Occasionally someone has the tenacity to make a game that actually has you think before you shoot, instead of killing everything in sight. Rise and Shine’s gameplay borrows heavily on the bullet hell and shoot em-up genres, but many of the obstacles require the focus and concentration you’d expect when tackling a quirky puzzle title.
You play as the titular character Rise and his magic, talking gun called Shine through a world ravaged by a futuristic technological war. The story is presented mostly in comic book form, a barebones plot that squeezes in as many references to game franchises as possible. While it at times comes off as cheesy and unnecessarily meta, some of the homages to things like Half Life, Mario and even Duck Hunt made me smile.
Think before you shoot
By shooting your way through waves of enemies you can usually progress pretty easily, but here you might get stumped pretty easily. With the various attachments you get for your weapon, you overcome new types of puzzles and enemies, but that doesn’t stop it from being a tough game to crack. You’ll be blasting through waves of bad guys, but then be stuck trying to figure out how to open a door for 20 minutes.
Pace is a hard thing to master in any game and it’s where Rise has some of its biggest flaws. The concept is novel enough to say that it’s unlike any other shoot em-up you’ve played, but it’s definitely not the kind of thing to pick up for mindless action, something that sometimes feels missing from the experience. You’ll die a lot, but the punishment isn’t too rough and most of the time you’ll be eager to try again.
A world to die for
Rise and Shine’s best quality is in the art design. The cut scene segments explaining the story lack the depth of detail displayed in the character movements and the world you’re marauding through. The gorgeous visual style of the game’s levels makes you nearly forget there’s even a story, as you’re placed in lush, hand drawn environments that are joyous to take in. This is only made better through its approach to cartoonish gore which has blood and guts splattered across the place.
This is a definitely a well-polished piece of work, but like a lot of small studio games released these days it has limited replayability. You’re certainly not going to be playing it for the story, but it could be fun to revisit some of the tougher levels as a way to hone your skills, along with the minigames that come up in the later segments.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Rise and Shine was provided by Sandbox Strat for review.