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Rising Islands Review

Rising Islands is a 3D third-person platformer developed by Lone Hero Studios that I really, truly wanted to enjoy.

I wanted to finish the whole game and be able to write a positive review on it. The trailer was promising and fun. The music and dimension swapping mechanic hyped me up, even though the graphics and story were lacking. The gameplay was new to me and exciting, so I was disappointed in how the game actually turned out.

The story itself is rather plain. The game opens with a cutscene explaining that the world used to be chaotic and was only able to fall into an era of peace after a bunch of crystals were collected and protected by guardians. Fast forward a thousand years and you play as an unnamed woman who is suddenly approached by a red spirit and a blue spirit, two of the aforementioned guardians. They explain to you that one of the guardians, a purple guardian, went mad with power and is trying to steal all of the crystals for himself, cause world domination and all that jazz. It’s a very bland story, one that has been overdone. The red and blue guardians give the unnamed girl the ability to jump between dimensions and task her with the responsibility of gathering all the missing crystals from three portals.

One of the first things I took issue with was the varying graphics, the level design, and the animation. The general design is cartoonish, which isn’t a bad thing, but the terrain was blocky, uninventive, and boring. It’s a total waste because the developers could have gone for a more oriental or artistic level design, just to keep things interesting. The heroine’s animations are well-done, but a lot of times I got stuck in a jumping animation, so it looked like I was flying around the map. The death animation is also nothing out of this world, but the camera would constantly get stuck, and I’d have to restart the level to fix it.

One of my biggest gripes with the game was the actual controls.

Rising Islands has full controller support, and I 100% recommend using a controller if you’re going to play this game, but the game controls feel “loose” so to speak. I cannot even tell you the amount of times I died in the game because I pressed the jump button and didn’t actually jump. At first, I thought that my computer had lagged for a moment and didn’t register the command, but after dying for the fiftieth time, I came to realize it was the game itself.

This certain flaw made the timed missions frustratingly difficult. Already lacking an actual timer to let you how much time you have to finish the level, if you so much as died once you were guaranteed to fail the mission. No exception. The amount of times I died in a game that comes off so simple is embarrassing. I died so much that I was able to memorize the layout of the map and the timing. That’s the only reason it took me two hours to finish two out of the three worlds. By the time I was told to enter the final world and beat the game, I was already so angry with the mechanics and the controls that I closed the game and never actually finished it. If I had decided to finish the game, despite all of its frustrations, I probably would have finished it in three hours.

It's also never explained how the dimension swapping mechanic works. For something so big, it seems a bit lazy on the developer’s part for not being able to flesh out the lore other than the brief cut scene in the beginning. When I play a game, I play it for the story. I play for the characters and how they struggle and change the world around them. Rising Islands didn’t do that for me. It thrust me into a world that at first was exciting and interesting but quickly fell into monotony. I didn’t feel for anything. The world’s being destroyed? So what? The heroine is in peril? I don’t care. I just didn’t care for any part of the story.


The Verdict

Rising Islands is easily the Dark Souls of 3D platformers, because you will certainly die in this game, no exceptions. It started off with a strong and promising original idea, but the clunky controls and mechanics made it a frustrating game, almost impossible to play. It’s not worth $10, so if you find yourself truly wanting to play this game, get it on sale.

Susana Valdes
Written by
Friday, 05 August 2016 00:00
Published in Adventure



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Susana came into the gaming world a bit late in her life, but it hasn't stopped her from completely immersing in it. A die hard fan of the Assassin's Creed series, she hopes to broaden her horizons and fall in love with different gaming genres. She enjoys otome games (Japanese dating sims directed towards girls) and visual novels; she constantly fights to have Japanese games localized in the US. When she isn't playing games, she's usually reading a book or working as a freelance writer. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she hates the nightlife as much as it hates her.

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