Rainbow Cotton (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

“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.  In the past few years, many of these classic Cotton games have been re-released on newer platforms and I’ve been able to review them.  But one game in the series hasn’t been released yet, until now.  Rainbow Cotton was 3D on-rails shooter similar to Star Fox and it was on the Dreamcast.  And now you can play it on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

In the game you play as Cotton on her broom as you fly around colorful settings like a night festival village, a castle in the clouds, underwater ruins, etc.  You’ll shoot down all manner of silly enemies with your magic.  Simply hold down the X button to shoot.  You’ll probably want to change the controls on the option screen to have inverted flight controls, though.  Sometimes when you shoot certain enemies or boxes, stars will pop up. Collect them and I THINK your shots power up.  I’m not really sure because one of the problems I have with this game is that there are no instructions.  The game is pretty easy to figure out, but I still wish there were instructions for clarity and accuracy.  Each stage has branching pathways, too.

Every so often little yellow pots with faces appear, and when you shoot them multiple times, crystals will come out.  Collect these crystals and you can use magic attacks with the square and circle buttons.  I don’t really know what each attack does with each button, because again, no instructions.  Other times, the pots will spit out hearts which refill your energy.  You can get hit multiple times, but when you run out of energy it’s Game Over.  You get five credits to finish five stages plus a lengthy final boss area.  There’s a single player mode and a co-op mode where Player 2 controls Cotton’s fairy companion.  There is also a Retro Mode that just gives the screen a filter that makes it look like an old TV, but that’s it.

I really wanted to like this game more than what I did.  It has bright and colorful graphics that make me nostalgic for that era of gaming.  But it’s just too darn hard!  Even on Easy I couldn’t beat it.  The problem is that when you run out of energy, you must start the stage completely over unless you’re at the final boss, which is annoying.  I also wish you could save your progress and come back later, but you must play it all in one go.  The animated cutscenes are also a bit long, but that was the style back then.  As far as 3D Cotton games go, I was really more impressed with Panorama Cotton.

Kid Factor:

Rainbow Cotton is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, and Mild Language.  You shoot down silly cartoony enemies with magic blasts, and they just disappear into rainbows and clouds when defeated.  When Cotton runs out of energy, she just lays on the ground with stars above her head.  The fairies wear skimpy outfits but I didn’t notice too much bad language.  Reading skill isn’t needed, but younger gamers may find it too difficult.

Don’t miss my other Cotton game reviews!

Cotton Reboot

Cotton 30th Anniversary Double Feature

Cotton Fantasy

One Response to “Rainbow Cotton (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)”

  1. I love cute-em-ups. I’ll have to check this one out.

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