Gamescom 2011: Sine Mora Impressions

East meets West in this collaboration between Japanese developer Grasshopper Manufacture and Hungarian developer Digital Reality.

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Grasshopper Manufacture has been pretty busy of late. As well as putting out Shadows of the Damned, the developer has recently announced Lollipop Chainsaw and Black Knight Sword, the latter of which is a collaboration with publisher Digital Reality. The second title with the Hungarian company is Sine Mora--a side-scrolling shooter that will be making its way to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 for download early next year. We got to see the game at Gamescom this year to see what to expect.

Unlike Black Knight Sword, which is predominantly a Grasshopper Manufacture title, Sine Mora has more Digital Reality DNA than it does of Suda 51's company. Grasshopper gave art direction and music (the latter by the acclaimed Akira Yamaoka), but the concept came from Digital Reality creative director Theodore Reiker. It's a side-scrolling shooter based around time extension: Kill enemies to add time to the clock and stay live.

Things are a little more complicated than that though. You have to dodge red and blue colored projectiles much like in Ikaruga, but you can use colored shields to protect you from one color at a time. You also have a limited ability to control time, both slowing it down and reversing it, which are useful abilities as things regularly get very hectic. You can upgrade your primary weapon through 10 levels, while your secondary weapons include rockets that can clear the screen of most enemies in a single go.

The Gamescom demo included one level from the game's story mode, which could be played on normal or insane difficulty level. Digital Reality doesn't look to have shied away from making Sine Mora as difficult as the retro arcade shooters that clearly inspired it. We only managed to stay alive for a matter of seconds at the more difficult level, as even fallen enemies released death shots as they expired. The level itself threw up some memorable moments, though, including a trip underwater and a boss fight. Digital Reality promises the game's seven levels and 13 bosses are unique from beginning to the end, with no repeated encounters.

Sine Mora will be coming out in either January or February 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.

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