introductionWhen you see a game like Rise & Shine which features a little boy named Rise wielding a revolver named Shine, and made by a studio named Super Mega Team, eyebrows are raised and sanities questioned. To build on the scheme of questionable naming, the game also features characters such as The Megabadass and a legendary warrior known only as, the Legendary Warrior.
Add to this a storyline where Rise stumbles across the Legendary Warrior as he breathes out his last breath and is then given charge of Shine to go and save the world with absolutely no objection from his mother, and you start to suspect that this design studio may have been built on top of a meth lab and were inhaling some of the fumes. However, you know what they say about judging a book? In this case my judgement wasn't just wrong, that book slapped me upside the head for daring to think that its design was anything less than sublime.
Despite the impression I've given thus far, Rise & Shine is one of the best surprises I've had in a very long time. Everything I just mentioned which at face value, seem like questionable design choices are exactly what turn this quirky game into a fun filled experience that kept me glued to my screen in a way that most modern games are simply unable to do.
It needs mentioning that I only played a demo version of Rise & Shine so I was only able to cover a tiny piece of the game.
Design and storyRise & Shine features some great 2D graphics, mixed with a little old school 8 bit. Just like everything else in this game, it makes no sense to include 8 bit graphics, and also like the rest of the game, it simply works. The art style is cartoony, yet gruesome, similar to what we've seen in the Borderlands series, just a little less grown up. The audio is similarly impressive even though the dialogue is conveyed entirely through speech bubbles. This leaves quite a task for the sound effects to pull off and I'm happy to report that they do a phenomenal job. Each and every sound you hear from the firing of Shine to the splat from an enemy as a bullet enters his cerebral cortex, is fantastic. That said, it would have been even better if they had some voiced dialogue as well.
The storyline as mentioned before is stupid, idiotic, cliche, elementary and yet it's so fun and entertaining, I couldn't wait to see what happened next. What kind of kid picks up a talking gun from a complete stranger and decides that he is destined to save the world? What kind of mother let's her pre-teen son carry a gun, much less go out into a post-apocalyptic world in search of a mystical being known only as The Wizard? What kind of a mother names her son Rise? All good questions but none of them need answering. All you need to know is that the story in Rise & Shine makes no sense, and that's exactly how it should be.
GameplayRise and Shine is a 2D adventure shooter game with similar mechanics to Metal Slug, one of my favourite arcade games of all time. You run around, jump over obstacles, slide from side to side to avoid explosions and duck behind cover when the battle gets intense. When the time for action arrives you can then move your mouse pointer in the direction you wish to shoot which makes for a very accurate aiming system although one that does take a little getting used to.
During the game you find different types of ammo and even different shooting mechanisms, one of which lets you follow your bullet and control the direction it moves so you can hit enemies behind obstacles. This single mechanic makes for some interesting puzzles that can keep you busy for quite some time. It becomes especially difficult when you're fighting a boss robot who's constantly dropping missiles from the sky and somehow between dodging them you have to steer a bullet around him to hit a giant red button on the back of his head. The battles in this game can get pretty intense in the most spectacular way.
To my dismay I was only able to experience about an hour's worth of gameplay before the demo came to an end. I was still enjoying the ridiculous story when suddenly I was back at the main menu with only the option to start a new game instead of finding out what happens next. I think at that moment, a little piece of me died inside.
ConclusionIf I haven't been clear yet, I loved every moment I spent with Rise and his egomaniac weapon Shine. The story is fun and although I haven't gotten through much of it, it does tend to keep you captivated. One thing I loved is that the characters keep poking fun at how unrealistic things are around them. An example is coming across an item to improve Shine and him responding with "Gotta love random stuff floating around in the street".
The gameplay is basic but offers more fun than I've experienced in quite some time. Shooting baddies is delightfully simple and every now and then you are presented with a puzzle to unlock the next area that may take a few minutes of hard number crunching to figure out.
I truly believe that we need more games like Rise & Shine. We are so focused on getting state-of-the-art graphics and deep, intense stories that we've lost touch of what games are supposed to do... Entertain! Rise & Shine has entertainment by the ton and even though I just have the demo, I should find myself returning to it a few more times.