Featuring more nods than Churchill the Dog.
Rise & Shine is a twin-stick shooter cum platform adventure which feels like very little else we’ve ever played before.
Despite a relatively short running time and a lenient difficulty level, the game’s wacky and imaginative story does ‘shine’ through. Young boy protagonist Rise bears witness to the tragic death of the world’s legendary warrior in the game’s opening stages, and comes into possession of his sentient weapon, Shine, handing him considerably power in the process. It then becomes the responsibility of Rise to keep his people safe – but a familiar face learns of Rise’s escapades and swears to violently halt him in his tracks.
Along the way, half-hidden chests will offer the opportunity to increase your ammo and will add new upgrades to Shine, including electrified bullets, explosives and specially guided shots. These in particular produce a chunk of puzzles as you seek to open doors by firing guided bullet in the direction of the ‘open sesame’ switch, and it’s these bits which tend to offer the game’s most demanding challenge as you get to grips with having full control of the bullet and battle against the frustration of accidentally guiding it out of range prematurely, or crashing it into a wall or enemy that you didn’t intend on hitting.
The game does well to establish a reasonable level of difficulty through its run and gun mechanics. Some enemies, like the mines, are small and tough to hit, especially when they need to be picked off from afar to ensure a safe progression. Meanwhile, other larger enemies hold protective shields, forcing you to arc an explosive shot over the top of them before detonating it when it lands behind them. At points, you’ll find destructible rocks which you’re able to hide behind, but they are quite fiddly to interact with. With bullets raining down on you, you want a quick button tap to allow you to lunge into cover at a moment’s notice, but using the cover here places too much of a focus on your precise standing location when you press the button.
Where Rise & Shine stands apart from its rivals is in its comedy, which is delivered through a number of pop culture nods, particularly those to Nintendo characters and other figures from the world of gaming. Characters resembling members of the Mario Kingdom show up almost throughout the story and offer a nice Easter Egg hunt of sorts which do give the game a degree of replayability – that’s fortunate, because you’ll be able to reasonably plough through the game’s main adventure in the space of ninety minutes.
It’s certainly an interesting experience, but it would be nice to get a little more. Enemies are rather easy to put away, usually taking just the one hit, though bosses do step in to up the ante at the end of each stage. Place this one in the above-average section of the shooter-platformer list.
Rise & Shine
Rise & Shine is an enjoyable if brief romp through a world of gaming nods and shows off a few neat puzzling ideas. There should be more to the package, though.