There's something incongruous about playing a bullet-hell shooter on an iPad. It doesn't matter how many you play, or how good they are - discovering touchscreen controls that work in a genre that demands precision is always a pleasant surprise.
Sine Mora is no different, although it uses a slightly more complex floating-stick and button combination than the usual single-fire, auto-fire setup. The end result is a game that takes place in a thick stripe down the middle of the screen so your fingers never obscure the action.
Bullet to the head
You play as a number of different pilots, each performing his own role in a convoluted plot that's never very well explained and never particularly important. Whatever your motivation, the aim of the game is the same - shoot stuff.
You weave your way through waves of enemies and globs of plasma fire, blasting anything that moves. Killing an enemy tops up your time bar, giving you a little longer to get to the next checkpoint.
Time is very much of the essence, and there's a button that lets you slow down the tick of the clock, giving you a better chance to navigate your way through the maze of exploding shells and attack craft.
Everything feels slick, from the punked-up World War II aesthetic to the clever 2.5D graphics that shift and twist as you play. There's a level of spectacle expected in bullet-hell games and Sine Mora is all too happy to provide it.
There are power-ups to collect that increase the spread of your auto-firing bullets, and each character has a unique special move that unleashes its own particular unholy destruction.
Hell of a game
The violence is slick and clever, and challenging enough that even the most seasoned bullet-hell player is going to lose a couple of continues here and there. Boss training and a hardcore Arcade mode provide even more content to blast through.
For fans of the genre, Sine Mora adds enough of a twist to feel fresh and exciting. It won't appeal to everyone, but if you've a hankering for a bullet-hell blaster for iPad that's full of ideas and innovation, then you're going to find an awful lot to like here.