Review: RISE AND SHINE By Adult Swim Games

In a world where all video game characters live among each other and the universe needs to be saved on a yearly basis. One boy will Rise and overcome astonishing feats, blow up hundreds of robots, and engage in epic shooting combat. But can he manage to accomplish his mission? Or will Gamearth succumb to its invaders and perish with all its citizens?

If you think it sounds a bit corny or overdone, you’re right! But that’s the whole point. You see, Rise and Shine doesn’t take itself seriously and it doesn’t have to. It brings very familiar themes and a satirical twist to get you engaged and invested in its characters more so than the lackluster plot. Oh, and it’s fun too.

STORY

Super Mega Team crafted a story that we are all familiar with but in an unfamiliar setting. So there are bad guys and they want to take over the planet…but not just any planet. The citizens of Gamearth is comprised of all the different video game characters found in many franchises. Of course, these are all look-alikes but the game does a great job of making it obvious who these characters are representing. Old school gamers will be glad to hear that majority of these characters are very retro inspired, but there are a few characters with more of a modern inspiration.

You play as a little boy named Rise, who is the son of a VERY familiar looking character that I won’t spoil. The game begins with an invasion; robots killing everyone and the whole place looks like Armageddon. The Legendary Warrior swoops in and saves Rise before receiving a fatal blow. He hands Rise his talking gun named Shine and tells him he needs to save the universe for he is the new carrier of the legendary Shine. Shine is a blunt, wise-cracking gun that brings some humor to the story which is a great welcome, considering Rise is seriously freaking out the entire time, which makes sense considering he’s a ten year old kid whose just been told to save the universe from the clutches of an evil space marine army. Shine’s dialogue brings a nice balance to the story, reminding the player that the game isn’t taking itself serious and pokes fun at games in general.

Throughout the 5 hour campaign I wasn’t blown away by the story to say the least, but I was invested in the characters. Super Mega Team did a great job creating these likable characters with little-to-no backstory. I would have liked to have seen some more backstory on some of these characters, at least for Rise or Shine. As for the “familiar” characters, I expected to see a lot more characters than there were. The game shows a few that are obvious as to who they are, but not many. Only about a handful or less were spotted in the campaign. It would have been nice to see more characters inspired by different franchises than was offered. But, the ones that do appear in the game are definitely satisfying.

GAMEPLAY

Rise and Shine is a 2D side scroller, cover based, shooter. Shine has the magical ability to never run out of ammo, although you still need to reload the used clip, so you can imagine how much shooting there is in this game. I reviewed the game on PC using a controller which I felt worked best for the game over mouse and keyboard. The shooting felt smooth and accurate majority of the time. One of my gripes was that when you use mouse and keyboard you have a constant reticule on screen, so you know exactly where Rise will aim once you ready your gun. But, using a controller completely eliminated that feature, which made shooting from cover a tad more difficult. Needless to say, it didn’t break the game for me or ruin the experience, it was just an odd omission that would have been a welcome feature.

There are infinite respawns, which is a fantastic thing considering you will die A LOT. Checkpoints are plentiful for the most part and the game has a few boss battles. The bosses typically require you to use your newly gained upgrades for Shine to beat them. Now, this is something that I wish had more depth. The “upgrades” are items you can find while playing through the campaign, but there aren’t many. If memory serves me right, there are just a handful of upgrades that are unlocked as you progress through the game, which I honestly felt like most of them should have been unlocked from the beginning of the game. These upgrades felt like you’ve been playing a watered down version of the game from the start, as opposed to an actual game-changer.

That being said, the game is wildly entertaining and addicting at times. Shooting through hordes of flying robots and exploding the brolic space soldiers into bloody soldier jam was just as fun as it sounds. Levels consisted of waves of enemies, taking cover, more waves of enemies, taking cover again, easy puzzle section, boss, repeat. A typical formula for any 2D side scroller but it was entertaining to the very last bullet shot. Overall, the gameplay was solid, just wished there was more depth to the lackluster upgrades and more variety in gameplay. There were a few standout moments that made you think it was changing things up, but you were just doing the same thing you’ve been doing through the entire campaign.

GRAPHICS

This game is beautiful. The art direction is spot on, levels look fantastic and player models are crafted in such a way that does justice to their look-alike counterparts. When you play Rise and Shine, you feel like you’re playing a Saturday morning cartoon and that’s a good thing! Everything from textures, smoothness, and color fit the feel of the game perfectly.

REPLAYABILITY

Rise and Shine was such a fun campaign but I wish there was more. You’re only option after completing the campaign is to restart on the higher difficulty. I just felt there could have been more added to make this feel like a complete experience. I know Co-op is a bit of a stretch but it would have been great to have either challenge maps or the ability to unlock new weapons, characters, etc.. something to keep me playing. But, once you’ve completed the 4-5 hour campaign you have seen it all.

FINAL VERDICT

Rise and Shine is a welcome entry into the 2D side scroller genre. It captures what made retro games fun and challenging (and maybe frustrating at times) but successfully maintaining that sense of nostalgia and entertainment. It falls short in replayability but makes up for it in a charming and humorous journey.

Also, playing as a ten year old kid with a talking gun that shoots infinite ammo while exploding and headshotting countless space grunts is badass. Bad. Ass.

 

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