Rise & Shine Review: Saturday Morning Masochism

February 18th, 2017 -

Every now and then you’ll see an article talking about the graphics in games and how they don’t matter. Hell, I even took at stab at writing about graphics eight years ago, which is so long I don’t know how I even managed to bother – and it’s obvious when you start to see where it goes. In any case, while graphics won’t necessarily make or break a game, they are the first thing someone will notice. What was I excited to see today? Screenshots from the FF VII remake. What do they show? Graphics – or more specifically, how the game looks. They also showed some menus for the battles, but if I show the screens to my parents, all they’ll care about is how nice it looks. You know what else looks nice? This game.

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When I was looking through upcoming games a few months ago, I was taken aback when I saw a screen from Rise & Shine and had to see more. After watching footage, I knew I at least had to check it out. As I’m sure I’ve written in the past, I have no shame in buying games purely for their aesthetics. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m awful at fighting games, but I bought Street Fighter 4 because I thought it looked great at the time. Though to be honest, I wish they still did sprites – even King of Fighters has left that style behind. So anyway, I play the game a couple months later having forgotten exactly what the game was, and it took me by surprise.

You’ll spend your time on Gamearth, a planet where characters from games live in peace and provide protection for the others, but is invaded rather violently. And when I say violently, I mean the complete opposite of the bright, cheery colors and style the game provides. Much in the way that game and movie trailers show dark and gritty violence with completely contradictory soundtracks, or in Mr. White’s torture scene with Stuck in the Middle With You playing in the background, this game tricks you with bright and cheery style and juxtaposes it with gruesome deaths. The contrast between what you expect and what you get is completely unexpected, and yet it fits like a root beer float with french fries.

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So aesthetics aside, what is going on here? Basically, it’s a side scrolling twin stick shooter. While it’s a short journey, it’s far from an easy one. The gruesome deaths that contrast the colors are something you’ll see a lot of as you play. While sometimes it’s based on your carelessness, other times it’s used to teach you how to do certain portions of a level. Other times it’s because you just plain suck and should stop trying. Really though, your first time through the game, you can expect to die as if you’re playing a Souls game.

When it comes to the combat, your gun Shine will offer unlimited respawns, which is helpful due your low life being just a kid. While he provides you with unlimited ammunition, you will have to reload him. You can collect upgrades to increase the amount of bullets per clip, and you’ll also receive upgrades to what you’ll be shooting as well. These will serve to solve certain puzzles, such as charging up batteries or destroying a power source you couldn’t access without a remote controlled bullet. The different bullets also serve as having strengths and weaknesses against various enemies. While it never gets too deep, as you’ll end up just pointing and shooting as you take cover after a certain period of time, it does what it sets out to achieve – and it does so well.

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On top of all the bullet hells you’ll make your way through on your path to saving the world, you’ll be treated to some comic panels for storytelling, for which the writing is pretty great. Living on a planet with game characters opens up quite a variety of options for humor, and will undoubtedly lead to referential humor for anyone that’s been playing games in the past couple decades.

While it isn’t perfect, Rise & Shine has a lot of heart, and it knows what it wants to be and executes that on many levels. If you’re looking for a game that’s as hard as it is beautiful, but you don’t want to sink too much time into it because you have other things to be doing with your life, this may be the perfect thing for you. If you’re a fan of twin stick shooting side scrollers, it’s hard not to recommend this one.

BUY

Pros

  • Beautiful World, Beautiful Deaths
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Doesn’t Hold Your Hand…

Cons

  • …Really Though, Enjoy the First Level’s Difficulty
  • Wish it Fleshed Out the Story More

Rise & Shine was developed by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team and published by Adult Swim Games. The game launched on X1 and PC on January 13th, 2017 for $14.99. The game was provided to us for review on X1 and PC. If you’d like to see more of Rise & Shine, check out the official site.

 

Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.

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