Sponsored By: Ccesarano
Time polishing: 63 Minutes
Ya Snooze Review
This game should come with a warning label: Best Consumed Vicariously, because it’s a gorgeous, funny, polished game that’s just too hard to be enjoyable. Best leave it to the wunderkind on Youtube, that way I don’t have to watch all the fail that happens on the way to the win.
Ya Lose Review
Rise and Shine is drop-dead gorgeous. The animation, the art, everything visual about this game is appealing. The art style makes me feel like I'm playing a living comic book, and it's refreshing to see a game brag about how many layers of hand-drawn parallax it has going for it again. It scratches a nostalgic itch without breaking the seal on the reality goggles, if I may mix a metaphor.
In fact, most of the game is kind of an homage to rose-colored nostalgia. The story of the game is just self-aware enough to be interesting without tripping over the fence between clever and trying-too-hard (Paging Matt Hazard to the counter-example phone, please. Matt Hazard to the counter-example.) You play as the new Chosen Hero, chosen by the previous Chosen Hero just before he ran out of infinite lives.
Don't ask questions about that one. That's part of the joke.
So now, as the Chosen Hero, you wield Shine, the magic, talking gun that bestows upon the carrier infinite lives, and infinite bullets. You're going to need lots of infinity, too, because besides the hand-drawn graphics and classic-game jokes, Rise and Shine is brutally difficult.
Much of the difficulty comes from the awkward controls. With an Xbox360 controller, I’m finding it almost impossible to make the character do the things I want him to do, and while I’m failing to do the things I want the character to do I’m also suffering from hand cramps.
I’m not entirely sure if I’m just flagging a bit as a gamer. Rise and Shine is a side-scrolling, cover-based shooter. I’ve played cover-based shooters before, and enjoyed them, but something about holding the left trigger so I can aim with the right joystick while moving with the left joystick and shooting with the right trigger is confounding my motor skills in a way that, say, Tom Clancy’s The Division never did. It doesn’t help that Rise and Shine starts hard and gets harder.
I mean, I like a game with infinite lives as much as any modern gamer, but there’s no need to keep reminding me that I have infinite lives. It's one thing to be challenging, but at some point you're just being a jerk.
And that's the problem with Rise and Shine. It's a smart, funny, incredibly gorgeous game that is trying very hard to be not fun. It's like that friend you had in middle school, the one that you never quite got up the courage to ask out on a date and who, during the summer break before ninth grade, decided that the way to get ahead in life was to be the biggest asshat possible. The problem is that they're still smart and funny, but they've turned that energy into making fun of you. That's Rise and Shine: the game you want to hang out with because it's smart, funny and pretty, but which treats you like crap.
Not that I'm speaking from experience, or anything.
Rise to the occasion?
I'll give the game a bit more of a chance, but I have enough self-esteem in me that it won't be much more of a chance. It's possible I'm just missing something that makes the game more playable, like a hidden win button or something.
Another couple of hours, though, and that's it. And this time I mean it!
Is it the Dark Souls of alarm-clock puns?
Few games earn an unequivocal “yes” on the Dark Souls equivalence scale, but I think Rise and Shine rates it. It's clear that the things the game expects me to do are possible, but I just can't muster the ability. The only place it loses points is the fact that finally winning doesn't feel like an achievement so much as an exercise in attrition. I don't feel satisfied for having beaten a tricky part of the game, I just feel thankful that I don't have to play that part anymore.
Still, no game with a challenge level this high and controls this needlessly complicated deserves to be passed over when the Dark Souls medals are getting passed out, so I'm giving Rise and Shine eighty out of eighty one soul bullets.
Praise the gun!