Title: Rise & Shine
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed), Steam
Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Release Date: Out now.
TL;DR: A colourful, yet brutal, run and and gun platformer.
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There’s something to be said for a splash of colour in the midst of a bleak winter; it brightens your mood, it makes you happier, and it makes you realise that life isn’t too difficult after all. Well, Rise & Shine, the latest game title from Adult Swim might warm your chilled bones with its vibrant colours, but it certainly won’t make life feel any easier as you set off to save Gamearth. In the shoes of our young protagonist, Rise, with the help of his magical talking gun, Shine (see what they did there?) you’ll set off as the newest “Chosen One,” as you battle to rid Gamearth of the invading swarms of enemies.
Rise & Shine attempts to emulate the run and gun games of yore and accomplishes this in many aspects. The games seeks to challenge you in three ways: platforming, puzzles, and actual shooting. Whilst the game does very well with the shooting, it feels as if the puzzles and platforming were simply put into it to make you have to do more than just shoot. The puzzles won’t really trouble you as they are more about timing than using a problem solving skills, and the platforming aspect will rarely pose anything more than a simple obstacle.
However, the real devil are the enemies you face. Whilst the environment of Rise & Shine will not fill the screen with various enemies vying for your blood, it is nevertheless unforgiving. You’ll see young Rise blown to pieces, incinerated, and suffer countless other excruciating deaths, but it’s all done in the name of The Challenge. Each death makes you want to learn enemy patterns of attack and movement and overcome each wave of enemies, missiles, and bosses – ergh, the bosses. The game does a great job of steadily increasing the challenge, too; you’ll rarely feel that you’re facing an unforeseen difficulty spike – sure, you’ll have to retry a lot of the levels (numerous times) but you’re not going to feel like you’re being cheated.
Whilst the game does a lot of simple things well, it’s also let down by simple omissions; the games offers you a surprisingly limited amount of weaponry. This is a simple feature that would have allowed for a much greater variety of strategy when approaching levels, and would’ve helped in bringing players back to the game again and again.
What about how the game looks and feels? It’s far too easy in these days of high-definition and sixty frames per second games to say that a game looks and feels nice, but Rise & Shine delivers both very well. Think Limbo but with vibrant colours and you’re on the right train of thought. The game design seems lifted straight from a beloved indie comic that only a handful of people are aware of, and the fluid movement of player, environment and AI allows for you to jump into the rhythm of the game with ease – an aspect that is undoubtedly improved by the simple side-scrolling level choice.
Fans of the different television shows released by Adult Swim will have some idea of what humour Rise & Shine has to offer. The dialogue is mostly very good, with the studio opting for speech-bubbles rather than voice acting (again feeding in to the comic-book feel). The jokes are well-timed and spaced out in a manner that demonstrates the efforts of the developers to make this a game that paces the humour in a way that keeps you laughing rather than just skipping any dialogue. Keen eyed players will also notice a handful of references and parodies of famous video game characters which is a nice touch. Most of the jokes are based on the characters being self-aware of the video game tropes so if you enjoy that kind of humour – as I do – then you’re in for a treat!
Rise & Shine isn’t a game that you’ll download and think “I’m gonna get a great bit of storytelling here!” It’s a simple run and gun game – a wonderfully put together run and gun game – but what you see is what you get. Of course there is a story that runs throughout the game but it won’t be the feature you remember about playing Rise & Shine This is certainly a game that will entertain and challenge you for a week or two every now and again. If you like a challenge, speed-running, or simply looking for something to distract you before jumping into the next cut-scene heavy AAA title, then Rise & Shine is a title you should try out.
- A great reminder of classic run and gun games
- Beautiful animation throughout
- Genuinely funny moments
- Not enough variety with weapons
- The puzzles are more about timing than figuring out something
- Xbox players may find the aiming quite fiddly initially
The game is rated 16+ – don’t be fooled by the children TV show art style and bright colours– you’re going to see a child get blown up several times.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy for the Xbox One purchased for the purpose of this review.