Sine Mora Review
Sine Mora Box Art
System: PS Vita
Dev: Digital Reality
Pub: Grasshopper Manufacture
Release: November 20, 2012
Players: 1-8
Screen Resolution: 544p Strong Language, Sexual Themes
A Tragically Underappreciated Masterpiece Goes Portable
by Josh Wirtanen

Earlier this year, I reviewed the then-Xbox-360-exclusive title Sine Mora. I liked it quite well, so when the Vita version came across my desk in my review pile, I was fairly excited to return to the crazy, anthropomorphic animal-infested, diesel-punk world of Sine Mora.

So yeah, the game is finally available to PS3 and PS Vita owners. Now, for you Sony fans, when those Xbox people try to poke fun at you for being so late to the Sine Mora party, you can explain to them that the Vita version is perhaps the definitive version of the game, and that their impatience is not a very attractive quality. So there.

I champion the Vita version for a few reasons. First of all, the portability makes this bullet hell of a game much more enjoyable. I mean, whenever I can play a game in bed or on the train (or on the toilet, ahem), I’m happy. But there’s more to it that just that.

Sine Mora Screenshot

You see, the Vita’s screen is a lot smaller, and that actually makes it easier to keep track of the onscreen action. And Sine Mora is an extremely chaotic game that throws mesmerizing projectile patterns at you as fast as you can react to them. I found myself getting through a lot of the more difficult game segments on the first try, though I remember them giving me incredible amounts of trouble back when I played through them on the 360.

Additionally, the Vita has an extra character (also available in the PS3 version) and touch controls (obviously not available in the PS3 version). However, there’s absolutely no reason to ever touch the screen here. The traditional sticks and face buttons of the Vita feel pretty awesome. In fact, they feel slightly more precise than they did on the 360. (I found it a lot easier to control the trajectory of my weapons this time around, whereas on the 360 I would find myself overcorrecting way too often.)

Sine Mora Screenshot

Another Vita-exclusive feature is that you can use the system’s GPS to track your real-life travel distance and unlock 50 pieces of concept artwork. I admit that I didn’t travel outside my bedroom with Sine Mora, and therefore didn’t get to unlock any of this art. I’m sure it’s beautiful, though.

Visually, this is obviously an inferior version of the game, as the graphics had to be scaled down to the Vita’s 544p resolution. This means there will be some jagged edges in places that were smooth on the big screen. Still, Sine Mora is an absolutely gorgeous game, and it might be one of the best looking games the Vita has seen yet. The backgrounds are excruciatingly detailed, the diesel-punk aesthetic is tremendously well-implemented, and even the graphic design of the menu interface is absolutely beautiful.

Oh yes, Sine Mora has this bizarre neo-industrial backdrop. It presents a world filled with anthropomorphic talking animals, though don’t expect the storyline to be a lighthearted, cartoony romp. This isn’t a 2D equivalent of Star Fox; this is a seriously disturbing story filled with a lot of adult themes and an ironic ending that will make fans of time travel stories wet themselves with sociopathic glee.

Sine Mora Screenshot

Oh yes, I should probably address the story elements. You see, if you want to have any clue what’s going on in this story, you’re going to have to do a lot of reading. See, there aren’t really cutscenes, per se, and the story is told through massive walls of text. Sure, it’s narrated, but it’s not in English. As I mentioned in my review of the 360 version, this is an element that not everyone’s going to be into, but I personally loved it. The Hungarian voice work truly makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a completely different world. Also, if you hate to read, you’re probably not smart enough to fully enjoy the story here anyway. It’s kind of a brain-bender, you illiterate lughead, you.

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