Coming from charmingly-nomadic game developer Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team, Rise and Shine is a shooting-heavy puzzle-platformer for PC and console. It represents the company’s first foray into home-gaming, making their name primarily in mobile titles. Rise and Shine follows the main character Rise on his adventures with his grumpy and really annoying sentient gun, Shine as they solve puzzles and kill enemies to save Gamearth.
Shining Example of Gameplay
The core gameplay of Rise and Shine is based around the use of Shine, the gun, to either kill enemies in the way that guns do or to use special bullets and shooting mechanics to solve various puzzles.
The basic gun play is simple and ramps up nicely with the addition of several new enemy types and mechanics. At its worst, it’s an unchallenging, if still satisfying, point and click adventure game where he primary puzzle is death.
These moments are relatively few and far between, especially since, at the game’s best, you are focusing on and shooting dozens of varied enemies while dodging sprays of bullets or using the cover mechanic to give yourself some respite. The puzzles are spaced out just right to nicely break up the shooting mechanics without becoming boring.
They even link into the rest of the shooting gameplay with similar shoot em up type gameplay where you have to pilot a bullet through a bunch of bullet destroying blobs to get to the thing you are trying to shoot.
Graphical Ying to a Ballistic Yang
This fast and frenetic gameplay is accommodated and enhanced by a fantastic art style. The visuals are a mix of cartoon simplicity with the depth and detail of a painting. There were several moments in the game where this games writer was bowled over by its beauty. Where the art style truly succeeds is in its ability to make the game look like this good while keeping Rise and Shine a fair experience. Every projectile that you have to dodge is easy to spot and track while still fitting in with the overall aesthetic.
The story and writing is supposed to be charmingly self aware and full of references. Unfortunately for the game, this is probably the game’s worst area, with constant jokes that aren’t funny, the self aware attitude coming off as lazy and massive inconsistencies in tone throughout the game. For example, one of the central story conceits is that the holder of Shine cannot die, and will constantly respawn to attempt the challenges again and again, however, mid way through the game, Rise, a ten year old boy caught up in something that he was in no way prepared for, can feel and remember every death.
Unfortunately for this young boy, that immediately makes all of the satisfyingly gory deaths, where Rise gets obliterated in a million different horrifying ways, an incredibly dark and harrowing experience when you think of the immense amount of pain that this poor young boy has been through. This tiny detail completely goes against the rest of the tone within the story and while, if done correctly, this can make a cute and charming game have a far deeper reality to it, in Rise and Shine, the game makes fun of this tone so much that it just comes off as a genuine attempt at a joke.
it completely took me out of the game and ruined a very harrowing moment in the game
There’s another moment that encapsulates this problem perfectly: Rise is captured and separated from Shine and, to escape, Rise, a ten year old child, has to commit suicide in order to respawn, something that it has already been made clear that he can feel and remember immediately after this incredibly dark moment.
Shine makes a joke about how he’s wanted to do that for so long. Not only did this terrible joke not make me laugh, it completely took me out of the game and ruined a very harrowing moment in the game. This is one of the major problems with the game, not necessarily that specific joke, but rather all of Shine’s dialogue. His jokes are terrible, his ‘gruff attitude’ is simply grating and his character arc is forced and nonsensical.
Fails to Rise to the Occasion
Fortunately for Rise and Shine, the bad story and writing do not get in the way of the very solid core gameplay. Unfortunately though, it does lead to its biggest fault, its length. Rise and Shine took me just under two hours to complete and, while the core gameplay is fun, it is barely deep enough to cover those two hours. For a game that costs 15 Euro, there is not enough game here to justify its price and, while what little there is is fun and challenging, it is simply not enough to justify the length or the writing especially when the game has no replay value beyond a change in difficulty. The writing is what really could have made or broke this game and, unfortunately, in Rise and Shine, the writing broke it.
Formats: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC (reviewed)
Publisher: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
Release Date: 13th January 2018
Age Rating: 16+