I have to admit that when I first saw the trailers and previews for Rise & Shine, I was immediately hyped. The graphics were incredible, the unique art style was to my liking, and the soundtrack was perfect for the game. As soon as I got the game and started playing, I realized I had hyped it up way more than I should have. The game still had these things going for it, but there were some pretty significant issues with the game’s story and gameplay that I truly could not overlook, which I will definitely get to later.
Going into it, I had such high hopes for the story, but found out it was just plain shallow and underwhelming. You play as a child named Rise, and your mission is to take the legendary gun Shine to the King of Gamearth in order to stop the invading Nexgen grunts and save your planet. The original responsibility belonged to the legendary warrior who wielded Shine, and looked a lot like Link, but he passed it onto Rise after being gunned down. After this, it feels as if the story is just referred to here and there without any focus on it. The story had so much potential to be amazing after this point, but after playing the game through to its entirety, it almost felt like the story was just given up on completely. However, it is hard to be a harsh critic when the game is only about two to four hours long, depending on how motivated you are to complete it. It has to be nearly impossible to build an amazing story, create interesting characters that go through significant character development, and ensure the game itself stays fresh all within less than four hours. In my opinion, such a task can only be done with a much longer amount of time, assuming that everything is executed properly. In the end, I do give them credit for attempting to create a structured story within such a small amount of time.
Getting past the storyline, we are greeted with a shooting, puzzle-platformer, side-scroller. In order to progress, you must clear all the enemies off your screen, or complete a puzzle just like any other side-scroller. Your weapon, Shine, will come to access different types and modes of ammunition as you progress through the game, which you will utilize both in combat and in a variety of puzzles throughout the game. The different unlockables you will come across throughout the game are implemented into puzzles and combat in very interesting ways, making all the unlockables still viable by the end of the game. Other than that, this is pretty much what the entire game consists of, with just a few boss fights inserted here and there. Overall, the gameplay is pretty straightforward, and the controls for the game for the most part feel very fluid, aside from switching between different types and modes of ammo and reloading.
Alongside the game is this absolutely glorious soundtrack that just melds perfectly with the graphics and art style. There is not a single track in the game that feels out of place with what is happening on the screen, making everything pretty coherent.
A serious issue I had with the gameplay is that I found it unfairly hard at times. No, the solution “getting good” does not work with this game. I would be stuck on a part of the game for over twenty minutes because there was no skill involved, but rather getting lucky and praying that projectiles would miss you. Rise dies within two to three hits, and at times there is a never ending steam of enemies flying at you, while shooting multiple projectiles at you. Your only means of living is to take cover, if there even is cover provided, and take shots here and there. However, your cover is destructible, so taking cover for long periods of time will not do you any good. This led to some pretty frustrating moments because I knew that there was nothing personal I could have done in order to live. I would much rather get frustrated knowing that I am not good enough skill wise, or I am just playing bad and the game is punishing me for it. If you are like me, you want a game to push your skills so you can feel accomplished when you finally progress with the game, not feel relieved that you passed a section of the game you knew was ridiculously and unfairly hard. I felt as if the difficulty took away just a little bit more from whatever story there was, as I was more focused on living more than half of the time.
Though it may seem like I found many faults with Rise & Shine, I truly did enjoy playing it. These problems that I have pointed out here are not game breaking problems, especially with a game with a maximum play time of about four hours. If it were considerably longer, then the game would really have some major issues. Overall, Rise & Shine is a game I would consider recommending, but only in small doses at a time to prevent frustration.
- Interesting mechanics that brings freshness to the side-scroller
- Soundtrack, graphics, and art style are absolutely incredible
- Storyline is pretty much non-existent and/or incoherent
- Unfairly hard at times
- Some controls took away from the fluidity of the game
Reviewed on: Xbox One; Also Available on; PC; Publisher: Adult Swim; Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team; Players: Single Player; Released: January 13, 2017; ESRB: Mature; MSRP: $14.99; Official Site
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher