Have you ever wondered what the characters and worlds that reside in our favorite video games do? You know, when they’re not being forced to play out our fantasies that is. Me either, even after watching Disney’s Wreck-it Ralph at least 50 times now. You’d think after all these years of playing games that this question would have been asked once in a while.
Game Name: Rise & Shine
Platform(s): PC (reviewed), Xbox One
Publisher(s): Adult Swim Games
Developer(s): Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
Release Date: 1.13.2017
Game Length: 4-5 hours of gameplay
Well, in Rise & Shine, see that things don’t stop because we aren’t playing the games. Here, the citizens of Gamearth live a nice, calming and peaceful life. Simply going on the day to day, when suddenly their entire world is under attack by none other than their neighbors. Not one to enjoy relaxation, the warriors from Planet Nexgen have attacked Gamearth. Slaughtering anyone one they see and generally making quite the mess of everything.
Who will come and save the day? Oh, yes, the legendary hero. Surely he would defeat the invading army and send them packing. At least that’s how it should have gone, instead, our supposed hero suffers a humiliating death. In a shopping maul, er, mall – Of all places. I guess that’s a wrap folks, or is it? No, you see, when the legendary hero was on his way to wherever dead video game characters go, he entrusted the fate of the world to you. A young boy who goes by the name, Rise! A fitting name for one who is so innocent yet now has to rise up and save the day. Oh, yeah and you get to be partners with a very cynical and sarcastic sidearm named, Shine. Together Rise & Shine, head out into the war-ravaged landscape, not knowing what to do or how to do it.
Good thing you’re around to help. You, yes you, the person reading this review. You’re part of this now! You are the guide, the force that governs everything in this game world. It’s your job to see that this wrong is corrected and that this story gets a happy ending!
The team behind Rise & Shine, Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team, has taken the one thing that happens to anyone in any game. Death, it happens to everyone, in every game. Just not to Rise, as he can die as many times as he wants and he’ll respawn, over and over. You see, Shine is a special weapon that grants his owner the able to respawn as many times as needed to get the job done. In most games, dying is the end, but not here. There are no continues, there is no game over. You just keep respawning over and over and over, until you either do what’s needed or you give up.
Thankfully, Rise isn’t as helpless as the enemies think. Thanks to Shine, he’s able to aim diagonally, perform a double jump, dash and use several special abilities. These special abilities range from guided shots, explosive rounds, as well as several types of ammo that are found throughout the game. You’re going to need every one of those as the game is full of enemies but also puzzles that will need to be completed before you can progress. They aren’t exactly hard, but they do require some thought.
When you first start off, Rise & Shine seems like the average 2D side-scroller, and for the most part, it is. It’s not until the first 30 minutes into the game that you realize that it isn’t so simple. The game borrows elements from a lot of games, include the cover system. Scattered around the levels are objects that Rise can hide behind while taking shots from enemies. However, if you hide behind them for too long, they start to fall apart and leaving you unprotected. In addition, not all enemies will sit by while you hide and will charge towards you or even above you, meaning you’ll have to take some sort of action to get avoid dying.
Make no mistake, Rise & Shine is no average shooter. Approaching this game and assuming that you’re just going to run and gun, firing at anything that moves will do nothing but cause you to die. Repeatedly! This title requires not only your ability to quickly dispatch enemies but also how well you can think on your feet. In fact, this is one of the qualities that has drawn me to this title. Levels are full of shooting segments but also puzzles that much be completed before you can continue onward. Your enemies aren’t all just the standard cannon fodder either, as some require some thought on how they need to be taken down.
It’s worth mentioning that the game isn’t just solely based on a 2D side-scroller. There are sections where it changes up and tosses you into a SHMUP segment, which I really enjoyed. There are other mini-games within the game as well. I’d like to say more but then I’d be spoiling the game, so let’s just leave it at you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you encounter them.
This game is simply beautifully well drawn. It’s so captivating to look at that in segments where I was supposed to be playing, I stopped to take a look around. Many of those times lead to a gruesome death, but definitely worth it. The backgrounds are animated and are just as lovely as what’s going on in the foreground. Rise & Shine‘s model detail and animations are exceptionally well done, as is just about everything else in this game. There’s not much here that doesn’t look dull or out of place, it’s quite stunning, to be honest.
While there are several things that stand out in the game, there’s one attention to detail that I thought was well done. The death animations in particular. You don’t have the one and instead have multiple versions, depending on how you die. End up being disintegrated ends up with Rise’s skull rolling on the ground or being completely burnt to a crisp by mistiming a jump over an open flame. Getting killed via a melee attack will result in Rise getting bloodied and then turning into a digital mess.
It’s not just your death animations either, as the enemies you’re up against have their fair share of over the top ones as well. Shoot one in the head and their head explodes with blood flying everywhere, explode one and their entire body lands at various places from their corpse. Of course, there are various other ones that I won’t spoil, let’s just say they’re graphic. You many not want to have any young children watching you play this.
Seeing how the location of Rise & Shine takes place in Gamearth, you’ll see a bit of fan service in the game. Various locations and backgrounds are full of motion and are filled with references to many popular video games, from Super Mario, Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear and various other pop culture stuffs. Even the pesky dog from Duck Hunt makes an appearance. This sort of stuff just needs to be seen to appreciate how good it looks, either in motion or standing still.
The audio in the game is equally impressive. The sound effects are well done, from sounds for firearms being discharged, the electrical zaps, and much more. The music, however, is what puts it over the top. From the opening theme to each musical piece in the game is perhaps on the same footing as several big budget titles. It also could have been me, but I believe that the music is also dynamic when fighting thebosses. It makes me wish that the game had a built in sound test mode, where you could listen to the music.
As with any game, the controls are what can make or break a game. I’m happy to report that the controls in Rise & Shine are nearly perfect. My only complaint with the aiming in, as you aren’t able to aim straight up. I know that’s really minor, yet I’ve found myself in a situation where aiming upwards would have been quite easier than aiming diagonally. Definitely not a deal breaker, just something I wish was available.
Yet, for everything that’s done exceptional well, there are a few things that did frustrate me. There are several sections in the game that are simply really cheap. The difficulty in Rise & Shine at times is simply way too high, even on the normal setting. I don’t even want to know how hard it is on the other difficulty, Ironman. Sure, you’ll eventually get past them but not likely before the frustration factor sets in. The moment that happens you’re no longer having fun. I’ve faced this during my initial play through and It simply annoyed me, countless times. The game is perhaps a bit too difficult for it’s over good. Though I suspect that many gamers wouldn’t have it any other way.
When fighting the bosses, there aren’t clear indications of what needs to be done to the point where you’re scratching your head on where you need to shoot them at. Fail to either figure it out or damage it, the boss will simply reset the phase and your progress is lost. Meaning you’ll have to keep trying to you eventually figure it out. Tt would be nice if there was a better indication as to what needs to be done.
I reviewed Rise & Shine on a modest gaming PC which serves as both a test bench and my HTPC. The game on a mechanical drive instead of an SSD, just to see if it made any difference. It loaded fast on both drives. I can only state that it didn’t make any difference regardless when it was installed. Performance-wise, the game ran perfectly. I never encountered any slowdown, lag or anything that would otherwise hinder my gameplay. This also tested on a lower spec laptop and while it ran a decreased framerate, it was still playable and just as enjoyable.
I also happen to prefer running Steam in Big Picture mode, since it gives you that console-like experience with the update. This is the one area with Rise & Shine that I have issues with. When you launch the game, it will throw up a launcher where you can change the resolution and run the game in full-screen or window mode. That’s fine and all, but the issue here is that if you’re using a controller/gamepad to play, there’s no way past this. You’re forced to grab your keyboard/mouse and click on the ok button to proceed. It’s not a huge issue, yet it gives me the impression that the PC version was merely a port.
As far as PC-centric options go, you’re able to remap the keyboard/mouse and controller buttons. You’re able to adjust the sound and music volume, and the dead zones for the analog sticks. That’s it, though to be perfectly honest you really don’t need to have any reason to adjust anything else.
*Rise & Shine was provided to The Outerhaven for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.*
Rise & Shine PC Game Review
Definitely worth the wait
Rise & Shine is a fantastic adventure and a change of pace for the traditional 2D side-scroller. A great looking game that plays well and has a lot going for it. Great gameplay, interesting characters and a nice change of protagonist as well. Sadly, the game is a bit on the short side and can be beaten in 4-5 hours. The ride is definitely worth the time spent, yet once you beat the game the first time, there's nothing to do afterward.