Rise and Shine is an incredible 2D platform shooter, but don’t let it’s cheerful cartoony art style trick you it’s also brutal and unforgiving. Through a series of contrived events you must guide the young hero ‘Rise’ as he becomes the holder of ‘Shine’ a powerful and snarky gun in defending the planet of “Gamearth” against the space marine hordes. If this sounds generic and game-like then this is because it’s supposed to be.
Almost everything in Rise and Shine is video game related. From the background fountains of Pit from Kid Icarus to the King who for copy write reasons we should probably call ‘Nario’. Just traveling through the world is exciting as you try and spot how many references you can find. This is all beautifully complemented by the charming art style and a fairly solid soundtrack.
As I mentioned before however, this game is not for the faint of heart. Your health is very limited but the number of enemies is not. In order to come out victorious you’re going to need to be quick thinking and quick at reacting to situations. Each combat encounter is like a new puzzle and it’s likely to take several goes to figure it out. A lot of stuff gets compared to Dark Souls but I feel there’s a very genuine comparison here. Not in the aesthetic or even the combat style, but rather the way that for every time you fail you learn something and that the death hardly ever feel cheap or unavoidable.
The standout feature of the game also has to be the boss fights, especially the first one. They play like the very best of the childhood bosses where you spent hours learning the patterns before finally being victorious, thus managing to scratch a nostalgic itch, but also incorporates many of the lessons learnt in gaming since then to produce probably the best combat encounters I’ve faced in some time.
All in all Rise and Shine is incredible. It might look (and maybe even is a little) cheesy but it knows exactly what it is and delivers throughout. There is lots to learn and more than a little challenge but It always feels worth trying that fight again and pushing ahead just a little more. Calling it a “Modern Classic” may be a bit of a stretch, but certainly not much of one.
Disclaimer: The review key for this product was provided by the developer free of charge.