Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PS4)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 20/07/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Cotton Reboot is an updated, remastered version of the classic and iconic side-scrolling “cute ’em up” Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams which was first released in April 1991 as the first entry in the series. The game tells the story of a hot-headed, immature young witch named Nata de Cotton who always overreacts and rides on a broomstick, with her fairy friend, Silk. Cotton is crazy about candies called “Willows” and she won’t let anything or anyone get in her way to get them.
Cotton Reboot is a typical shoot’em up, or shmup as it’s also known, where players need to navigate each level from point A to point B and destroy as many enemies as possible while avoiding enemy projectiles coming from every angle. The shmup genre is a very challenging one as more often than not, you can easily be overwhelmed by the number of enemies and projectile on screen. It’s pretty easy to die if you don’t pay attention.
I want my candy!
As with any shmup, in order to have a fighting chance, you must pick up power-ups. Cotton Reboot features power-ups in the shape of coloured crystals that give you additional firepower. This is quite useful, especially against mid-bosses and bosses. Thankfully, you’re never in a situation without a power-up as plenty of crystals are dropped by enemies for you to pick up. The little nuisance however is that when they float, they “involuntarily” serve as a shield to enemies. If enemies are behind the crystals, you can’t shoot them, and sometimes trying to pick up crystals so close to enemies can prove fatal.
One interesting feature is the fact that as you progress and destroy enemies, you level up to get a boost in power. There’s no health power-up because, like most shmups, this is a one-hit death game. While levelling up is far from uncommon in gaming, here if you die you lose XP. This means if you reach a certain point in the game where you’re at level 12, die a few times and end up using continues, you can be dropped back to level 11, 10, or even lower depending on how many deaths you go through. It adds a layer of challenge as you’ll want to keep your power boost. trying to avoid dying becomes more and more crucial.
Old school or new school? Just play both!
While like most shmup, Cotton Reboot is quite short as it can be blasted through a single playthrough, to keep the fun going, the developers added an addictive Time Attack mode. Moreover, for the nostalgic gamers and younger gamers curious to experience classic gameplay, they included the original X68000 version. While both modes are interesting, it doesn’t prolong the fun for much longer. You can always replay it to get a better score and fewer deaths.
Cotton Reboot looks great; it’s an explosion of various colours which ensures players won’t be looking at a drab, typical space setting like most shmups. Its colourful design also appropriately fits its cute’em up tagline. There’s also a decent enemy variety; sub-bosses and bosses are all uniquely designed. Thanks to its diverse colour palette, it’s also “easier” to track enemies and projectiles as they aren’t confused with the background. The soundtrack is exactly what you’d expect; a cutesy anime-type soundtrack with each track re-arranged from the original game.
Cotton Reboot is a fun, addictive, albeit short, shump. While still hard at times, it still feels a bit easier and more approachable than most other games in the hard-as-nail genre. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t offer much depth in terms of gameplay as the game can be blasted through a single playthrough and the additional gameplay modes are only the original version and a time attack mode. Regardless, it’s still one of the best games I’ve played this year and this will definitely be re-visited before the year’s end. If you got a few bucks and some time to spend, Cotton Reboot is a great way to do so. I’d also recommend it to players looking to dabble in the genre.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
You can buy Cotton Reboot for Nintendo Switch on the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.