In episode #1 you play a lizard aiming to survive in a dangerous natural world. He can eat butterflies and worms but has to prevent parrots’ attacks. As a lizard, he can hide, stop his movements and choose to eat his prey at the most precise moment. A satiety bar forces him to consistently eat preys. You only use the directional pad of the keyboard to navigate through the map, but the physic is precise and the lizard can move freely and stick on walls or trees to find the ideal path for his quest. He can also jump. It’s a cruel world and each action has to be chosen within the right moment of significance. Each action becomes a moment of revelation, ephemeral, dedicated entirely to sacrificing the flux of time for the right moment. To sacrifice life in order to die at the right time and hence, to live at the right time. Rising does not expire with death, death begins before death, and life goes on after life, and the fascinating canvas you see when you die are among the best and most passionate sequences of the game. Hence, Rising consciously evokes the presence by the absence, with its pixel art graphics and sound design elegantly blended into a Zen, minimal and spatial floating world, with the screaming of butterflies which reminds us of something else and which becomes the object of the fascination as if they only started to exist once death happened. The sound of the butterflies’ screaming now starts to overtake the whole playthrough. Our mind is now filled with hundreds of pictures, hundreds of memories and recollections, to the point that we can neither forget it nor move on to something else.
Rising is an arcade game and must be played as such. You can play Rising slowly, and actually make a better score in staying in the first zone. You can optimize each movement. It’s not an endless game like Canabalt, but the run and die concept shares the same aspirations. You don’t need to see the ending even though the game has a beautiful one. The concept is to continue playing, short or long runs, few or many points, the beauty is there nonetheless. You will eventually die. You can restart the game or let it run for itself and take a breath, enjoy the graphics, the music, the physic, because it runs for itself marvelously.