The words “Adult Swim” will fill anyone with cheer as they know anything with that name attached will showcase brilliance. It seems Adult Swim is gaining momentum not only on their animation but soon enough with game design. If Rise and Shine is anything to go by, then this is very true.

We follow the tale of Rise, a young boy whose home planet of “Gameearth” is devastated by an invasion. After crossing paths with a legendary warrior whose been mortally wounded, Rise acquires a legendary gun known as Shine. Rise and Shine must make their way to king of Gameearth and defeat the armies of space hulks and killer robots before the devour everything on the planet’s surface. Now the story itself is disappointing as the narrative could've delivered more of an emotional impact or avoid typical and tired story elements seen and used in endless games. We do get one scene that tries to deliver a sense of gravitas but falls short as the neither plot nor character felt as though they earned that connection from us due to weak expositions and delivery. Rise and Shine doesn’t amount to any emotional connectivity Adult Swim games may wanted too, but delivers on other aspect in exceptional ways.

What this 2D side scrolling shooter does well is to captivate players into a beautiful, thought provoking action game. We get a good set up of Rise finding his calling and throughout his journey are a vast number of encounters that often require more brain power than brawn. Trust me there’s plenty of shooting to be had and it’s a lot of fun. But from the big epic fights to the small stand offs there’s always a strong a strong lateral sense to the situation.

The designers have done a great job at ensuring a wide range of tactics and reactions come from the simple mechanics. The pacing is fantastic with a great variation of set pieces, bosses and lateral inspired action sequences keeping the gameplay refreshing and enjoyable throughout. Not to forget that Rise and Shine produces a beautifully stunning game world that pays an excellent homage to many classic icons in gaming with references to retro titles and modern greats. At certain moments, some of these references integrate into the game play and it’s amusing as hell. Watch out for the scene with the Duck Hunt dog, it’s pretty cool.

Rise and Shine also does a wonderful job at creating an electrifying atmosphere and some brutal intensity too many of the scenes. But this is also a major issue I have with the pacing. For the most part Rise and Shine is well paced and delivers a good selection of creative and consistent action. But there are moments when Rise and Shine just bombards you with everything it’s got and most in an unfair and infuriating fashion. On PCs with a keyboard and mouse, this wouldn’t be such as problem but with a controller it can be a massive pain when you’re frantically swapping ammo types for different NPC types while avoiding a barrage of enemy fire behind breakable cover.

Overkill is the perfect word for when Rise and Shine decides to go crazy on the old NPC count.

It doesn’t help as well that some check points are hugely separated from one another and this becomes more so noticeable towards the later stages of the game. It grinds the game’s excellent pacing down and ensures you’re kept on the game for longer. This is mostly due to the overall short length which is around 4-5 hours or the fact there’s little replay value with limited loot to collect.
Not to say this makes a negative impact on Rise and Shine as the good really does outshine here. This has been one of the most refreshing and enjoyable side scrolling shooters I’ve experienced in a long time and love the lateral, thought-provoking action gameplay. I loved the colourful and beautiful art style and the fantastic, respectable homage to gaming.

This is an absolute recommendation from me despite some short comings.

++ Excellent and Intelligent combat
++ Beautiful art style
+ Engaging and gripping through out

- Lacklustre story
- Short length with little collectables
- Too frantic at times

An Xbox One review code for Rise and Shine was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review