I have roped my shoot ’em up expert, Dave Corn, to delve back into the world of Cotton once more. Following on from his review of Cotton Reboot from a few weeks back, Dave now has gone and done played both Cotton 100% and Panorama Cotton from ININ Games and is ready to tell you just how good or bad they are.
In 2021 we’ve now seen the release of five Cotton games, this review is looking at two of these titles, both originally released in 1994. Coming up the first is Cotton 100%.
Cotton 100% is the 2nd game in the Cotton franchise. Originally released in back in 94 for the Super Famicom (SNES) in Japan. It sticks to the cute ’em up formula of the previous game, a side-scrolling shooter where you play as the young witch, Cotton. Tagging along for the adventure, you also have your fairy friend Silk. Together, they battle baddies and bosses (two per level) in promise of sweets as rewards. The cutesy cutscenes however are all In Japanese with Japanese subtitles and no option to change them either, which seems a bit of a bizarre choice for this Western release. As I’ll get into a bit later, this just seems lazy and quickly thrown out as a release.
Still, the gameplay is fun, the levels and bosses increase in difficulty with each stage. It’s not the most taxing shoot ’em up by any means but it’ll still keep you hooked. With nice 16-bit, bright and colourful levels and graphics. That however at a £12.99 price point, it honestly doesn’t feel like value There’s very little added or improved here and it’s starting to feel like someone is milking the Cotton fan-base as far as they can. Again save states and rewind gameplay options are available, as well cheat downloads. But this isn’t a pretty package, which leads me onto the next game.
Unlike the other Cotton games, also released in 1994 for Arcade and the Sega Megadrive (Genesis) is Panorama Cotton. Taking the side-scrolling shooter and turning it into a 3rd person-3D rail shooter, a response (possibly clone) to Sega’s Space Harrier and Afterburner games.
This re-release has barely been touched. There’s no option to change screen size, so you have to play the game in the original, small screen box. As the screen size can’t be changed, this makes the handheld Switch version barely playable. Once again it feels lazy, not touched up before release and the frame problems that cursed these style games early in their day are still here, complete and irritatingly in your face, as the game just slowly chugs along.
This isn’t a good port at all. The enemies don’t appear in the distance and move towards you, they just appear with little to no warning. Panorama Cotton is less about shooting and more about quick reactions forcing you to dodge suddenly appearing objects. The ‘rewind gameplay’ option added to these releases is the only way you’ll get through this for a while at least. Out of all these five Cotton game re-releases, this is the worst.
After a brief hint of warm nostalgia for the 16-bit graphics and gameplay, you’ll more than likely be turning this off after five minutes or so and just wanting to play Outrun or Afterburner instead. This, as a stand-alone purchase (£12.99), should be avoided.
So I have reviewed four of these recent Cotton games as they have been re-released. I can’t comment on Cotton Rock ‘n’ Roll, the fifth release. Still, I imagine that if these had been put out in one full collection, then fans would have been very happy with it. However, this feels like a money grab and it isn’t a justified price point individually.
Until they release a decent complete collection, I suggest that you stay clear of the little witch cotton and fairy Silk for now. I think that the people lapping these up now will be the ones shortchanged later.