Monday 26 July 2021

Cotton Reboot! Review (Nintendo Switch)

In terms of games you may have been expecting to make their way to the Switch, it’s fair to say that a Sharp X68000 version of an arcade shooter featuring witches may well have been near the bottom of the list. But none the less the cute’em up with the cult following has not only made its way to the system but has also managed to secure a Western physical release thanks to ININ game.

The release contains both the enhanced reboot version and also the original X68000 release. The X68000 version is included over the original arcade version due to it generally being held up as a superior game containing changed attack patterns and extra bosses. The reboot is based on this version as well. That said, both version of the game present are dramatically different in terms of look, speed and generally how they play so you are effectively getting two games for your money.

Cotton is a side scrolling shooter in the vein of R-Type and Deathsmiles – Just with witches taken from a studio Ghibli movie backed up by a laser toting fairy. The gimmick with Cotton revolves around coloured gem pickups and the magic system. The gems act as power ups and give different shot types, add to your magic and bomb stock and also raise your experience level which in turn improves your damage output. The gems do more than this as well though and are key to building your score. When shot, the gems split your shots meaning you have increased fire power. This in turn also acts to raise the score multiplier. Once the gems turn black though your shots no longer split and instead simply block your shots which acts as an effective risk reward system.

The magic system effectively gives you a host of special skills you can use such as raining boulders down from the sky or blitzing the screen with lightning. You pick up the various spells from gems as you go through the game and can also raise their level and set off a sub version of what they do. I had real issues with this system as it’s completely colour coded so not great for the colour blind. As a result I would normally just be pressing the button and seeing what happened next without the ability to plan any sort of real strategy.

The reboot version of the game also presented some issues in this area. The sheer amount of stuff, enemies, bullets, background art and general beauty hitting the screen did cause a lot of problems with bullets and enemies disappearing into the explosion of colours. Again, this could be a colour blind thing but I suspect this will cause issues for a fair few people – especially in handheld mode. The same issue doesn’t really effect the X68000 version as the different colour palette and slower pace of the game reduces the issue significantly.

Both versions of the game do look decidedly lovely though. The cartoon visuals of the reboot match the original style well and though incredibly busy at times it does make you want to stop and take screen shots at every possible moment. The original version of the game also looks great in its retro way. It has a slightly more low-key colour palette but it’s a remarkably well designed game from a visual point of view.

Overall, Cotton is a fun and worthwhile shooter for fans of the genre to experience. Aside from the look it doesn’t really do anything particular outstanding or different compared to the big hitters in the genre but it’s certainly strong enough to warrant a purchase. Not many games look as good as this either and it’s clear a lot of care and attention has gone into bringing a fairly niche franchise to a Western audience. All in all it’s a great fun package that will serve shooter fans well.


Overall 7/10

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