When I was first introduced to Rise & Shine, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I took a glance at gameplay videos and cover art, and it came off as a fairly strange game with no real direction. In reality, it was a fairly straightforward title, with fun combat, physics puzzles, and pays tribute to the history of video games. I was fairly disappointed that the story fell flat at the end and I was left longing for just more gameplay.

A story too short

I have one glaring issue with Rise & Shine, and it’s the story. One day a military force, known as the Space Grunts, decide to invade the planet Gamearth, so the legendary hero comes to save the day using his gun, Rise. The hero himself becomes quickly identifiable as Link, though for copyright reasons he’s just known as the “Legendary Hero.” Meanwhile, a young boy named Shine loses his mother during the invasion and witnesses the legendary hero face his demise at the hands of a space grunt. With his last breath, the legendary hero presents Rise with his talking gun and thus Rise’s journey begins. While the opening sequence was fun, from there the narrative felt phoned-in with character arcs being unfulfilled. One example is the pink haired girl, it’s never explained who she is or where she came from, but she follows you around the last level, because she has one role to play at the end. Another character is Marcus Cole, who resembles the epic Marcus Fenix, Rise’s father, bad guy, and whose motive is made apparent haphazardly at the beginning. This lazy writing managed to ruin the ending of the game for me.

tributes to gaming

While the writing for this game is not the best, one thing I did enjoy was the world that is built around paying tribute to titles that have made an impact in the gaming industry. Throughout your short journey in Gamearth you will find cameos and homages from titles such as: Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Gears of War, Flappy Bird, and Half-Life. One of my favorite examples of this is when you are looking for the King of Gamearth, the dog from Duck Hunt comes out and sets off an explosive to stop you from crossing a bridge. These nods to classic franchises, makes the world seem self aware, and I found myself having an “aha” moment when I would find them.

Puzzles and shooting

The two main things you’ll be doing is shooting enemies and solving puzzles, by shooting things. There are several tools at your disposal to do just that. There’s basic ammo, which is the most effective against the majority of enemies, while electric ammunition is used to power up machines and stop robotic enemies. There are a couple of firing modes that can be applied to these different bullets. Other ammunition types include, a guided shot, where as long as the bullet stays in range, you can control where it will go, and bombs, which is entirely trajectory based. All of these tools are needed in order to successfully solve puzzles. The combat sections are like Contra or Metal Slug with the run-and-gun 2D-shooting. Puzzles are heavily physics based, with challenges ranging from shooting cherries into a basket or shooting a switch at the right time. One of my favorite puzzles is when you have to time shooting a boulder in order open a door. These puzzles were simple, but fun, and I think these moments are where the title shines. There is also one level that is just a 2D space shooter. These sections are like Life Force or Gradius, which are 2D side scrolling space shooters. I actually really enjoyed this section and would’ve loved to have seen a couple of more levels like this.

Longing for more

Rise & Shine was a lot of fun and it felt just like it was too short and left me longing for more. There’s only about six levels in total and the entire game can be finished in a couple of hours. I personally feel like a couple of more levels could have filled in some plot holes in the story, as well as gave the player more puzzles and battles. I ended up walking away from this game wanting more, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

Final Say-So

While Rise & Shine was a lot of fun to pick up, it just fell short in story and left me wanting more to do. It’s fun for the short amount of play time that you are given, but I was left wanting more. For those who are interested in 2D shooters, such as Contra and Metal Slug, you will have good time..

Rise & Shine was reviewed on Xbox One using a review copy provided by Adult Swim Games


Reviewed On
Release Date
Adult Swim Games
Super Mega Team
Xbox One
January 13, 2017