Cotton Reboot! is an updated, remastered version of the classic and iconic “cute’em’up” Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams with brand new features and updated visual designs. The game also features 3 game modes, and it is a full-on arcade experience even on the Nintendo Switch. This is a solid port and remaster in many ways, but the price may be a bit intimidating compared to other shoot ’em ups on the eShop that have considerably more content in them.
But is Cotton Reboot! a worthy addition to a shump fan’s Switch library? Or should this “cute’em’up” stay in its original year and away from 2021? Let’s find out!
The story for Cotton Reboot! is simple and quite silly. Essentially, the world is cursed in eternal darkness, and many are suffering waiting for morning to finally rise once again. Cotton, our cute witch protagonist, does not mind the darkness at all, but she is summoned by a fairy to save them from the evil creatures of darkness. At first, Cotton is completely uninterested, which is a really funny scene, but then the fairy exclaims that these candies called “Willow” will be Cotton’s reward.
This is the perfect kind of story for a game like this. It is silly, to the point, and has great little comedic moments that keep things interesting between levels. Cotton is an adorable character with lots of charisma and confidence that makes her a very likeable hero, despite her selfishness and strong desire for candy. I mean, she is a young-lookin’ witch anyway. Who wouldn’t be enticed by candy?
One of the really cool things about this collection is that it contains both the original version of the game and the remastered one. The remastered version is not super enhanced, but it is definitely a visual improvement nonetheless. Playing the original is also a great trip down memory lane, and the way it plays on both on TV and handheld is wonderful.
Cotton is a pretty standard, old school shoot ’em up that does have a lot of great designs and is still a solid presentation overall, but one thing that kind of hurts it is the lack of variety. In shoot ’em ups like Darius, where the game gives you numerous paths for multiple playthroughs, Cotton and its remastered version are a one-line of story, combat, and bosses. Basically, once you have beaten it, there is not a lot more variety for afterward.
Don’t get me wrong, though. This is still a solid shoot ’em up, but it lacks replayability for certain players. Hardcore shmup fans will absolutely be head-over-heels for the original version alone, which is definitely harder than its remastered variant. There is also a Time Attack mode that can be set to 2 or 5 minutes, and it is also a nice little mix-up from the standard story mode. Time Attack is also a great way to play in short bursts if you would like to practice or even climb the leaderboards, as there are rankings for both 2 and 5 minutes.
In regards to actual gameplay, things are relatively hard in comparison to other shoot ’em ups on the market. The first couple stages are not so difficult and are doable for most casual players, but shortly into the main game, things get really hard, especially some of the later bosses. That is not meant to downplay anything, but it is a reality.
One of the highlights for me are the bosses, though. Although they do get quite intense towards the end, each of the designs are unique and the shooting patterns are all especially fun to learn how to dodge. Cotton Reboot! even has mini-bosses in each stage, which ramps up the total amount of bosses to 14.
Controls are very basic, as this is an older arcade title, so movement is assigned to the D-pad or left joystick, while three buttons are necessary. Shooting is Y, magic is B, and activating Fever is X, which does keep things rather simple and not overly complicated like some other shoot ’em ups on the market. Collecting powerups in the stages is key to developing a stronger arsenal, though, and before you know it, Cotton and her fairies are going to be a serious threat with loads of bullets shooting across the screen.
Although I like the music, it does feel a bit dated and probably could have used an update itself, but I can recognize if that sounds blasphemous. The audio is definitely an improvement from the original, but I mean the music feels dated, like it does not quite fit in 2021. Despite that, the sound in both versions is still solid, and it is like playing a mother version and a daughter version of the game in many ways.
Cotton Reboot! is a wonderful collection and would make a grand addition to any shmup fan’s library, but if you are a casual player, this may not be the game for you. The price is high, and the replay value depends solely on your dedication to improving your gameplay and scores over multiple playthroughs.
If you are a fan of the series, though, this is a great little collection and a solid representation of the Queen of cute’em’ups. I do think the price is a bit higher than it should, but the game runs flawlessly, looks great, and is simply another solid shoot ’em up on the Nintendo Switch.
Solid remaster of a great shmup
Great shoot 'em up gameplay
Fun bosses throughout
A bit expensive
Low replay value if you aren't a score attacker
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.