From the very first minute that Rise and Shine starts…you’re screwed. The world of Gamerth has been annihilated by the mother of all boss waves, and you’re staring at the business end of the laser-mouth of a monster so powerful that he most likely eats Ultima Weapons from Final Fantasy 8 for breakfast. Also, you haven’t even reached puberty yet and you’ve been thrust on a mission to save the land and all of its nostalgic video game populace from certain doom.
Still, it’s dangerous to go alone and at least that fellow with a Link to the past happens to have left you, Rise, the mighty gun known as Shine. On the surface, Rise and Shine looks like your typical run ‘n gun action game, but there’s more to it than just a bastard amalgamation of Contra and Gunstar heroes. Rise and Shine delights in adding a few other ideas to the mix, blending puzzles with cover-based action.
It’s a fantastic setup, but it’s also one that can be heavily uneven at times as it straddles the line between enjoyable kinetic blasting and stupidly tough stages. You’re given two stocks of infinite ammo early, electric rounds that can mess up any lethal droid and standard all-purpose death-dealers that Shine can further modify with remote-control and explosive features to help you get past obstacles.
The puzzles themselves are well-designed, intuitive levels that make the most of Rise’s movement with Shine’s bullet variety. But Rise and Shine is just too damn hard at times. It’s utterly punishing with even the smallest of mistakes, leaving no margin for error and demanding perfection from anyone who plays it. Rise and Shine will probably find an audience who delights in such digital masochism, but trying to juggle multiple skills when the odds are stacked against you can become unbearable at times.
There’s something to be said for learning from your mistakes that hyper-hard games such as Dark Souls have managed to pull off, but Rise and Shine just doesn’t have that level of expertise woven into its design, often requiring a combination of perseverance and luck to overcome. And that’s a pity, because I adore how much attention has gone into the world of Rise and Shine. Gamerth is filled with references to video games of the past, beautifully realised and executed with charm.
And then you’re executed in return. Over and over and over again.