Developer: Super Mega Team
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Tested on: Xbox One
Rise & Shine – Review
Even though Rise and Shine may be one of those things your mother used to say to you when you had to get out of bed, this scenario paints a different picture of said expression. Even though an awakening certainly occurs in Rise & Shine, it’s one of a young boy being forced to become the new legendary hero a war struck world is in dire need of. The game’s cute, clear and welcoming visuals certainly did not keep the difficulty level at bay, which clearly defined this title. We hoped it was our time to rise and shine when we dived into the world of Gamearth.
Gamearth is a peaceful planet, with many characters that seemingly come out of different franchises of well-known games, albeit with subtle alterations not to have issues with actually releasing this game. While all seemed well on the planet, the grunts from the Nexgen planet have decided it was time to get rid of the dated customs of Gamearth, overthrow the planet and make it their own. You will play as a young boy called Rise, who happens to find himself in the midst of the chaos, when he sees ‘the legendary hero’ mortally wounded. He approaches, and with his dying breath he hands over Shine, a sentient weapon, that allows its user to respawn. When Rise asks how come the hero can’t respawn, the game subtly ignores that fact. Nonetheless, from here on out, you’ll be the hero of this world, having the ability to respawn when you die, thus allowing you to press on, and hopefully vanquish the invading forces.
Overall the story is extremely simple, but it gets funny by adding a lot of references to other games. You won’t get that much story content over the few hours this game spans, but more than plenty to make this game appealing and interesting.
From the moment you boot up the game, until the credits start to roll on your screen, you are treated to a vibrant setting on Gamearth, and even though a war with a lot of casualties is waging on, it’s sometimes hard not to get lost in the beautiful 2D visuals of this game. Every character, be it friendly or hostile, has its own distinct and comic-like style, which suits the game perfectly. It’s more than pleasant to do some sightseeing from time to time, which may or may not cost you a life of two, as this game is filled to the brim with references to other videogame franchises, which are often very recognizable.
During the many explosions that will certainly occur around both Rise and Shine, you’ll be accompanied by a rather modern and upbeat soundtrack, to create the proper drive to press on. Enough bass to match the explosions, while still aiming to keep the overall feel light, just like the graphical interpretation of this short, but well composed title. The game is nearly void of voice acting, safe from a few words, a few grunts and other primal sounds, but for a title such as this, it works splendidly, even though the story could have been more entertaining if there was a tad more voice acting present.
Rise & Shine is a fairly typical 2D action game, with a few atypical implementations when talking about its difficulty level, and certain weapon mechanics. Nonetheless, you’ll jump, shoot and puzzle your way through obstacles, in a game that only lasts a few hours, depending on how much you die, and decide to press on if things get a tad frustrating. That being said, the game does have a high difficulty curve to overcome, but it does an effort to smoothen things out by adding more than enough checkpoints, allowing you to get back to where you were rather quickly, in case of your untimely death.
Overall the concept of the game is quite simple, as you move around your character in 2D environments, while you shoot at every enemy that comes into sight, in combination with a few puzzles and platforming elements. Shooting is done with your second stick, while you have your weapon drawn, which will limit your movement speed when this is the case. Sadly, the aiming in this game isn’t all that precise, while it requires you to be very precise at times, which actually causes more frustration than the somewhat unforgiving difficulty level. It feels as if this game was made to be played with keyboard and mouse, rather than a gamepad, and even though the controls themselves are easy to learn, despite switching weapons, ammo types and shooting modes getting a bit tedious at times, it’s the aiming mechanics that drag the entire experience down.
Shine also has an alternative shooting mode which allows him to shoot guided bullets, or more precisely stated, bullets you’ll have to guide yourself. The latter proves to be amusing, albeit tricky in the midst of an active gunfight, but sometimes becomes frustrating, simply because of the controls which make the aiming process tedious and imprecise, when again precision is required.
Rise & Shine is short however, when you finally master the controls, the game will be over and while you’ll be able to play the game again in a higher difficulty level, it could and should have been longer. We understand that the story for this game should not be dragged out too much, but yet again, we feel it could and should have been longer than it currently is, as you’ll only get a handful of levels to play through.
Rise & Shine is one of those fairly hidden gems in terms of originality, but becomes somewhat frustrating due to its mechanics, rather than the high difficulty gap. Nonetheless, if you can oversee the dodgy aiming controls, you’ll have yourself a very solid action game with great visuals and entertaining references to other franchises. That being said, casual gamers may find this game a tad on the difficult side, thus don’t be fooled by the cute style of the game.