REVIEW / Rise & Shine

Adorable shooter that pays respect to it’s origins

Video Review

Full review below

The indie gaming scene is full of both shooters and puzzler games, so, what does it take to make one stand out? Isn’t it obvious? Simply combine the two together. That’s exactly what Super Awesome Mega Team have done to create Rise & Shine, an adorable, hilarious and down right hard shooter with more cameos than an episode of Entourage.

You play as young boy Rise, who has been given a sarcastic, back-chatting gun called Shine, and together they set out to save Gamearth from the onslaught of the ruthless space grunts.

As soon as Rise & Shine loads for the first time you cant help but notice the stunning hand drawn artwork. Sometimes, to take a breather from the brutal gunplay action I would stop to just admire the detail in the deeply layered backgrounds, and not a single backdrop is repeated, making you feel like every level is always evolving.

However, the game wont allow you to spend too much time looking at the artwork, as more often than not there is a relentless bombardment of killer robots or space grunts trying to kill you. And they will kill you. Several times. In fact, a lot.

Adorable Visuals, brutal gameplay

Rise & Shine’s gameplay offers a genuine progressive challenge, every time I thought I’d nailed the gameplay a new mechanics or group of enemies was thrown at me, quickly reminding me thats there still more to come. The game by no means holds your hand through these tricky situation, but I never felt completely overwhelmed, even spending nearly 2 hours on the final boss didn’t get me disheartened, for every death I felt like I had learnt something new.

As you play through the 3 hour story your regularly rewarded with different attachments / ammunition types for Shine. The power-ups not only aid you in defeating the masses of enemies you face but also act a key features in some brilliantly designed puzzles. These puzzles are no where near a tricky as their shooter counterpart, but can require you to stop and think for a minute.

On the console versions of Rise & Shine the switching of the power-up is linked to your shoulder buttons, which feels very comfortable and allow you to continue your assault while finding the right weapon of choice. In the latter stages of the game changing between power-up in inevitable if your to progress; different enemies require either electric or kinetic damage, grenades are needed to defeat shielded enemies and you may even need to safely guide a bullet to a bosses weak point mid battle.

Cameos, Cameos, Cameos.

The story in Rise & Shine is about as generic as they come, someone wants to destroy the world – you’ve got to do everything to stop them. The game tries to tie some emotional attachment within the plot, but with a play though only being 3 hours, most of which is dying, it’s hard to really become emotionally engaged. It’s the brilliant addition of countless retro gaming reference that kept me so engrossed within the world of Gamearth.

The mini cameos often come when your least expecting it, and create one genuinely memorable moments – I mean, that bloody annoying dog form Duck Hunt even makes an appearance, trying to kill you! – It’s these moments that have you thinking ‘did I just see that?’.

Not only do classic characters pop up, the amount of references to the gaming world in general is engaging and almost nostalgic. It was all these respectful nods to classic games the Rise & Shine so clearly draws inspiration from that had me longing for more at the end of my first play through.

Rise & Shine takes players on a beautiful, if not a bit short adventure through the nostalgic world of Gamearth. The simple pick-up-and-play control allow almost anyone to try and shoot their way through the bombardment of the space grunts, however, only the brave (and persistent) will survive the brutally challenging gameplay. If you look past the short campaign then Rise & Shine is one of the best shooter available on your console.