Rise & Shine sees the titular Rise, a child waltzing through a mall as everyone is massacred by Space Grunts, inherit the sentient talking gun/plot device Shine which allows him to respawn. This starts Rise down a hero’s path, destined to save Gamearth in the ongoing war.
A puzzle platformer with bouts of gunplay, Rise & Shine is a slower-paced affair than you might expect from something that mentions bullet hell shooters in its store description. Your gun, Shine, is used to mow down enemies but at the same time he’s instrumental in solving a variety of puzzles. As you progress through the world of Gamearth you unlock a selection of abilities to bypass obstacles, from remote controlled shots that you can wrap around walls to explosive bullets that provide a bit of oomph when needed.
These puzzles break up the action as you move from left to right shooting at enemies, tasked with figuring out how to get past some locked doors or other barricade you’ll have to juggle your abilities to solve. While most are usually a variation on “how do I hit the button” it does a good job of making you feel smart when you figure out how to progress.
The gunplay is less interesting as it feels a bit clunky. Basically using the right stick to aim and the right trigger to fire, it should work quite well but you also have to hold the left trigger to unsheathe your weapon. This makes the whole affair feel a little unwieldy when under pressure, especially when using Joy-Con and a grip rather than a pro controller.
Most enemies are one-hit kills with some requiring you to use your alternative attacks or shots to take out a shield first. Boss fights are a little more interesting requiring a bit more dexterity as you mix attacks as well as use your platforming prowess to avoid volleys of bullets and position yourself correctly.
The writing in the game is a bit self-aware and fourth wall breaking, with the player referenced in game as Rise’s Guide. Lots of gaming references are dropped throughout, with Mario, Zelda and Portal references being most notable in the backgrounds and in cutscenes. Unfortunately the amount of it robs Rise & Shine of any identity of its own as you can’t really take any of it seriously.
The game is also a little on the short side, lasting 4-5 hours, with no extra modes or reason to replay it. It’s also quite difficult in spots, with some extreme spikes made worse by the clunky controls. It definitely has its moments and is fun in bursts but it’s hard to recommend outright.
Rise & Shine (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
A solid, if uninspiring run ‘n gun title with some very nice visuals. The game’s length and difficulty make it hard to recommend without reservation but if you are after something a little quirky you might enjoy your brief time with this.