Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team, and Adult Swim Games’ newest adventure Rise & Shine is a very enjoyable 2-D, Action Adventure, Puzzle-Platformer. Rise & Shine follows the story of Rise an eleven-year-old boy who’s home world of Gamearth is being destroyed by an invading force of blood thirsty mercenaries. Most of the town has been destroyed and Rise now possesses the key to save the entire galaxy. That key is a smart-assed, trash-,,talking gun that has multiple firing modes and gives whomever holds it infinite respawns!

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Rise & Shine does one hell of a job setting up ambiance for it’s various levels. Actually it does a fantastic job of making it’s levels feel unique in general. For example, at one point, I found myself down in a cave. Here I found out the gas, that the Nexgen forces released when they attacked Gamearth’s, turned a bunch of the inhabitants into zombies. The whole idea causes the game to do a complete 180; from action adventure game that constantly barrages you with enemies and forces you to constantly keep moving to a claustrophobic horror game where zombies surround you and the enemies now only die by head shots.

While it was a minor section of the game, it was awesome to see the developer put that kind of diversity to their game. While this part of the game forces you to do head shots, first you have no flashlight and the screen is dark. So, the only way to kill them is to see the red eyes of the infected lumbering in your direction and to aim for them as best you can. While a sense of relief filled me when I found a flash light, I quickly realized that I was still no better off. I could now see my assailants while aiming, however, when I needed to reload my gun, the flash light shut off and I was reimbursed in the depressing darkness that shrouded my attackers.

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This game is flush with references to other games. At one point there was an entire level that references Mario and his castle. Although Rise & Shine’s version of the Mushroom Kingdom is far more depressing then I remember. The mustachioed plumber looking king and his loyal army are strewn about in piles of gore and several of them are hanging by their necks from the rafters of the entrance including the happy faced mushroom people. Even the message the king leaves is on an old video game cartridge looking device. It’s a very pleasant callback for the veteran gamers to enjoy. One of the characters even says something along the lines of ” I really hope we don’t have to blow in to it to make it work”. Nostalgia at it’s finest. Oh and also that dick head dog from Duck Hunt showed up and blew up the bridge leading to the castle and nearly killed me. I blew his brains out while he was laughing about it.

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Later on there is a more blatant reference to the Gears of War series as Rise’s father is finally shown on screen and he almost the spitting image of Marcus Fenix. Unfortunately instead of being the hero the look alike seems to be the bad guy. *SPOILER* Rise always knew his father went out and killed people for a living he just always assumed he was part of the good guys protecting Gamearth. In a turn of events he is the leader of the Nexgen invading forces, even wilder he gives his own direct orders to have Rise stopped. At any cost. */SPOILER* On a slightly less bleak note some of them travel in literal rolling cogs you have to dodge.

Rise & Shine is pleasantly challenging without managing to be so unbearably hard that you want to set the game down and walk away (or break something). Rise & Shine does a fantastic job at teaching the player what skills they need to use to play without holding their hand. For most of the boss fights there are a specific set of attacks they will do, there usually is enough of a variance as to which order of attack is used to keep players on their toes. For instance, the first big boss of the game has five attacks. Missles, electric death balls, a huge death beam, some huge ass electric death beam, which he switches on the fly so the fight never feels stale. It actually feels like an old school boss fight where timing was everything and you have to use every skill you learned to that point to defeat him. The boss (called a Lvl 999) has three live bars that need to be drained before he is actually dead, after every bar is drained you have to use the guns RC mode to angle a bullet so it hits a tiny button on his back. If you fail to do it the life bar refills and you have to redrain the health bar. It genuinely feels rewarding when you finally beat the boss, especially since it will likely take several attempts to defeat him. There’s even an achievement for beating him while taking no damage which is really tempting to go back and attempt.

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Normally I would talk about the bad that the game had but there really isn’t that much to it. Everything I found wrong with the game was so minute in the grand scheme of it all it would really only bother the most fickle of gamers. When I was at Gamearth’s kingdom there were zombie Goomba like characters that seemed to be able to kill me when they shouldn’t have. There was a part where I had to get a guided missile to hit three buttons and there were about six inches away from me and I’d be dead. I get that they would have to lunge and bite but if I had landed there in theory I would have time to jump away. The need to be almost perfect in every execution of attack wore my patience thin several times just due to the sheer number of things being shot at me and the amount of times I watched Rise’s little body explode in to a million little pieces. Even then I never really got annoyed to the point of disliking what I was doing, frustration got high every once in a while but the joy of playing still remained.

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Speaking strictly about gameplay, outside of the standard jumping from platform to platform over gaps or solving simple puzzles. Shine has ways to solve puzzle’s using his various bullets. The RC ability allows Rise to pilot Shine’s bullets through small mazes and to hit buttons and levers as long as the bullet stays in the specialized gravity fields. Exploding bullets that are used to angle past enemy shields or hit certain buttons. Electric bullets are used to power up generators or slow down attacking humans and to take down most robotic enemies way faster than a regular bullet. The array of attacking enemies are also pleasantly varied. From tiny flying robots, zombie Goomba look-a-likes, the Nexgen mercenaries, huge ships that, flying weird Doom looking creatures, not to mention huge robots that wreck everything in site, the list goes on and it diversifies each encounter in the game and makes the game stick in the players mind as hopefully one of the best games to come out this year on the indie circuit.

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On a semi closing note, Rise & Shine does something small that no other game that I can recall has ever done. Shine gives Rise the ability to infinitely respawn. While it is nothing unusual to the gaming world, the characters in the game typically do not acknowledge it. Rise does, he even talks about how he remembers every death. The pain he felt, the fear, the few seconds of death before he just pops back to life and gives it another shot. It’s a lot to take in for an eleven year old and in the scene he acknowledges it, it is very apparent it is taking it’s tole on the boy. Even the mercs who are under orders to kill him talk about how he seems to just keep coming no matter how many times he dies. That’s when the truly messed up order to keep the pressure on Rise comes from his father. It definitely made me want to get to the bottom of the story and find out what happens.

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Rise & Shine is a wonderfully crafted smart and immersive experience, that challenges players skills in ways a lot of recent AAA games don’t. Rise & Shine manages to keep the humor abundant while very flamboyantly displaying the end of a world and the rise (pun intended) of a new and young hero. If you are looking for a fresh spin on classic gameplay look no further than Rise & Shine. Adult Swim Games and the people over at Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team did a fantastic job with Rise & Shine and I recommend you grab the game. Just prepare to be a tad frustrated with the game, but in a very pleasant way.

Rise & Shine Review: Gamearth's Greatest Hero
The Good
  • Maintains it's challenge with out the game being overbearing
  • Wonderful references to older games
  • I shot the dog from Duck Hunt
The Bad
  • Weird hit boxes on occasion
  • Can be legitimately frustrating
9Overall Score
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