After playing over 150 Xbox One games (and many more on various other consoles), I have found that nearly all games share several aspects with other games. This is not a bad thing so long as it is done in moderation and games with similar mechanics or aesthetics don’t start to actually copy one another. In Rise & Shine, players will traverse platforms, collect power ups, and shoot enemies with an oversized gun. At first glance this all seems pretty familiar, but just a few minutes with the game and players will see that Rise & Shine uses these common game aspects in tandem in a refreshing way.
Simply getting to the end of a level isn’t all that hard, it’s the sheer number of enemies and puzzles that are nearly always solved with accurate shooting or simply more bullets. Since the game sports such simple controls (run, aim, jump, shoot, switch bullets), tackling these puzzles and enemies feels wonderful and rewarding. Whether it be because you figured out which bullet type to use or got a headshot on a space marine and got to watch his head exploded cleanly off their shoulders. I enjoyed all of this plenty until certain areas became too difficult either by having too many enemies (thus too many bullets to dodge) or puzzles that require players to guide a bullet to a target (which is behind obstacles) while dodging enemy bullets and lasers. A section being difficult wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the slightly too long respawn times.
In Rise & Shine, the protagonist, Rise, is able to respawn indefinitely so long as he carries Shine, a legendary weapon that has many important properties. This is all explained much better in-game through the linear story that takes no time at all to start-up. Within the first few minutes of the game, players will be given Shine and tasked with saving the world. The cliché here is intentional as even the character that gives you Shine looks awfully similar to a certain green tunic wearing adventure we all know. Having such a general, overused plot (unlikely hero gets magic weapon, saves world) allows the game to get away with all the references that it has on offer.
In fact, the entire lore of the game relies heavily on these references. The game’s world is called Gamearth and is correctly inspired in every aspect from the scenery to the characters the player will meet. There are several unique and original characters, but there are just as many that are inspired by (or direct references to) characters from other games. Personally, I think most gamers, especially Xbox gamers, will be able to easily tell who Rise’s father is supposed to look like.
Even though the writing in the game does cover a ton of the references, I feel like it could hold its own if the game had its own lore and what not. The writing breathes life and personality into the game’s characters as they deal with one another. Besides developing character, the writing is constantly making jokes that will at least make most players crack a smile. In fact, I found myself smiling throughout most of this game and don’t have too many complaints.
From the adorable characters to the satisfying music and sound effects, Rise & Shine delivers in droves. Having several levels filled with either hordes of enemies or just a few very large enemies such as bosses and mini-bosses. There are quite a few of these scattered throughout the game and each requires their own technique to beat. These larger enemies always seem to show up at the perfect time as well due to the game’s linear level design. Even though I’d normally dislike this linearity, it feels natural in Rise & Shine. Combined with the various power ups found throughout the game, the levels feel like they are constant action from start to finish. Each level I played in the game was fun and kept me engaged until I ran into one of those areas that felt far more difficult than the areas before it. Other than that, I would tell anyone that is even slightly interested in the game to give it a shot.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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