Born in the 80’s, 90’s? Love gaming? Know what Mario is amongst other well known nostalgic video game characters? Well strap yourself in get yourself to Gamerearth, take on the role of Rise and save the planet one respawn at a time. Super Mega Team are back with their third title published by Adult Swim Games called Rise & Shine. Here is our review of a time well spent living the past.
Rise & Shine is a 2D platformer that arms the player with a gun called Shine yes guns are people too you know. Its hard to know really where to start with Rise & Shine and what really should I tell you about first. Well I’m a sucker for punch above your weight graphics and Rise & Shine is an outstandingly good looking game. With an art style akin to UbiArt like you’d be mistaken for believing this was a Ubisoft game. Well it is not but the heritage in the Art style comes from Enrique Corts and Mar Hernandez who are part of the team based out in Japan. The stellar art direction may also look a bit familiar to fans of Plants vs Zombies where one of the artists was heavily involved in the art direction. This experience and skill blended itself brilliantly to the game and Rise & Shine for me is one of the best looking games I’ve played on Xbox One to come out of the ID@Xbox program. It may only be topped by Cuphead for style.
So outside of good looks whats on offer here for you the player. Well a simple 2D run and Gun this game is not. Simple this game is not. Its cute and cuddly art style only masks a sinister side to the game that will have players climbing the walls with its various difficult and purely frustrating obstacles. Only Death shall pass here serves to remind us all that the bleeding obvious isn’t in the script. A reference you will know all to well from hitting a wall ( stone) around an hour in.
If Rise & Shine has taken its gaming roots from Nintendo and 80’s gaming characters then it throws in a hole lot of modern addictiveness with its Dark Souls esk difficulty curves. There were times that I found myself almost throwing the controller away in disgust but by the end of near 3-4 hour play through of the story I began to appreciate the game for what it was. Boss fights serve to test what you’ve learned so far in the game, not a ground breaking method of game design by any stretch but knowing when to use the grenade ability or go for the precise bullet flow will add to your variety and intrigue as you tackle whats laid out in front of you.
Overall the game is fairly straight forward and fails to really deliver a bit of variety. It’s essentially walk here, shoot this, jump there and then boss fight. However all that changes by the time you reach the final area of the game where it tests the combination of your skills. What was really odd and felt like a bit of padding was the flung in mini games that have you throwing basket balls and dodging bullets like some sort of Geometry wars mashup. There’s nothing wrong with these games and actually they are a refreshing change of pace, however the fact you only get them in the last stage and theres several in a row you wonder why they didn’t scatter them throughout the game a bit more. There is a reward at least for persevering with the mini games.
“Rise & Shine is a great looking game with a fairly bang average story”
The reward is a chest one of the many scattered across each stage of the story which rewards additional abilities to you or your gun ( Shine). None of these collectibles are tough to get and as long as your prepared to have a few goes at the mini games then you should grab them all by the end of the story. Theres also some neat achievements in there for you to grab but don’t expect an easy 1000G here the devs have put some great thought into these and you will need to be both skilled and patient to get them.
Rise & Shine is a great looking game with a fairly bang average story save the world, daddies a soldier etc but what lets the game down is its lack of being original. I enjoyed the little easter Eggs throughout the game but they are so obviously trying to focus on nostalgic gaming characters such as Mario, Link amongst others that they really loose site of delivering the main character in the story Rise. In the end that drive to be something the game isn’t and piggy back the success of some gaming gods has left the characters feeling a little underwhelming and drab despite the best efforts of the terrific comic book styling.
That being said theres really only so much character development you can do in a 2D platformer that takes 3 hours to complete so I wouldn’t let that distract you from a purchase. I’ve found Rise & Shine to be a nice homage to the past offering up some great gunplay with some super tough encounters. It’s January and if you have £12 spare then I recommend you grab Rise & Shine for that quick Platforming fix. Better yet if you want to avoid some of the frustration you can watch us go through it all for you by checking out our walkthrough series below: