The Cotton franchise has really seen a resurgence on the Nintendo Switch, and today we are getting both Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% and Panorama Cotton on the same day. These two classics have been ported to the Switch faithfully and include some quality-of-life additions like a rewind feature, save states, and even cheats.
I love the Cotton series and quite enjoyed the recently released Cotton Reboot! when I reviewed it. But does the Cotton 100% port follow suit and do justice to the cute ’em up series? Let’s find out.
For starters, Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% was originally designed by SUCCESS and published by DATAM POLYSTAR for the Super Nintendo in Japan, otherwise known as the Super Famicom. The success of the Cotton series in the arcades begged for a console version, and this is what Super Nintendo owners got in 1994.
ININ Games has basically ported this exact version of the game with a few additions to give it more modern value while still respecting its original feel and gameplay.
One sad thing I noticed right off the bat is that Cotton 100%‘s story has not been translated. The scrolling text in the cutscenes is still in Japanese, which makes things hard to follow if you do not know the language. For those who may wonder, Cotton 100% is basically a re-imagined version of Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, which is what Cotton Reboot! is based off of. That simply means that the story is similar and follows a Cotton who just desperately wants candy.
It is fine and all, but the lack of a proper translation hurts this port a lot. The menu options are all in English, which is helpful for navigating, but if you were looking to enjoy the entire game, it is unfortunate that the story was not given a proper English translation.
As far as gameplay goes, though, Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% is your standard shoot ’em up with one of the most adorable lead characters in gaming history. Cotton is just a fun character, and seeing her fly around on her witch’s broom makes all the difference. The world and everything in it is very colorful, and even though it does sound weird to say, but everything in the game looks and feels very candy-like, which makes things fun.
Unfortunately, even with the quality-of-life inclusions like save states and rewind features, Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% is insanely difficult. The only way to unlock cheats that mix things up, too, is to beat Challenge Mode, which is the game in its original state. Clearing this is not impossible, but the percentage of players who actually have the time and patience to memorize and conquer the entire campaign of Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% are slim. Because of this, most players who pick up the game will not be able to enjoy the fullness of it, as the only way to unlock those cheat codes is by clearing the game old school without save states and rewind.
In Märchen Adventure Cotton 100%, players are asked at the beginning of the campaign what type of loadout they want for Cotton, which is a nice means of customizing the experience a bit. No loadout is any better than the other, so it is nice to try different ones on different playthroughs.
I am a bit surprised by the lack of multiplayer, even though that was the state when it originally released in 1994, but considering Cotton’s history and excellent co-op, that is disappointing. The boss encounters are also part of the difficulty problem, as they provide more of a hassle than they do a challenge, which is not what you want from a tough boss battle.
Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% is still a solid cute ’em up experience, and it is a great trip down memory lane. It is even more special that westerners can experience this for the first time as well, but the lack of translation in the story mode and the brutal difficulty are going to be huge deterrents for entry level players.
At its core, though, Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% is an old school shoot ’em up from the early 1990s that punished its players. Often times when arcade games were ported to consoles back then, they still treated the game like an arcade game and not a console game. Unfortunately, these problems linger in Märchen Adventure Cotton 100%.
If you are a shoot ’em up enthusiast, then Cotton 100% is definitely a game worth playing, but if you are entry level and want to experience some old school Cotton gameplay, I think Cotton Reboot! is the much better option for you as it caters more to a wider audience. Don’t get me wrong, Cotton is still super-cute here, but the nostalgia glasses may come off faster than you think.
Fun cute em up
Nostalgic graphics and audio
Quality of life additions
No English in story mode
A bit on the expensive side
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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.