Title: Rise & Shine
Version Tested: PC
Available On: Xbox One, PC
Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
Publisher: Adult Swim
Genre: Adventure & Puzzle
Official Site: Rise & Shine
Release Date: 1/12/17
Where To Buy: Xbox Live, Steam
Developed by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team and published by Adult Swim, Rise & Shine is a very interesting premise for a game. At its core, it’s an action adventure game, where the main protagonist Rise and his snarky talking (and shooting) gun sidekick Shine must fight to defeat the warmongering Space grunts of Nexgen. The introduction of puzzles reveals the game’s unique method of using Shine’s bullets as a method of results in some very fun and creative puzzle solving.
Unfortunately, outside of the one area with a mini game like puzzles (basketball, skeet shooting, and survival), the overall gameplay and puzzles in Rise & Shine wear thin very quickly. What starts out as a promising platformer eventually devolves into a repetitive, generic modern day Metal Gear Slug with puzzles.
Rise & Shine’s genericness begins with its story, as the attempted fourth wall breaking and video game callbacks fall short in my eyes. Rise and Shine’s overall mission is to find the one device that can end the war (ala Deus Ex Machina), a notable cliche. But while Shine’s commentary on the situations – “What a lazy death animation the whole trembling while exploding thing was done years ago” – is certainly meant to be satirical, it feels like more of a crutch than a creative storytelling device. While names like The Legendary Hero, The Mega Badass, and The Legendary Wizard are a cute commentary on redundancy in gaming, they aren’t enough to fill the void when it comes to the game’s plot and adds no value to the gameplay either.
While Rise & Shine’s action is fast paced and stimulating, the gameplay eventually becomes tiresome. The precision required in specific sequences feels challenging at first, but becomes more as it progresses, as luck is more important than skill when it comes to defeating a boss. An example being my boss battle with the Giant Killer Robot that needed to be defeated three times in order to win. After dying a number of different times, attempting to learn his attacks through trial and error, the timing of his attacks never felt the same. The lack of checkpoint after each big red button shot – don’t even get me started on how annoying making that shot was – would have been a bit more bearable if there was a progression in the robots attacks, instead, he just uses the same attacks from before, just faster.
Rise & Shine’s artwork certainly is fantastic, as the hand artwork and scaled backgrounds are fantastic. While it may be a minor aspect of the game, I really enjoyed the unique jumping animation, as Rise’s jump is propelled by Shine discharging while on the boys back. Outside of the graphics and animations, there are a number of confusing issues in regards it’s presentation as well. The choice to present the cinematic aspects of the game in comic panels is another odd choice considering it’s focused on making fun of game cliches but switches to another medium while adding in random voiceovers here and there. It’s a small gripe but it just felt like a missed opportunity, but it reflects just how all over the place the tone of the game really feels as well. While Adult Swim is no stranger to violence and pushing the envelope, the visceral death animations for enemies and even 10-year-old Rise just feel out of place, even if the plot is supposed to be satirical.
As with a lot of my experiences with Indie Games, Rise & Shine starts out with a lot of potentials. The unique combination of arcade shooters and puzzle elements – affectionately called think and gun by the team’s developers – begins promising but never evolves into anything different from what was learned at the outset. A non-existent plot, outside of making fun of old game cliche, a really weird ending and haphazard tone turn what could have been a satirical romp into the very thing the game was poking fun at. It not shocking that Rise & Shine is developed by adult swim because it feels like a flash game on their website instead of a retail $14.99 product. I’d recommend simply going back and playing Alien Hominid on Newgrounds if you are looking for an actual shoot-em up platformed because Rise & Shine felt more like Fall and Dull.
- Gameplay: Promising Mechanics eventually become redundant
- Graphics: Beautiful hand drawn art and neat animations
- Sound: Lacking in anything other than small voice overs and forgettable background music
- Presentation: Conflicting tone that underwhelms at attempts at satire
- Aesthetically pleasing art and animation
- Creative Premise
- Fails to progress unique gameplay elements
- Frustrating Combat
- Lazy Storytelling