If you’re a fan of shoot ‘em ups with a bit of a cute side to them then Cotton Reboot! From publisher ININ Games and developer Success might be for you. The game is an HD remake of Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams that released in the 90s and is also known as a cute ‘em up given the cute aesthetic. Let’s talk about how this 90s title holds up in 2021 now that it’s undergone the HD treatment.
Cotton Reboot! Is the type of game that is easy for anyone to pick up and play but it also offers a ton of challenge. There isn’t much of a story to this game as you play as a broomstick riding witch named Cotton who meets a fairy creature named Silk who needs Cotton’s help. In order to get Cotton to help her Silk bribes her with her favorite type of candy. You’ll be treated to some animated cutscenes between levels complete with Japanese voice acting. It’s all very cutesy but the story wasn’t particularly what I enjoyed about this game which for me is usually the case when it comes to shoot ‘em ups.
What’s nice about this game is that they offer you the option to play it with the brand-new HD upgrades or play it in the X68000 original mode with the pixel graphics from the Japanese home computer. There are gameplay differences between these two versions as well so it’s worth checking them both out to see how they play differently. I mostly played in the new HD version but I appreciated that the option to play the original was here. When playing you’ll be side-scrolling horizontally while dodging all kinds of enemy attacks and firing back. Things get a bit too chaotic at times though and the new visual style can make it hard to make out exactly what you need to see. Everything has more detail now but with the backgrounds, your attacks, and the enemy attacks, it can just be a bit much at times and it makes avoiding taking hits more difficult.
Scoring in the game is tied to the jewel system built in. This works by when you defeat enemies, they will sometimes drop jewels and when you shoot these dropped jewels your attack passes through them and becomes stronger when leaving the jewel. When you shoot the jewels, they will also change color and jewels can also be picked up. Picking them up provides perks depending on the color of it. Picking up a red or blue one for instance will provide you magic while picking up a yellow one will give you XP. Black jewels are very valuable as they provide you with a huge 10,000-point bonus. Learning how to use this jewel system is how you’ll get the best scores in order to post onto the online leaderboards.
The main campaign has 7 levels to play through which honestly won’t take you very long to finish. Once you finish that you can play a Time Attack mode which is split between 2 minute and 5-minute variations. Games like this are meant to be played over and over in order to score chase but this is also priced at $40. That to me is a bit steep even for hardcore score chasers out there so I’m not sure paying full price for this game is worth it despite the fact that it is quite enjoyable. What would’ve made the price tag easier to swallow is if they included some of the other Cotton games in it but alas that isn’t the case. The game does have a pretty good newly arranged soundtrack and just like the visuals you can switch back to the original music should you choose. Trophy hunters will find 19 trophies in here including a Platinum trophy. It’s actually a fairly easy trophy completion as you can play on easy difficulty to do most of them.
Cotton Reboot! revives the 90s cute ‘em up with a nice lick of HD paint but the steep price for the short amount of content can be hard to recommend. The new visual style can also make things hard to see when on-screen action gets busy which ends up leading to some cheap deaths. If you catch this one on sale though and enjoy shoot ‘em ups, being able to play the original version and the new HD one is worth it for fans of this genre.
*Cotton Reboot! Is available now on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.