Rainbow Cotton review for PlayStation, Nintendo Switch

Platform: PS5
Also On: PS4, Nintendo Switch
Publisher: ININ
Developer: Success
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Rainbow Cotton, this first and only fully 3D Cotton game was released exclusively on the Sega Dreamcast in Japan. It featured an on rails style of gameplay while being completely in 3D with the camera following all of the action. The player controls Cotton as she zooms through 6 stages of pure chaos. Since many people did not get to experience the original release, this is a great HD remaster for hardcore Cotton fans as well as new fans who’ve never experiences the wackiness of this series.

You play as the one track minded witch, Cotton, who has an insatiable appetite for a candy called Willows. Willows are a rare candy only found in the Fairy Kingdom, and Cotton has tormented this poor kingdom for their candy before. As the Fairy Kingdom falls under siege from an invading army of monsters, they have no choice but to get Cotton to help them fight them off, but since they really don’t get along, the Fairies fool Cotton into thinking she will have all the Willows she can eat if she battles the monsters. It works, and Cotton is off to destroy any monster that stands in between her and her candy!

As stated, this is a 3D on-rails shooter, but you are not limited to one path. As you make your way through the stages, you can make turns that will take you on a different path where you can find more powerups, more enemies and even different bosses, so even if you make it through a stage, there are different areas you can tackle the next time you play. Playing through each stage sometime can be a chore, as Cotton is a rather large target for all of the enemy shots. Moving her while trying to shoot back at all of the craziness on the screen is sometimes daunting, but with some practice you can make it through. As you progress, you can powerup your shots and even get some help from the Fairies that each act as a kind of “Lock-on” shot to help you take on more monsters. There are also Giant magic Attacks that can clear a good portion of enemies in your path, but should only be used in dire situations as they can miss more than they hit.

The control is smooth and responsive in Rainbow Cotton. While it may not feel like you are doing well in the very beginning, as you power up Cotton, your shots will feel like they are causing more damage, especially with the bosses. Learning how to control your Fairy friends is also key to survival as the more you have, the more control you will have over the massive amount enemies moving toward you. The Music for each stage is fitting, ranging from cutesy to fun and upbeat tunes. The sound is mostly explosions and a lot of high pitched Japanese dialog being screamed by Cotton herself mostly. It does tend to get under your skin a little, but over time you barely notice it. You may want to lower your volume a little though as things can be a little on the loud side with many things happening on screen at once.

The cutscenes between stages are cute and funny, and really reflect the crazy world of Cotton. They are subtitled in English for this release, but are fully voiced in Japanese, which makes sense since the original game never made outside Japan. The new HD upgrade looks great, but doesn’t stray too far from the Dreamcast original. There is a “Retro Mode” included, but it’s nothing more than the main game with a terrible CRT Filter. Some people may like it, but it really didn’t look good to me, and really didn’t feel “retro” at all.

Rainbow Cotton is a very good HD re-release of a classic game that not many people got a chance to play. Not only was it on a system that wasn’t known for its shooters, it was also never given a world wide release, making this one a true hidden gem. If you’re a fan of other Cotton games, you will love what is presented here. If you are new to the Cotton series, I can easily recommend this as a good starting game to get into the world of Cotton. Overall, this is a bare bones remaster with not many extras included, outside of a couch co-op mode that wasn’t in the original. It’s a short, wacky shooter that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. I highly recommend picking this one up if you can. It’s fun, and It does not disappoint.

Note: ININ provided us with a Rainbow Cotton code for review purposes.

Score: 9