A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sine Mora Ex is a downloadable shoot-'em-up game featuring side-scrolling action, and that it also features adult language and suggestive themes, including references to genitalia and rape accusations. This is a tension-filled game where the difficulty ramps up quickly; the player is actually battling time and wave upon wave of enemies. While action is packed full of explosions, there's no blood or gore shown.
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What's it about?
SINE MORA EX pits a rebel force of aliens against an evil empire in an attempt to prevent mass genocide. The game is a side-scrolling, arcade-style shoot-'em-up, where players work to control time on a limited basis, collect power-ups, and fend off enemies to get to boss battles. Players can also take on bosses in a separate Boss Training mode, or test their skills in four other modes (Arcade, Score Attack, Challenge, and Versus), with four separate difficulty levels that will test even the best arcade gamers.
Is it any good?
This shooter is a beautiful looking game, but its focus on completing tasks inside certain time limits creates a fresh take on the classic shoot-'em-up genre. Yes, you can be shot down by incoming fire, but the real enemy is the clock that counts down quickly (some missions start you at 10 seconds and go down from there unless you can add more time to the clock by defeating enemies). Gamers have done the "side-scrolling, firing willy-nilly, destroying everything in front of you" style of game, but when you can slow time for short bursts (this is a finite skill), pick up power-ups that add seconds to your timed run, and then crank up the difficulty, the genre takes on new and exciting elements.
On the downside, while the creatures of the game are imaginative looking aliens, the language is a bit much at times. It's fine to create an atmosphere that embodies a military mindset and fighting intensity, but expletives can fly fast and furious with little discernible reason, making this a game not to be played if small children are about. And there are some repetitive elements to battles (flying around the screen, shooting enemies while dodging attacks that come in patterns, repeat) leading up to the boss fights. Of course, players will have to move to avoid the big shots from bosses that can decimate a much smaller ship, and bosses won't be stationary; they'll move and swing around to angle toward your ship, making their engines as much of a threat as their guns and missiles. The only edge players may get is by trying out the boss battle mode before the regular campaign to figure out how to beat the behemoths. Overall, Sine Mora Ex features a nice variety of game modes, is visually appealing, and is quite challenging. It raises the bar for side-scrolling action/adventure shooters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence OK because you only see explosions and no gore, or is there a problem when you're only shooting down planes and other vehicles?
Talk about the use of profanity in games. Did the dialogue need to use profanity to explain where characters are or how they react to situations, or could the same idea be communicated without coarse language?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Price: $7.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: THQ Nordic
- Release date: August 8, 2017
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Fantasy Violence, Sexual Themes, Language.
- Last updated: October 7, 2017
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