Game review: Rise & Shine – cool and pretty, but not one for the uninitiated

Despite pure action gameplay, over-the-top weapons, stunning visuals, and surprisingly three-dimensional characters, Rise & Shine is difficult to play and probably not one for casual gamers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 January, 2017, 10:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 January, 2017, 10:02pm

Rise & Shine

Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team

3 stars

The problem with postmodern, tongue-in-cheek, parody/homage/tribute games – apart from the fact the market is flooded with them – is that they rarely satisfy. They’re too snappy, too quick, too witty for their own good, and that apparent sharpness is rarely applied to the gameplay.

Still, Rise & Shine – which is loaded with innumerable references to classics of the past, everything from mushroom kingdoms to familiar RPG settings – had us fooled for a bit.

Players take the reins of spunky kid Rise and his weapon, which of course is named Shine. You need to blast your way through a characteristically classic side-scrolling run-and-gun shooter, in an admittedly beautiful setting.

The visuals are stunning for an indie release, with bursting-to-life details and packed with Easter eggs that any style of player would be happy with. Characters are surprisingly three-dimensional, both in design and in their levels of depth. And the gameplay is pure action, a brain-blasting blend of over-the-top weapons and bosses who really put up a fight.

In fact, they put up too much of a fight. Right about the time of our 634th death, it became apparent that while the developers really love classic adventure games, their favourite release is apparently the notoriously difficult Dark Souls. Rise is ruthless: it rarely lets up, especially when you reach the latter levels.

As you progress, the screen becomes full of lightning-quick enemies, wayward gun blasts and barrages of deadly projectiles. The difficulty level is horrendous.

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In most painfully difficult games, at least you learn something after each death and get a chance to move on from your mistakes. But Rise & Shine just obliterates you with no redemption in sight.

It is cool and pretty, and probably not made for casual gamers any way, but we didn’t take a shine to it.