Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Arcade, Action & Adventure
Release Date: September 27, 2018 (EU & NA)
There’s always a difficulty in making a game that pays a homage or parody to something or draws heavy inspiration from the world of video games as a whole. So, an action-packed platforming game taking place on an entire planet revolving around video games that runs on many gaming theories has the possibility to go very wrong. Developer Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team attempts to avoid any pitfalls with their bullet-hell action title Rise & Shine.
Rise & Shine is an action platforming adventure that combines elements of bullet-hell genre and puzzle platforming with arcade shooting. The story centers around a young boy named Rise and you are given a gun named Shine early on. You are then thrust into a dangerous adventure and the fate of the world lies in your hands. With Shine as a powerful ally, you’ll have increased armor and the ability to respawn infinitely as you set out to stop the space grunts and their destruction of your homeworld Gamearth.
The story is told through images and text dialogue with some parts not making too much sense, but Rise & Shine does acknowledge this and really just wants you to stick around for the gameplay. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it makes many references to other video games and real-world pop culture things. These callbacks bring some originality to the whole narrative and make for an amusing experience when you can recall some of them.
Platforming requires a certain style of play and the arcade shooting often requires you to make use of cover to avoid any incoming attacks. Whether you’re taking cover or not, you can’t fire your gun without aiming first. Cover is destructible, but you can shoot down the enemy projectiles to keep it or yourself from being destroyed. You’ll need to poke out, aim, and then shoot your enemies whenever there is a moment.
You can survive a couple of hits from the enemies and your health with regenerate when not taking damage. Even though your health regens, be prepared for a lot. Fortunately, I didn’t find the dying too frustrating though, since the checkpoints are fairly frequent. Although, I believe that many of my own deaths were due to the control mechanics and not necessarily through the fault of my own doing. Combat centers around shooting your enemies to dust and I found parts of the gameplay to be superior to both of the bullet-hell and puzzle platforming gameplay.
The bullet-hell gameplay lacked fluidity with you not being able to jump or jump and shoot at the same time with jumping being performed by shooting bullets at the ground. I found the movement to be clunky when compared to most other bullet-hell games with you only being able to utilize a simple dash. Also, the dash ability doesn’t seem to give you any invulnerability frames, so you can’t use it to dash through anything either. It would have been nice for Rise to perform a jump dash or maybe even have the dash cooldown increased, but have it actually give you a few slow-motion dodge attempts.
I enjoyed switching quickly between the two different types of ammo while in combat. It was a nice touch for how the different ammo was more effective for killing different types of enemies. The two different weapon mods, consisting of a regular shot and an electric shot, added some enjoyable problem-solving to the puzzles, but weren’t practical to use in the middle of combat since you have to stay out of cover for too long to aim the bullets properly.
All the puzzles I came across were somewhat rudimentary in execution and weren’t anywhere near as satisfying as what you would find in more traditional puzzle title. Many of these puzzles revolved around using your bullet-control ability to navigate a bullet through obstacles and projectiles to hit a button or switch. These types of puzzles would be fine if you were more pressed for time to solve them, but they can quickly become frustrating when all you want to do is move on due to the exact nature of needing to accomplish them.
Visually, Rise & Shine looks great and I really liked the hand-drawn art style. The character animations were fluid and each one had a flair in their presentation regarding facial animations. Environments were well detailed and were continuously unique and changing throughout my playthrough. The music and sound effects were very well done and were better than they had any right to be. Memorable orchestrated musical tracks included vocals and piano to great effect.
Overall, Rise & Shine takes a very common genre and tries to turn it all upside down with unique bullet mechanics and story. It attempts to do something new with a gun that can think, and it will be easy for anyone to enjoy who is looking for an interesting mix of puzzle arcade shooting and bullet-hell action. Unfortunately, some of the gameplay mechanics did not feel right and while it tries many things, it never excels at any of them. Still, Rise & Shine looks great and the shooting felt satisfying and fun.
The Verdict: 7/10
*Review Key Provided by Adult Swim Games
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This post was written by minusthebrant