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Marking the full-length debut game from Developer Super Mega Team or to give them their full company title Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team, previously best known for mobile games such as Pro Zombie Soccer and Supermagical while members of their team also prior to forming the company worked on both Worms and Plants Vs. Zombies. Looking at their previous projects its doubtful anyone would have been able to predict this first assault on the console and PC games market.
Using a hand-drawn animation style, visually Rise & Shine is unquestionably arresting while also bringing with it a deceptive sense of familiarity as on the surface it brings back fond memories of the likes of Metal Slug and Contra, which is rather fitting seeing how the game is certainly a love letter to retro gaming throughout its relatively brief runtime.
Set on the planet of Gamerath, which is inhabited by classic video game characters, it’s here that we are introduced to our hero ‘Rise,’ who suddenly finds himself in the middle of an intergalactic war when the Space Grunts from Nexgen planet, who also share a similar wardrobe to Marcus and his fellow grunts in Gears of War, decide to suddenly invade the planet. Now armed only with the talking gun ‘Shine,’ the pair have to find a way to save the planet from this invasion.
While on the surface, Rise & Shine might seems like another run-and-gun in a fancy shell but what we get is in fact a lot different as though the team decided to combine Metal Slug with the legendarily tough Dark Souls, creating what developers refer to as being a “Think and Gun,” a definition which is certainly hard to argue with as hastily taken shots or trying to go in all guns blazing will soon see you quickly being killed, especially with Rise only able to take a couple of hits.
The controls, while initially tricky to get the hang off, feature your left control stick being used to move Rise, while the right allows you to aim 360 degrees, which can take some getting used to though the laser sight which you get at the start certainly helps to give you some kind of guide to work from. Unquestionably, this is where the PC version has an advantage with the mouse not only making it quicker to target enemies but also with greater flexibility. Shine can also shoot a variety of bullets while also firing a guided bullet, which frequently comes in handy for solving some of the problems. The issue though with the guided bullets comes when it comes to launching them when they are in the right position, as usually you will find yourself too far off to really position your shot, leaving a lot of guess work and normally unleashing a whole different barrage when you find yourself missing for the fifth time. This is also why we don’t tend to do commentary on our Twitch streams.
Another aspect of Rise & Shine that certainly helps it stand out is the cover system, which enables you to time your attacks rather than just having to dodge the enemy fire, which unquestionably pays off during some of the more chaotic moments scattered throughout the game. That’s not to say its any easier of course as this is one of the more frustratingly difficult game experiences, which going off the popularity of the Dark Souls series might only make it all the more appealing to many players.
Plot-wise is where this game truly excels as through the comic book panel style cutscenes, the humour throughout really comes into play with Rise and Shine sharing some great back and forth dialogue while generally making fun of the usual video game quest cliches. This of course plays perfectly for the veteran gamer while the light tone throughout helps keep the game fun while the story is interesting enough to keep you playing.
While the Rise & Shine is stunning to look at, especially with its hand-drawn graphics, which is only heightened by the Final Fantasy-style soundtrack, it really heightens the experience. Despite this, the steep learning curve and generally brutal style of gameplay, much like its retro game references, is a throw back to a time when gaming was a truly grinding experience. At the same time with its low price, its high moments justify giving it a chance.
Game description: Rise & Shine is a 2017 action game where comic book graphics collide head on with brutally tough gameplay in what could possibly be the first “Think and Gun” shooter.