A boy and his gun
Sidescroller shooters have seemingly gone the way of the dinosaur in modern gaming, with the rare few that surface often indie pixel based shooters, or being re-releases of the Metal Slug and Contra franchises. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see a game like Rise & Shine that looks to push the genre forward while also keeping it true to what made others of the same ilk so popular.
Rise & Shine takes place in the land of Gamearth where an invasion is taking place. The player takes control of Rise as he tries to make it to safety. Along the way, he crosses path with a hero (who looks suspiciously like Link) and is given the magical talking gun Shine. From there, the two set off on a dangerous journey to save the world.
R&S plays like a mix between a cover based shooter and a gung-ho shoot ‘em up. You’ll be blasting away at a wave of enemies, but from the comfort of a somewhat durable wall for protection. There are also times where there’s no cover and hundreds of bullets flying toward you all at once, making you have to learn to dodge like a pro if you want to survive. Which brings up a contentious point.
Rise & Shine is hard. Really hard.
R&S falls into the category of games that like to beat you down to the ground until you want to throw your controller at the screen in anger. It’s the kind of game where cheesing it to get a cheap victory isn’t an option. If you want to survive, you’ll have to adopt the Dark Souls mantra of “Git Gud” if you want to stand any chance of making it through.
But unlike many other games that rely on their difficulty to create a name for itself, Rise & Shine stands out in a different way.
Much of R&S’s personality comes from its artwork. Just look at it, it’s gorgeous! It does away with the normal sprite based art that’s expected for these types of games, and replaces it with stunning hand drawn artwork that just screams to be your next wallpaper.
And it’s also in this art where you’ll find R&S pays homage to many other series. Throughout the adventure there are countless video game references and nods to franchises waiting to be found. Some of them are pretty clever, while others feel like duds. But they can’t all be winners.
Rise & Shine has seemingly slipped under many people’s radars in the midst of all the January madness. But don’t let this indie gem slip past you, as it’s definitely something that you should be playing.
Rise & Shine is available now for Xbox One and PC