Top Critic Average
Cotton Reboot! is a very pretty and highly enjoyable remake of one of the shmup genre’s most pioneering cute ’em ups — as endearing today as it has ever been while featuring surprisingly deep mechanics for score attack fanatics. It’s a shame a threadbare package, a subjectively high price, and distracting visual issues frequently threaten to spoil the party. For dedicated shmup heads, however, Cotton Reboot is an enjoyable blast from the past that comfortably paves the way for the sweet series’ incoming revival.
Cotton Reboot revives a weird 90s shoot 'em up that's quite fun to revisit. However, it doesn't go far enough to justify the price. The remaster is decent, if not as good looking as it could be, and the game can be finished in an hour. There were sequels to Cotton that could've been remastered and included to justify the £35 price tag, but as it is, this is just the first game.
Cotton Reboot is one of my favorite horizontal shoot ‘em ups of all time, alongside Keio Flying Squadron, Harmful Park, Cho Aniki, and Zombie Nation. What those all have in common is that they’re weird and unique in their presentation. They all have solid gameplay but don’t re-invent the wheel with anything other than style. Casual shooter fans can’t go wrong with Cotton Reboot!. It has an interesting presentation, tight controls, and scale-able difficulty. It won’t challenge hardcore bullet hell enthusiasts, but they probably want their shmups to be vertical anyways.
Pleasingly, developer Rocket Engine also included the 1993 X68000 Japanese computer port of the original 1991 Cotton coin-op for retro and pixel art fans who want to return to the classic game by Success. The spellbinding arranged soundtrack is also a truly Fantastic Night Dreams collection of talented all-star Japanese composers, and you can unlock listening to the altered tunes and a demo of the story in the Visual & Sound menu option. Even if Fantasy Zone was released earlier than Cotton, and if Parodius is arguably better known in the cute-'em-up subgenre, Cotton Reboot! is a Success-ful retro remake to bewitch you into being sweet on the Cotton series.
Bewitching in both incarnations, Cotton's Reboot! is a fanfare of zany ghouls and ghosts, inventive and inimitable bosses, and a superbly catchy soundtrack in both original and remixed forms. Never being released in the west and prohibitively expensive today, it's something of a blessing for retro gamers to be able to dip their toes in Cotton's enduringly impressive X68000 outing. Of all the "cute 'em ups" out there, it remains one of the best, while the new Arrange mode – with its impressive overhauls and remixed ideas – has cast a rare spell of resurrection.
Cotton Reboot! isn't just a new way to play a stellar old-school shoot 'em up; it's also essentially a modern sequel to this dormant shooter series thanks to the gorgeous new Arrange mode. Classic Cotton is cute and easy to pick up, but Arrange is a fast and wild experience that is definitely hard to master. There's some on-screen messiness in Arrange mode and the lack of gallery-style bonuses is a bummer, but this is still a must-play shoot 'em up for any fans of the genre.
Cotton Reboot! is a fantastic re-imagining of a classic side-scrolling shooter.
If you've never heard of Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, that's no reason to ignore Cotton Reboot! You need not be a retro gamer to appreciate this shoot 'em up's excellent arcade/action gameplay, you just need to be a fan of cute, upbeat fun.
The only flaws are the length of the game and price. It’s short, but perfectly short. Cotton Reboot! features 6 stages and one final boss which is the normal length for an arcade game, especially from the early 90’s. I couldn’t put this game down for hours after I started playing.
If you’re an ardent shoot ’em up fan, there’s no doubt that Cotton Reboot! is an attractive proposition. And if you’re the type that will replay it countless times in order to master its stages and claim a spot at the top of the online leaderboards, the price probably shouldn’t put you off. The fact remains that there are plenty of shoot ’em ups available that are just as good if not better, however, and many of them are cheaper. So, unless you’re chomping at the bit to play it, you might want to wait for it to go on sale.