Reviews January 25, 2017

Rise & Shine

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Reviewed By: Ricardo Benitez
System: Xbox One (also on PC)
Genre: Action
Rated: M
Players: 1
Cost: $14.99
Release Date: 01/13/17
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
 
I am currently facing one of the big bosses featured in Rise & Shine. Roughly halfway through the game, I run into a myriad of bullets signifying a brick wall. As I dodge about, I try to usher my remote guided bullet to where it needs to go. Failing, I end up dying. Again and again; I’m just not quick enough to juggle my armaments and land hits before being blown away. I'm upset. REALLY upset! Like throw my controller across the room and journey outside for a much needed breather. And yet, I’m so driven to beat the game that I jump back in, guns blazing…

Rise & Shine is arcade shooter with puzzle platforming elements – a combination of two genres, offering up twice the challenge. It follows the exploits of Rise, the game’s young protagonist, after his planet is assaulted by Nexgen Space Grunts. During their attack, he witnesses the death of the Legendary Warrior (who looks suspiciously like a certain Nintendo character that is involved in many Legends... eh? eh?!) and is given a magical, wise-cracking gun named Shine. Together, these two heroes take it to the grunts. Fun times!

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As the game progresses, you’ll blast an assortment of bad guys, dodge a multitude of projectiles, and platform your way through each level. New gameplay mechanics are introduced in the form of special bullets. Like the aforementioned guided bullet, used to solve puzzles as well as murder stupid difficult bosses. The idea is to switch between these different bullets, utilizing the right ammo for a given situation. That said, there is an art to the juggling; this isn't a run-n-gun type of game in the traditional sense. You must use the Left Trigger and Right Analog stick to aim, then right trigger to shoot. Bumper buttons are also utilized to switch between different types of bullets while the Left Stick is used to move Rise. It isn’t a bad control scheme but it does take some getting used to. I would even venture to say I'm still not used to it. I have a problem with aiming in this game. I've logged around eight hours and I still miss. A lot!

A lot of my missed shots can be attributed to all of the dashing and jumping I had to do while contending with the controls. With so many enemies converging on my small patch of cover, it grew difficult to switch between different ammo and dodge around – forget about aiming. This of course can lead to a frustrating experience with later levels practically besiege by enemy bullets. That’s not to say that I wasn’t entertained. Completing tough battles brings about such a sense of accomplishment that I can't put the controller down. I mean, just like in any other game I enjoyed toppling bosses. But some of these guys were so tough that just surviving was a feat; I cherished the challenge if you will.  

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Taking a step away from the gameplay, Rise & Shine’s colorful aesthetics are absolutely stellar. So much is hidden in the backgrounds and the animation is the best I've seen in a long while; even better than the awesome Rayman Origins/Legends. If it wasn't for the barrage bullets covering the screen and the constant threat of death, I would say to take time and smell the roses. There is just so much going on visually, it’s a shame that most of it is missed due to the action.  The soundtrack was also great as it effectively drew me into the action. Without missing a beat, the score would swell and I’d be up to my eyeballs in explosions.

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Be prepared to die. A lot. At first is will be due to getting used to the controls. Then because of the bullet-hell encounters. You must have fortitude to continue through. I've rage quit a few times… occasionally crying into a pillow for few hours. But I always returned. I don’t know if I’m a gaming masochist or an adrenaline junky. Either way, I was mostly entertained!

Gameplay: 9
The platforming is great and responsive, however shooting feels a bit loose for the accuracy needed. That said, it is fun once you’ve accepted how difficult it is to complete.
 
Graphics: 10
The beautiful hand drawn stylized artwork, both background and sprites are the best I've seen in years.
 
Sound: 9
The music helps to get the adrenaline pumping!
 
Replay Value: 6
Would most gamers come back after finishing the game? Probably not. That said, those of us who stick it out to the end aren’t the average gamer anyways. We’d do another tour…as long as our controllers are still intact…
 
Final Score:
 
8.5