“Bullets, bullets, and … well more bullets. Rise & Shine shows us it’s big guns!”
It’s a couple of weeks past Christmas, so naturally most gamers are in that wonderful phase where they have more games to play and enjoy than a Hasbro catalogue. That being said it’s always easy to miss hidden gems, especially when they come out so soon after the Christmas period has ended but fortunately for me, as a game reviewer, I tend to get indie games rammed down my throat with my Christmas turkey. It’s not a bad thing, especially as it opens up a whole new world of games with great potential, and it’s reviews like this which I really do enjoy the most.
As you can probably tell from the opening of the review, Rise & Shine is one of several indie games I’ve picked up in the recent times that I really enjoy. Rise & Shine is the soon to be released, new 2D platform arcade type shooter which is due to hit the Xbox One and PC on 13th January 2017. The game is developed by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team (awesome name, right?!), who you may know of if you’ve played Supermagical or Pro Zombie Soccer. The game is published by Adult Swim Games, who you’ll also probably know of if you’ve stayed up all night and smoked something which wasn’t technically ‘legal’. If you fancy a bit of light reading, Invision Game Community did an interview with Enrique Corts, a game developer for Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team which can be read here .
Rise & Shine is exactly what you’d expect from an arcade type shooter, so it’s straight into a 30-second tutorial, then a bit of backstory and transitions nicely into firing your bullets into as many enemies skulls as you can possibly imagine (sweet!). The story begins with Gamearth, a planet inhabited by all the lovable arcade game characters you love and cherish (think space invaders aliens, Qbert, Pacman etc.) being invaded by grunt mercenaries and torn apart by war. Many are being killed, with many more injured.
You play as a young boy by the name of Rise, who after a brief encounter with a legendary warrior, is given the ultimate handgun, Shine. Shine’s not just any old handgun though, he’s a badass who can talk, be sarcastic and give you some seriously sassy comments. The game’s objective involves you getting through an army of soldiers and making your way to the King, where the king will use Shine to create the ultimate weapon that will cleanse the land of the evil soldiers.
As far as an arcade shooter goes, the story is pretty good and actually gives you a purpose to progress through the game, furthermore, you get to meet several different characters and traverse the fun environments that the game has to offer on the way to the King. Realistically, the game isn’t really supposed to be for the story, whilst it does offer some really positive attributes, this games all about the guns, the glory and the gaping holes that you’re planning to leave in your opponents (no innuendo intended).
As you progress through the numerous levels you’ll find new and exciting upgrades for Shine that will allow you to overcome new obstacles and roadblocks. A very short while into the game, you’ll get some homing bullets, which when fired, you’ll be able to position using your mousepad and navigate to where you want it to go, you’ll get a few more as the game progresses, and even some different bullet types, which will all come in really handy and be effective against different mechanics the game will throw at you.
During your travels, you’ll also be pitted against some ‘boss’ type enemies, which will prove to be a little more challenging than the usual grunts that you’ve fought. Most of the time though it’s just a case of learning the mechanics and sticking to them, but some can be quite challenging and difficult. Fortunately, the game does well to mix everything up, so you won’t always be staying behind cover and firing from afar, sometimes you’ll need to dash into combat, guns blazing and eyes burning, though you’ll probably die a couple of times…
That kind of brings me to the next point in my review in that the game is actually pretty difficult. I’ve never really found any difficulty with platform games, and most can be completed without any real challenging, that being said Rise & Shine has a bit of a sharper learning curve, and whilst it’s not completely impossible to finish the game, you will die quite a bit more than you’d probably like to. Fortunately, you have infinite lives, but unfortunately you could be like me, and whilst your infinite lives may be forever, you’re pride will quickly result in a game over (sob).
Whilst I’m not entirely sure if this next point was intentional for the developers on the list, I actually found the game to be quite funny. There are some really fun comebacks that Shine uses and I found myself laughing at quite a few of the cutscenes and different levels. If it wasn’t intentional, then I’m really sorry for the developers, but you just made an unintentionally funny game, so maybe the company needs a change of direction? If it was intentional, then you’re the hilarious game was very well received!
The controls and combat are actually pretty easy to get used to, whilst you may have a bit of an issue at first (for PC users) of holding down the right mouse button to keep your gun drawn, it’s pretty easy to overcome and before long you’ll be shooting with the best of them. Furthermore, the controls are kept to a minimum, so you won’t need to keep too many fingers hovering over your keyboard to be able to fight effectively. The tutorial does a great job of explaining how everything works, but honestly, it’s really easy to pick up, and in this kind of genre, easy is effective.
Cosmetically, the game really shines through and whilst the game is fantastic to play it’s also amazing visually. The tone of the game is that it’s very cartoonish and the graphics do well to resemble that feature in a very effective way. The cutscenes of the game are all very detailed and offer a comic book storyboard kind of theme. The environments, the characters, the enemies and the bullets are all incredibly detailed and visually great. One of my main worries, when I play games such as this, is that I can never tell where the background stops and the enemy firing at me begins, but Rise & Shine does well to highlight the difference between the two, so you will never get confused.
Sound-wise, the game also does very well. The effects of the different guns, the different interactable objects, and even the background music are all very well received. I can’t really think of any negatives that spring to mind that I’ve found whilst playing. Each background music sets the tone of the different area, or enemy that you’re facing and really compliments the game very well. I have to say though, I love the sound of the gun firing!
Overall, the game is actually really fun to pick up and play. Whilst you probably could sit there for hours on end, playing every little aspect of it, there’s actually a massive amount of pick up and play value in it, in that when you next have a couple of hours free, you can always hop on for a quick hour and shoot some bad guys.
Story, graphics, sound, value, and gameplay all come through with pretty positive scores, so I have no negatives about the game, but the real winner of all of them is the entertainment factor that the game presents. Whilst I find most arcade shooter games a bit of a bore, with the same old, same old situations of ‘shoot that guy, then this guy, then that guy again’, Rise & Shine actually mixes things up a little bit, adds an element of puzzles, an element of shooting and mixes it up with a whole heap of gore and bloodshed, what’s not to love?!