Monday 30 May 2022

Cotton Fantasy Review (Switch)


We’ve covered about 8000 Cotton games recently as the cult shoot’em up franchise has been meticulously ported and released on the Switch over the last few months. Now though there is a brand new one to play around with and it could well be the best of bunch.

Cotton Fantasy is a bright and colourful game that runs along at a great pace and rarely falters in terms of its performance. The levels are also highly distinctive in their look and enemy design and each time you complete the game you will unlock another level which can then be played in the story mode. In terms of looks this ticks all the boxes and the added longevity from the drip feed of new levels keeps the game fresh and gives players alternate routes to take through the game. In terms of other ways to play the game, progression is reduced to Normal or Hard difficulty and the Extra mode which has every enemy blasted turning into bullets.

The bosses a highlight and varied in style with a mixture of big bad screen fillers and smaller more agile foes to take on. Doing this also has to be achieved within an unknown time limit or the boss will fly away losing the player a ton of points. 3D bonus levels giving a nod to Panorama Cotton are another nice touch.

Another thing that greatly adds to the fun and longevity is the character roster. Each of the characters plays very differently. You have the standard approach of someone like Cotton herself who picks up crystals and powers up accordingly, but you also have a character who works by utilising the ‘buzz’ mechanic made popular by Psyvariar and another who runs on a timer with seconds being replenished each time you pick up a crystal. They all have different weapon load outs and special attacks as well. With 6 initial characters to pick it means there’s a lot of ways to play with the only downside being that some levels don’t quite gel as well as they could with certain character styles.

We aren’t hardcore shoot’em up players here at Retro 101 but we found that Cotton Fantasy walked the line between being approachable for newcomers and offering high score chasing for the pros well. Depending on your character there are numerous ways to start racking up huge scores while newcomers supported by having infinite continues and a level select training option to aid progress and practice their skills.

Overall, Cotton Fantasy is among the best the series has to offer. There’s very little more any fan of the franchise could really ask for. It’s just a whole load of fun with a decent amount of variety throughout and numerous extras that add longevity. A great return for a franchise that deserves a far bigger audience.

Overall 8/10

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