of the soundtrack he stated, "I had to create something that would be worthy for this game as well as sound that could actually enhance the game when matched with the visuals."[12]

Digital Reality held a contest where fans could guess the game's release date. Those who guessed correctly would get a chance to receive a free copy of the game. The winner was determined from a lottery based on the score a team member had while playing through the game.[13] Sine Mora was shown at Gamescom and Penny Arcade Expo (PAX).[6] T-shirts and other promotional merchandise were given away at PAX. Contests for the merchandise were also conducted via the game's official Facebook page.[14]

Prior to the E3 2012 convention, it was announced that Sine Mora will also be released on the PlayStation Vita.[15] This version contains a new hero, Wilhelmine Muller, coming from the world of "Under Defeat", with a new weapon and chromosomes. It was later announced that the game will be available for the PlayStation 3 as well.[16]

On July 16, 2013 the game has been released on iOS via the iTunes Store by developer Pocket Scientists. Android and Amazon Kindle Fire versions will follow.Template:When

Version Differences

The PlayStation Vita[17] (and PS3? – check!) version(s) of Sine Mora included an additional pilot Wilhelmine Muller as a cameo from the game Under Defeat[18], together with her own playable chronomes 64-72.

(Due to a mistake, for a limited time Wilhelmine Muller was available also on the Steam version. The devs have fixed this since, but she can still be patched in using a hack[19])

After the original release, in 2017 the game was re-released[20] as Sine Mora EX with the following additions:

  • 16:9 aspect ratio (instead of 16:10, which is still an option)
  • improved graphical rendering
  • full English voice overs (original Hungarian ones are still available as an option)
  • local co-op for up to 2 players in Story mode
  • 3 new versus modes: Race, Tanks, Dodgeball
  • new Challenge levels
  • Playstation 4 and PC support native 4k HD at 60 FPS


The characters in the game were originally[21] supposed to be human and were fully fleshed-out already, but Gez Fry and Yoshiro Kimura (both Grasshopper Manufacture) convinced Theodore Reiker (Digital Reality) that it would be better if the characters were anthropomorphic characters to give it a more “crazy” spin. Initial inspiration for the animal-theme was supposed to come from Animal Farm and the Blacksad comic books; but old European comic book heroes like Corto Maltese or Modesty Blaise are also cited as influences.


See (Template Page)/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.


We have support for wikitables, giving us the potential to add lots of cool info in a small box on the page somewhere, but we are not using them at the moment. I'm just leaving this here so we can have it handy in case we decide to actually use them. Feel free to not use this section.

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References & Contributors

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  1. Wikipedia article on Sine Mora
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