Time for a game review, but not from me. Instead, guest reviewer for my blog, Dave Corn, picks up his Switch to play some Cotton Reboot from developer Rocket-Engine Co. This is a remake of the classic Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, a side-scrolling ‘cute ’em up’ from 1991. This new version has updated graphics and a few other bells and whistles, but is it any good? Well, that’s what Dave is here to answer.
I think that labelling this title as a ‘cute ’em up’ does Cotton Reboot an injustice. When I say cute ’em up, what’s the first game that comes to mind? For me, it is Fantasy Zone on the Sega Master System/Mega Drive. Its bright colour pallet, chirpy music and generally not as violent as such a shoot em up can be. Titled as a reboot of the original Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, Cotton Reboot is less a reboot and much more like a remake. The Switch release also includes the 2019 re-release of the Sharp x68000 arcade port of the original, so you can make quick comparisons between the two if you like.
Cotton Reboot falls into a sub-genre also known as a witch ’em ups. In places, Cotton is much closer to a bullet-hell type shooter and feels incredibly well placed with Deathsmiles, another witch ’em up verging on a bullet-hell shooter. Cotton won’t take you very long to play through either. From start to finish, it clocks in at around thirty to forty minutes. However, game length is not the point of these games, it’s all about the high score, lives/continue usage and getting trying for that great score in less time.
I think that speedrunners will adore this game. Seven stages with two to three bosses per level and each with their own mechanics and patterns to master. Whether it be your usual shot, bombs and magic, learning the correct tactics for each stage would knock plenty of time and deaths down as you try to perfect your run.
The storyline for Cotton Reboot is really weak but 90% of the people playing an arcade shooter like this, they’re not investing in these games for their stories. It’s all about fast and frantic shooting action from start to finish. The inclusion of the original game is a nice touch. If you haven’t played Cotton before, then Reboot is a vastly improved version, so the original will feel more than a tad empty now. There have been other Cotton games released between the original back in 1991 and Cotton Reboot now. The last game before this reboot was released on the Neo Geo Pocket following other titles on the Saturn, PS1 and several other consoles.
Cotton Reboot really boils down to being a really great arcade game. Definitely something for people who’ll want to try and finish it with one coin (being able to complete an arcade machine using only a single credit, no continues) to really sink their teeth into. Side-scrolling shooter fans will love this game but with a price point of around £30 (physical), which works out to a pound a minute of gameplay for a single playthrough. To me, that seems a bit harsh on fans. The time I spent playing this game was fun but at its price point, it seems to be forcing titles into rarity. A limited batch of physical releases means this fan favourite title will become more expensive and increasingly harder to find than the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary game, a prime example of creating a faux rarity in modern gaming.
If you have played the original and you are a fan, then this title is for you. But, if you are looking for a new bullet-hell come side-scrolling shooter, then there are cheaper and longer games on Nintendo’s virtual store that offer far better value for money. To finish, this shooting, magic throwing ‘cute em up’ does exactly what it says on the tin but without an audience reminiscing over the original, that too high price point doesn’t seem justified. Don’t get me wrong, this is most definitely a great game, but I suggest waiting to see if you can grab it in some sale or on offer. At full cost, you may feel a bit ripped off with what you are getting for your hard-earned coin.
Gameplay 7/10. Fun but too short.
Price 5/10. Too high but hardcore fans may appreciate this at full price.
Presentation 8/10. A nicely wrapped reboot.remake with several great mixes of art styles.
A big thank you to Dave Corn for doing this review for me. Perhaps they’ll be more reviews from Dave in the future? You can find Dave and me over at Lockdown Gaming on Facebook. Come join us for some top gaming and general entertainment chat, why not?