Rise & Shine: Six Months Later
I was provided a copy of the game for Xbox One by Adult Swim Games, publisher of Rise & Shine.
Link is dead and evil Marcus Fenix, your father, is trying to take over the world. Now it's up to a 10 year old boy to save earth with the help of a talking gun. That's Rise & Shine and I loved it.
Rise & Shine is a 2 hour-ish side scrolling puzzle shooter set in a world full of video game characters. Sure, Mario might look slightly different and has a D on his hat, and yeah Link is wearing a blue tunic instead of a green one, but if you've played video games before then you'll likely pick up on a bunch of familiar faces throughout the game.
Rise & Shine is the Wreck It Ralph of video games.
This game is full of small puzzle segments that keep the game fresh throughout the entire playthrough. A variety of enemies attacking you at the same time can be a challenge because you have to learn about target priority. The main obstacle to get past, particularly on controllers, is the weapon aiming in a 2D 360 degree circle. It feels like it's an element designed for using a mouse and so having any precision with a thumbstick takes a little getting used to. That being said, by the end of the game I was just looking at the enemies and landing hits on them within the first shot or two.
Rise & Shine is full of unique gameplay moments that are what the game will be remembered for. Smart decisions by the development team and some outside the box thinking make Rise & Shine what it is today. I won't spoil it here for you, but you'll know what I mean if you have played the game.
The music sets the mood both while exploring the world and during the hectic moments of boss battles. The hand drawn environments are simply beautiful and the smooth animations are almost flawless. During my playthrough there was one part where the framerate dipped and a makeshift bridge to leave the area vanished, meaning I had to kill myself and repeat the two minute section. I can honestly say though that that was the only time I experienced any technical issues, which may be thanks to the bug squashing update a few months ago.
The final battle of the game reminded me of something akin to defeating Dr. Robotnik with pieces flying everywhere as an explosion slowly rumbled to existence, and I feel like that's just another example of the nostalgia factor in Rise & Shine. After finishing the game and returning to the main menu, I was greeted with a new Iron Man mode. Die once and you have to start all over again. While I don't know if I'll be putting myself through that just yet, I may explore the base game again to see what easter eggs I missed out on the first time.
Here at Six Months Later Gaming we have the luxury of taking into account how the community has reacted and what they've said about the game since it launched six months prior. The process involves us writing the bulk of our review and then seeing what everyone else thought. We get to see world record speed runs (just over 30 minutes!) and wonder how much practice and skill that must take. We also get caught off guard sometimes.
I am honestly shocked that Rise & Shine has received such a mixed reaction from both critics and players. Calls of unfair difficulty and a shallow storyline I believe are unfounded. You will die a lot during the game but it always feels like it's your fault and you can do better next time. It's never unfair, so I'm surprised to see those comments. As for the storyline... This is a side scroller, not The Last of Us. What's the storyline in a Mario or Sonic game?
Complaints citing the high price of Rise & Shine ($15USD on all platforms) have some merit at this point in its lifecycle, especially coming off the Steam sales, but at launch that is a completely reasonable price tag. I can't imagine how long it took to hand draw literally everything in the game, so based on that alone it's worth $15USD. The game was half price as recently as a few weeks ago and I would highly recommend picking it up whenever it dips under $10USD again.