ININ Games has been steadily bringing older Cotton games to modern platforms over the past year or so including Cotton 100% and Cotton Reboot!. That said, there hasn’t been an actual proper new entry in the cute ‘em up franchise in a very long time and with this year being the 30th anniversary now was the perfect time for one. Cotton Fantasy (or Cotton Rock’ n’ Roll as it’s called in Japan) is a brand-new entry that is available now with HD graphics and a lot of the same classic Cotton gameplay that you love.
Cotton Fantasy features 16 stages made up of both horizontal and vertical gameplay. The story is told through cutscenes and once again features the little witch Cotton. This time around Willows are disappearing from Fairyland and the Fairy Queen has enlisted the aid of Silk to go find Cotton to get to the bottom of it. Cotton agrees to help out, mostly because she is going to be rewarded with a lifetime supply of willow which she loves eating. It’s your standard lighthearted story that this franchise normally has and the Japanese voice acting is solid as always.
The gameplay plays like most of the other entries and as such isn’t overly challenging. You’ll fly on your broom from stage to stage shooting down enemies while dodging their fire. Sometimes you’ll fight a boss that isn’t too challenging either once you figure out their pattern. It really won’t take you but a couple hours to beat all the stages and once you do that there isn’t much else here to see. The game lacks extra modes to dive into and extra features like the ability to rewind are missing too. To get you to keep putting time into the game you instead are left with online leaderboards for score chasing and a number of unlockable characters.
These extra characters do help change things up a little bit as they each have their own attacks and playstyles. Some of the characters are even guests from other games like Umihara Kawase which was cool. When playing as Kawase you’ll be able to fish and shoot what you catch out of her bazooka. Cotton of course uses her magic to attack while someone like Luffee has a laser that can be charged up. Fine is another interesting one as instead of health she has a timer on the screen that will kill you if it hits zero. This timer goes down faster when you get hit and goes up when you defeat enemies so this once again presents a different playstyle. While the lack of modes in the game is disappointing, I did really enjoy testing each of the characters playstyles out and it’s a nice change up for the franchise as a whole.
Cotton Fantasy’s modern cartoony graphics look great whether it’s while you are playing or while watching the cutscenes. There are great drawings throughout during the story while the action on-screen during gameplay is full of colorful things to look at. It does suffer a bit from things getting a bit too busy at times but it wasn’t too bad. If you’re a trophy hunter you’ll find 23 trophies including a Platinum. It’s a very easy list overall that anyone remotely skilled at shoot ‘em ups should be able to earn.
Cotton Fantasy is a great new entry in this classic shoot ‘em up franchise that should please any fan of the genre. It’s colorful, fun, and offers up a range of different playstyles thanks to the varied playable characters. My biggest gripes against it are that it just doesn’t have much for extra modes or gameplay features which could be a tough pill to swallow for those who see the current asking price. Whether you play it now or sometime in the future though, Cotton Fantasy is a great time and I hope we see further new entries in the franchise moving forward.
*Cotton Fantasy is available now on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.