Cotton Fantasy delivers a critically cute cross-over
Finally, a genuinely new Cotton game!
Blimey-o'-crumbs, there's a lot of Cotton about, isn't there? I feel like I've been staring at more cotton than... er... someone who works at a branch of Edinburgh Woollen Mill? Does that land for anyone? Is Edinburgh Woollen Mill still a thing? Look, it doesn't matter. It has nothing to do with Cotton Fantasy: Superlative Night Dreams, the latest shooter-cuter from developer Success, which is a bit of a presumptuous name coming from the makers of Umihara Kawase BaZooka. But I, as ever, digress. This is a brand new Cotton, the first brand new one since 2000's Rainbow Cotton on Dreamcast. That's twenty-two years! I am so old!! Are there even any Cotton fans left!? Imagine if Cotton was the last game in the world. That just popped into my head, sorry. Just a quick post-apocalypse hypothetical. I suppose it wouldn't be too bad, as Cotton Fantasy is a bit of awright, heh heh. Snort.
Mostly, this one's a side-scrolling shooter, but true to the series' legacy it does have bits where you go forward, into the, erm, background. Not you personally, the little witch character or whoever you want to play as. You see, there are a bunch of characters in this one, and some of them aren't even from Cotton! What a shocking error to have made! You've even got Yumi from Umihara Kawase in there, nobody's gonna fall for that!
At least the additional characters have additional playstyles, for example Yumi can shoot out her traditional fish hook. Indeed every charactr has a lot of offensive power and you'll never feel small playing Cotton Fantasy, what with all the death you deal. God, the death. The death and pain. Ahem, sorry, excuse me. Went away a bit there. Was thinking about Cotton and its generally pretty-good shmup gameplay, its enjoyably silly anime-style cutscenes and story, and the training mode that lets you replay any stage you've beaten and set the parameters yourself. That's a bit good, isn't it?
So yes, what we have here is a scaled-up and rather hench take on Cotton, which feels a bit more modern with its rather nice, colourful graphics. Sadly though I must admit that I preferred the visuals in Cotton Reboot. That's not to say the aesthetic of this game is bad, just a little more plain. It runs brilliantly smoothly, though, and bullets are always very prominent and visible. Which is good because it means if you get hit by one, it's your bloody fault, you cack-handed idiot. Embarrassing.
I enjoyed my time with Cotton Fantasy. It isn't my fave in the series - that's probably still Reboot - but that's OK. It's a worthy, modernised take on the game that doesn't compromise the unique feel the series provides in earnest. It's just pleasant to see a series like this, a niche sort of thing take off with such vigour, really. Sure, Cotton is a bit of a relic from the past, but we here at Retronauts like relics, actually. So there. Stop (ending columns with "so there" - Ed)