Rise & Shine review (Xbox One)

A gorgeous new platformer/shooter, Rise & Shine is available for Xbox One and PC. We played the console version.

When we first heard about Rise & Shine, we thought for a second that it was going to be a sequel to a fun little puzzler called Back to Bed that we reviewed a while ago. We quickly learned that Rise & Shine has nothing to do with sleeping, or even getting up – unless it’s the kind of getting up you do after you get knocked down, because this is a very challenging game indeed.

Rise & Shine is also a gorgeous game. We’ve heard a lot about the upcoming platformer Cuphead, but Rise & Shine rocks a somewhat similar cartoon/animation-like art style and it’s beautiful to look at. The delivery of the game is further enhanced by an excellent soundtrack, from the fitting music right down to the sound effects. Definitely “triple A production values” for an indie game with a friendly price point – something that only really becomes apparent when you look at the short playthrough length of the game, clocking in at about two hours.

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During those two hours, you’ll get knocked down plenty of times, and you’ll regularly feel like there was nothing you could have done about it too. Assuming the role of Rise, a young boy – you’re playing a 2D cover shooter somewhat similar to the shooter sections in Gears of War and Uncharted. Helping you defeat the bad guys is Shine, your upgradeable sidearm – and going for these upgrades is wise, as it will help tremendously in defeating the various waves of enemies. That, along with learning patterns and layouts, is the key to success here – and you’ll find frustration along the way. Once you’ve upgraded Shine and have a pretty good feel for how a scene will play out, Rise & Shine hits the sweet spot in terms of the difficulty level (at least on the easier settings) – but be prepared to invest some time before you reach that stage.

There is a kind of metagame here as well, since the backstory for Rise & Shine is very much influenced by videogame history and the game is drenched with fun little references. For one, you’re not living on Earth here – you’re living on Gamearth. There are tons of subtle and not-so-subtle references like that throughout, which is fun if you’re a videogame veteran.

Though far from perfect, Rise & Shine is a must have if you enjoy a challenging platform/shooter hybrid. The amazing audiovisual presentation, cheap price point and metagame make this a title well worth enduring a little frustration for.

Score: 7.4/10

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