Gorgeous artwork, a wonderful score, and a brutal world, Rise and Shine promises so much more but ultimately falls short. Developed by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team (That’s a mouthful) and published by Adult Swim, Rise and Shine was released in January 2017 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The game tells a tale of a video game world where characters know they are in a game and are controlled by a “guide”. The game follows the story of an eleven-year-old known as Rise who is chosen to be the carrier of the sacred talking gun known as Shine to save his planet Gamearth from the Space Grunts of the planet Nexgen.
The art style and artwork of the game is absolutely gorgeous with beautiful backgrounds that feature cameos and references to many famous games of the past. The artwork has a very paint brushed and comic book style vibe going for it which was very pleasant throughout the game and was reflected quite well in the different areas of the game. From vivid beaches to a dark cemetery, it had me taking screenshots every couple of minutes because of just how good the game looked. Characters in-game have a comic book-esque art style that separates them from the background of the game and the giant bosses and aliens are also really well done.
Along with the visuals, the game has a very good musical score that engrossed me further and made tense fights much tenser while also setting a tone for the level and that particular part of the level. The music had me bobbing my head and I enjoyed it a lot. But, there were times where the music was too loud compared to everything else in the game and I had to turn down the audio because of how loud it got. This seemed like a mixing issue as the bullets and projectiles sounded normal.
However, the game could not keep me charmed with just those factors, as I found the rest of the game to be highly frustrating, bland and unnecessarily difficult. The game has infinite respawns thankfully and a regenerating life bar but that won’t really matter because you’ll be getting 1-shot most of the times. The gameplay has a couple of basic mechanics that include movement, jumping and dashing. You have 2 types of bullets to choose from and 3 types of the type of bullet i.e explosive, RC or normal. These mechanics are introduced once at a time in the game but after they are introduced they were over-used for a certain part and then just had no use until a boss battle. The game wants you to play smart and fast but you won’t be able to because the game controls are somewhat sluggish and sometimes you die because of absolute BS. The aiming was really bad with both a controller and KB/M which led to a ton of missed shots and death.
Now, I’ve played Dark Souls and I’m fine with dying in a game a countless number of times, as long as it is because of my lack of skill and not because of the games insanely high difficulty curve or clunky controls. This game had me pulling my hair out because of how many times I died unfairly. I would somehow get acid in my spot of cover, or a type of bot would come behind my cover and fire at me and kill me and sometimes the cover would just outright not work leading me to get hit even though I was in cover and it was still intact. Or during boss fights where a boss had a couple of moves that they would use but sometimes out of nowhere a random missile or projectile would just fly out and hit me from the top of the screen during the part where you are bringing down their Lives in which there are NO ENEMIES OR PROJECTILES WHATSOEVER. I spent about an hour and twenty minutes on just the last two fights of the game that were insanely difficult. The game itself is an hour long but with the frustratingly hard difficulty, they’ve padded it to around 3-4 hours which is just cheap and ruined my experience of the game. It also features collectibles whose purpose I do not know as it was never stated in the game but they’re just there.
The game did have some fun minigames that had you use your bullets for basketball, clay pigeon shooting, and a dodging bullet hell game. There was also a stage where the game turned into a side-scrolling shoot-em-up game where you had to survive until the timer ran out. It also featured a lot of references and cameos to games like Metal Gear Solid, Mario, Pacman, Galaga, Duck Hunt, Half-Life.
Rise and Shine is a game that promises a lot but fails to provide a fun experience that even the beautiful artwork, musical score and references can’t save which will make you wish you were playing one of the games that it is parodying or the various other platforming 2D shooters on the market right now.