#2 Rise & Shine
Bullet hell of a morning
Let’s face it, when it comes to visual style, we’ve all got a weakness for indie game art that looks like our golden memories of Saturday morning cartoons, but Rise & Shine takes animated nostalgia to another level. From ex-Worms and Plants vs Zombies devs, this side-scrolling bullet hell puzzler isn’t just eye punchingly gorgeous, its titular characters, Rise, and his gun, Shine, are on a quest to save the world of videogames from disaster. Yep, pretty self-referential.
First off. How on earth does it look this good? Hand-drawn illustrations. “It’s been a lot of work. Usually, when making a side-scrolling game, you do lots of tiling textures for the floor, different elements like trees, rocks, houses, etc, and place them around to build your level,” explains Enrique Corts, art director and creative director at Super Mega Team. “On our game, we don’t use any repeating or tiling elements, so each layer of the parallax scrolling is a giant, hand-drawn illustration. That means that every step you take in the game is different, and that rock or that piece of debris you see on the floor you won’t be seeing it anywhere else. Some of those background illustrations are more than three metres wide and we use around 12 of those for each level.”
Rise & Shine is a mash-up of multiple genres and we won’t just be holding down the fire button to progress. “We love games like Another World, Limbo, or Inside. They are incredible, compact, super-polished experiences where every step you take you encounter a totally different kind of challenge telling a little more about the world you are in,” Corts says. “That’s how we approached Rise & Shine’s design. Usually, on run-and-gun games you simply advance to the right, shooting everything that moves… This is not the case with our game. Yes, you run, and yes, you gun sometimes (we put a lot of care on the shooting feeling), but you encounter lots of different challenges and situations in your way that you’ll need to solve.”
While Shine can behave like a regular gun, he can also use various unusual types of bullets, one of which you can remote control to solve puzzles. Plus, the team really wants to challenge you in new ways. “The game is not an easy trip, I can tell you that,” teases Corts. “It’s tricky, and you’ll sweat your way through, that’s for sure. But we also want people to enjoy the whole experience and not leave the game frustrated after a couple of hours. And we were a bit sadistic making some different death animations. My favourite is one that you’ll probably see a lot when playing the game, unfortunately. You get shot by the enemy’s electric bullets and Rise gets disintegrated to ashes with his skull bouncing around.” We’re glad to say this is heading our way next year.
There are no roguelike elements. Die and you’ll respawn close by. “It’s about learning from your mistakes,” says Corts.
For players who crave an ultra-masochistic challenge, there’s an Iron Man mode where you have to finish the game without dying.