Cotton Reboot! (PS4, Switch)

“Cotton” is a series of 2-D horizontally scrolling shooters that were very popular in the 90’s during the 16- and 32-bit eras.  They star a candy-obsessed witch girl named Cotton who flies on her broom as she shoots down foes in spooky yet silly settings.  It’s an example of the “Cute ‘Em Up” subgenre of shooters similar to titles like Twinbee, Parodius, Fantasy Zone, or Ordyne.  And now the series is coming back with Cotton Reboot!, based on the original game.  Darkness has fallen over a fairy kingdom, and a fairy named Silk enlists witch girl Cotton’s help to save the day (with a bribe of candy, of course).  This game is available on PS4 and Switch, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Like in other shooters, move Cotton on her flying broom with the control stick, and hold down the fire button to shoot enemies.  Collect gems and glowing objects that look like sake containers to earn points and power up your shots.  Another button fires a magic blast, handy for clearing out enemies in tough spots.  You’ll collect all sorts of magic to use, from lightning bolts, fire dragons, and more.  Defeat huge bosses in over a half a dozen stages.  If you get hit, you’ll fly off your broom and lose a life, but you get unlimited continues and start where you left off, so that’s nice.

There are a few modes of play.  In Arrange Mode, you’ll play the game with improved graphics and sounds.  You can also play the X8600 version, which was a popular Japanese computer at the time of Cotton’s original release.  So it’s neat that you can play the original game and see how much they improved or changed in the Arrange version.  There’s also a Time Attack Mode where you play a special stage for either 2 minutes or 5 minutes to try and get as high of a score as you can.  You can view online leaderboards in Rankings, and change gameplay features in Options.  Some of the things you can toggle here include the difficulty and how many lives you have.  When you beat the game as Cotton, you can then change your character and play as Silk the fairy, although aside from slightly varied shots, they’re not much different.  And finally you can view an in-game instruction manual.  In the manual they have Cotton and Silk discussing with each other how to play the game, so it’s kind of neat they took the extra mile to do that.

My only problems with the game are very minor.  In the Arrange mode, the action can get so hectic sometimes that it’s hard to differentiate between power ups, bullets, and everything else on screen.  I’m not sure the original game had it, but a two-player option would’ve been nice.  Also I would’ve loved to have seen more games in the series on here.  How about other versions of the original game, like the arcade version or even the Neo Geo Pocket Color version, which almost came out to the US because I played it at E3 one year.  Or maybe they could’ve added other games in the series, like the sequel or spin-off games on the Super Famicom, SEGA Saturn, or Dreamcast?  But even after that, I was pleasantly surprised with this game.  It reminded me of those cheapy under-the-radar PlayStation games I used to get, and it made me smile.


Kid Factor:

Cotton Reboot! is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Suggestive Themes.  You fire magical blasts at cartoony enemies that explode when defeated.  If you get hit, you just fly off your broom and catapult off the screen.  Cotton is fully clothed, but her fairy friend Silk is seen wearing a skimpy bikini in the menu screens and story sections, so that’s where the suggestive themes come in.  Reading skill isn’t needed to play, and selectable difficulty options mean anyone can enjoy it.

One Response to “Cotton Reboot! (PS4, Switch)”

  1. Love those colorful graphics!

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