The Witch is Back
Following the brilliant remake of the first title, the Cotton series returns with a bang. Cotton Fantasy takes the slick shmup to new heights, a visual assault in the best way. Building off the remake in every aspect, this may be the best Cotton title to date.
The campaign is short and designed to be replayed for high-score fans. However, every level has a unique theme and style, from ruined pyramids to immense airships. Final Fantasy would be jealous of the latter! Visually this game is really stunning, detailed yet clean and readable. Fittingly the music is pure ear-candy, not especially memorable but catchy tunes that fit the action perfectly.
The story is the trademark Cotton bollocks. Sweets have disappeared and Cotton wants them back. There are some comical twists along the way with Cotton’s trademark narcissism providing some laughs but these scenes are very skippable. Her big-titted fairy pal will surely provide entertainment enough for… someone? As always this quest ends empty-handed. A powerful message of the futility of greed? Or a simple hook for more sequels? Only time (and sales) will tell.
The biggest and best change is the wide selection of playable characters. Although the story is still based on Cotton regardless of who you select, each character has their own unique abilities that add to the replayability factor. You can cycle through them or find a favourite to stick with. Some of these characters are guests from other obscure series, which will surely delight genre fans.
The on-screen chaos can cause the frame rate to buckle, an unfortunate slip in a genre so reliant on quick reflexes. This could be a deal-breaker for purists but it never spoils the spectacle of the battles. Aside from these hitches, this game has a mesmerising flow, a piece of balletic bombastic bullet-laden wonderment. The game doesn’t go out of its way to explain power-ups or character specifics but a training mode will help hone your skills for the more serious high-score runs.
Ideal for newcomers and Cotton-heads alike, Cotton Fantasy is easy to recommend. In an era focused on so-called “cinematic” titles, there’s a refreshing joy to these games, simple yet unafraid to kick your arse all over town. “Bullet hell” has never been more inaccurate: Cotton Fantasy is heavenly in its delights.