Adult Swim’s Rise & Shine Glimmers on the Horizon That is 2017
What do you think of when you hear the name Adult Swim? Robot Chicken? Rick and Morty? Aqua Teen Hunger Force? Odds are it isn’t video games. You might want to reconsider that because they’re up to some interesting stuff with their latest title Rise & Shine.
It’s a 2D puzzle platformer that — wait! WAIT! Don’t leave yet — a 2D puzzle platformer that has oodles of charm, gorgeous art, and a talking gun. Not convinced? What it the shooting was really visceral and the combat was punishing? Still want more? The story is packed full of references to other games and is generally written in an irreverent and silly manner. If you’re not interested now, you may be dead inside, you absolute husk of a human being.
You play as Rise, a young inhabitant of the the planet Gamearth (think Sylvester from the Looney Tunes saying gamers) who runs across an epic battle. After an elf that looks suspiciously like Link gets unceremoniously put to rest, sentient gun Shine is placed in your possession, complete with the power of infinite ammo and respawns.
“Rise & Shine’s writing is trying pretty hard, but it still managed to tickle my funny bone pretty often”
Rise & Shine’s writing is trying pretty hard, but it still managed to tickle my funny bone pretty often with some particularly pithy jabs at the industry standard 2 year AAA game cycle making my personal highlight reel. The characters didn’t stand out much during my preview though, leaning on some pretty standard gaming tropes a bit too heavily for my tastes.
Gameplay is a mix of many things, reminding me of Broforce one second and Inside the next. It’s an unusual combination of things, and it was somewhat difficult to switch gears from careful puzzling to intense and high precision bullet hell. That said, both aspects of feel pretty good and have some unique things to offer.
Most mechanics revolve around the gun in one way or another. Puzzles are mostly solved by using some type of ammo and a weapon modifier to trigger a switch in a clever way, while enemy encounters twist the same modifiers into offensively minded and heavy pattern based battles. Heck, even your jump is powered by gunshots.
In this preview build, aiming felt finicky at times – I felt like I was moving the aiming stick by microns, but was unable to dial in the exact angle that was needed, resulting in some frustrating deaths. Fortunately, the game expects you to die, and you’ll pop back up at one of the plentiful checkpoints without a reload.
Fortunately, slogging back through a bit of a level is far from a chore – shooting sounds and feels pretty great, and Rise maneuvers well enough despite being a bit sluggish.
One thing’s for sure, the art is pretty stunning. Characters are highly detailed if perhaps too thinly outlined (resulting in some jaggies), while environments are total eye candy. Layer upon layer of clearly hand drawn scenery scrolls past, and stopping to take it all in between skirmishes is well worth it.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***